Exhibition Reel of Two Color Film (ca. 1929)

An experimental color short in Brewster Color, preserved by George Eastman House and presented on the More Treasures DVD set.

Raise Money for NFPF’s Web Premiere of ‘The White Shadow’

Contact: Jeff Lambert (415-392-7291, lambert@filmpreservation.org)

San Francisco, CA (May 11, 2012)—The National Film Preservation Foundation will be the enthusiastic recipient of the 2012 For the Love of Film: The Film Preservation Blogathon, a Internet fundraising event to be held from May 13 to 18 through which bloggers around the world rally for film preservation and access. The blogathon’s goal is to raise money for the web premiere of The White Shadow, the lost Hitchcock film discovered at the New Zealand Film Archive in 2010.

The White Shadow (1924) is the earliest surviving feature linked to Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1990), the film’s assistant director, art director, editor, and writer. Directed by Graham Cutts, The White Shadow is a wild, atmospheric melodrama starring Betty Compson in a dual role as twin sisters, one angelic and the other “without a soul.” The first three reels of the film were identified by the NFPF among the cache of American nitrate prints at the New Zealand Film Archive last year. No other copy is known to exist.

“This Hitchcock find fascinates film lovers from Australia to South America,” said blogathon coorganizer Farran Nehme, who blogs at Self-Styled Siren. “Already more than 100 bloggers from five continents have signed up, and more are sure to join once the event is underway. All want to play a part in returning this film to the public.”

“Bloggers can do a lot when they work together, and they’ve proven it over past blogathons, with their dollars and especially their enthusiasm,” added coorganizer Marilyn Ferdinand, who blogs at Ferdy on Films. “During our first year, the blogathon raised enough money for the NFPF to preserve three of the first ‘lost’ films recovered in New Zealand—Sunset Limited (1898), The Sergeant (1910), and The Better Man (1912). Everyone of us felt tremendous pride in making a tangible difference for scholars and audiences everywhere.”

Online giving will be especially easy this year, thanks to the blogathon banners and donation buttons carried by participants. “Film bloggers are an international community with a passion for improving access to rare films,” commented coorganizer and banner designer Roderick Heath, who blogs at This Island Rod and Ferdy on Films and is contributing from Sydney, Australia. “Through the blogathon we channel our energy and talent toward this very real goal.”

The blogathon banners and buttons, created by Roderick Heath, can be downloaded here. Donors can send a gift via the donation buttons on participating blogs or give directly through the NFPF Web site at this special link.

The White Shadow was preserved to film at Park Road Post Production in New Zealand, under the direction of the NZFA. A new preservation master and exhibition print was sent to the Academy Film Archive, which hosted the gala re-premiere screening in September 2010. With the money raised by the bloggers, the NFPF plans to record the music developed by Michael D. Mortilla for this event and stream the new video copy to Hitchcock fans everywhere later this year.

The film is among 176 early titles recovered and sent to the United States through a multi-year preservation collaboration of the New Zealand Film Archive / Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua, the American film community, and the National Film Preservation Foundation. Some 70 percent are thought to survive nowhere else. For more about the project, click here.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America's film heritage. Since opening its doors in 1997, the NFPF has supported film preservation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and has helped save more than 1,900 films. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

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