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.


Contact: David Wells (415-392-7291, wells@filmpreservation.org)

San Francisco, CA (December 5, 2016) The National Film Preservation Foundation, the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to save America's film heritage, today announced the online release of 47 films from its first groundbreaking DVD box set, Treasures from American Film Archives.

Hailed by Roger Ebert as “a treasure trove of old, obscure, forgotten, rediscovered, and fascinating footage from the first century of film,” the collection is now freely available for viewing on the NFPF website. The films range from the first publicly exhibited movie to cutting-edge avant garde works and also include silent-era features, pioneering special-effects, landmark independent productions, documentaries, newsreels, animation, political ads, and home movies made from coast to coast.

Originally released in 2000, Treasures from American Film Archives marked the first time ever that America's archives had joined forces to share their films with home video audiences. The project was made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The unprecedented 11-hour collection showcased the amazing range of American films that survive today thanks to the efforts of the participating archives: Academy Film Archive, Alaska Film Archives, Anthology Film Archives, George Eastman Museum, Japanese American National Museum, Library of Congress, Minnesota Historical Society, Museum of Modern Art, National Archives and Records Administration, National Center for Jewish Film, New York Public Library, Northeast Historic Film, Pacific Film Archive, Smithsonian Institution, UCLA Film & Television Archive, and West Virginia State Archives.

Mastered from the finest archival sources, the selections include the first feature-length Snow White (1916), Western star William S. Hart in Hell's Hinges (1916), The Toll of the Sea (1922) in two-strip Technicolor, The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) by James Sibley Watson Jr. and Melville Webber, John Huston’s searing antiwar documentary The Battle of San Pietro (1945), and footage of Orson Welles's 1936 "Voodoo" Macbeth. Every film is accompanied by program notes by the set’s curator Scott Simmon (UC Davis) and features either its original soundtracks or a commissioned score supervised by music curator Martin Marks (MIT).

Upon release, Treasures won awards from the National Society of Film Critics and the Video Software Dealers Association and was heralded by Film Comment as a “20th century time capsule in moving image form.” The New York Times pronounced it “best set of the year.” Originally produced through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Pew Charitable Trusts, the sold-out set was reissued in 2005 as an “Encore Edition,” made possible through the support of the Cecil B. De Mille Foundation and Sterling Vineyards®, but it quickly went out of print. The NFPF is committed to keeping the Treasures films accessible, and is now presenting them on its website, so that the public can enjoy this cross-section of the incredible diversity of American filmmaking.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to save America's film heritage. Since opening its doors in 1997, the NFPF has provided preservation support to 284 institutions and saved more than 2,287 films through grants and collaborative projects. The NFPF receives federal money through the Library of Congress to distribute as grants but raises operating and project funding from other sources.