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.

Rare Films Showing Painters Clyfford Still and Thomas Hart Benton At Work Slated For Preservation

Contact: Jeff Lambert (415-392-7294, lambert@filmpreservation.org)

San Francisco, CA (April 30, 2013)—The National Film Preservation Foundation today announced grants to save 38 films, including the only known footage of pioneering Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still (ca. 1970) and Thomas Hart Benton’s “The Sources of Country Music” (1975), a documentary about Benton’s final painting narrated by the artist himself. Awards went to 24 institutions located across 18 states.

Among the other films pegged for preservation are Corn’s-A-Poppin’ (1955), an independent production co-written by the 29-year-old Robert Altman; The Masters of Disaster (1985), an Academy Award-nominated short profiling an inner-city Indianapolis chess club; Faces and Fortunes (1960), a Mad Men-era advertising film on the importance of corporate branding; footage documenting the 1920 dedication of the Yosemite Rangers’ Club by the first National Park Service Director Stephen Mather; polar expeditionary films created for Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd’s Discovery lectures; home movies showing the aftermath of the 1964 Alaska earthquake; Civilian Conservation Corps construction in Kentucky; Appalachian coal camps;and life at Craftsman Farms, which was built by Arts and Crafts designer Gustav Stickley. Of particular interest for cinema history is Thirty Years of Motion Pictures (1927), Terry Ramsaye’s film adaptation of his classic A Million and One Nights (1926) about the early years of the motion picture industry. For a full list, visit www.filmpreservation.org.

“The home movies of Clyfford Still discovered this year are the only known films of the artist,” said Dean Sobel, Director of the Clyfford Still Museum, in Denver, Colorado. “Still withdrew from the art world in his later life and sealed off access to his work. This amazing find, to be saved through an NFPF grant, offers a tantalizing glimpse of the artist in his studio and is sure to enrich our understanding of his creative process.”

The NFPF preservation grants target newsreels, silent-era films, documentaries, culturally important home movies, avant-garde films, and endangered independent productions that fall under the radar of commercial preservation programs. The awards provide support to create a film preservation master and two access copies of each work. Films saved through the NFPF programs are made available to the public for on-site research and are seen widely through screenings, exhibits, DVDs, television broadcasts, and the Internet.

Since created by Congress in 1996, the NFPF has provided preservation support to 259 institutions and saved more than 2,013 films through grants and collaborative projects. The NFPF also publishes the award-winning Treasures from American Film Archives DVD series, which makes available rare films preserved by public and nonprofit archives that have not been commercially distributed. The NFPF receives federal money through the Library of Congress to distribute as grants but raises operating and project funding from other sources.

The grant recipients are:

  • Alabama Department of Archives and History (AL)
  • Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AK)
  • Anthology Film Archives (NY)
  • Appalachian Mountain Club (MA)
  • Appalshop (KY)
  • Bard College (NY)
  • Chicago Film Archives (IL)
  • Clyfford Still Museum (CO)
  • Country Music Hall of Fame (TN)
  • Emory University (GA)
  • Folkstreams (VA)
  • George Eastman House (NY)
  • Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University (LA)
  • Indiana University (IN)
  • Johns Hopkins University (MD)
  • Medical University of South Carolina (SC)
  • Museum of Northern Arizona (AZ)
  • New York University (NY)
  • Northwest Chicago Film Society (IL)
  • Ohio State University (OH)
  • Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms (NJ)
  • Third World Newsreel (NY)
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive (CA)
  • Yosemite National Park Archives (CA)

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. For the complete list of projects supported by the NFPF, visit the NFPF Web site: www.filmpreservation.org.