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.

The First Film Adaptation of the Story that Inspired Fiddler on the Roof To Be Saved

Contact: Rebecca Payne Collins (415-392-7291, payne@filmpreservation.org)

San Francisco, CA (June 13, 2017)—The National Film Preservation Foundation today announced grants to save 57 films, including Code Blue (1972), a recruitment film aimed at bringing minorities into the medical field made by Henry Hampton’s Blackside Inc., the Emmy-winning producer of Eyes on the Prize, and Broken Barriers (1919), the first motion-picture adaptation of the Sholem Aleichem story that inspired Fiddler on the Roof.

“We are thrilled with this opportunity to restore the only surviving film material of the long-lost 1919 film Broken Barriers,” said Sharon Pucker Rivo, Executive Director & Co-Founder of The National Center for Jewish Film. “It’s a gem of a discovery and one that greatly contributes to the continuum of Jewish images on screen.”

“While Broken Barriers was the first film to adapt Sholem Aleichem’s ‘Tevye’ stories, it was not the last. Maurice Schwartz’s seminal 1939 Yiddish-language feature film Tevye—one of the most important films in our collection—draws heavily on Broken Barriers in its tone and film language. In 1964, Aleichem’s Tevye stories entered the mainstream with Fiddler on the Roof, one of the most successful musicals of all time.”

Among the other films funded for preservation are two landmark diary films from the height of the American independent film renaissance, Ed Pincus’s Diaries (1971–76) and My Girlfriend’s Wedding (1969) by Jim McBride; The Flashettes (1977), Bonnie Friedman’s empowering documentary about an African American female track team from Brooklyn; The Inner World of Aphasia (1968), an innovative medical training film on treating patients unable to communicate verbally that was named to the National Film Registry; Solo Olos (1978), a newly discovered performance by the late Trisha Brown; dance analysis films using a method developed by Alan Lomax; pioneering heart-surgery footage from Johns Hopkins University; a sponsored film promoting tourism in Adirondack Park; and home movies of the sculptor Cornelia Chapin and the champion racehorse Man O’ War. For a full list, click here.

The NFPF preservation grants target newsreels, silent-era films, 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 its creation by Congress in 1996, the NFPF has provided preservation support to 292 institutions and saved more than 2,350 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:

  • Adirondack Council (NY)
  • Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AK)
  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (NY)
  • American Museum of Natural History (NY)
  • Anthology Film Archives (NY)
  • Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution (DC)
  • Association for Cultural Equity (NY)
  • Bard College (NY)
  • Bowdoin College (ME)
  • Chicago Film Archives (IL)
  • Chicago Film Society (IL)
  • Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (WI)
  • Documentary Educational Resources (MA)
  • The Flaherty (NY)
  • George Eastman Museum (NY)
  • Harvard Film Archive (MA)
  • Historical Society of Harford County (MD)
  • Hoover Institution, Stanford University (CA)
  • Indiana University (IN)
  • Johns Hopkins University (MD)
  • Louisiana State Museum (LA)
  • Montana Historical Society (MT)
  • Museum of Texas Tech University (TX)
  • Nashville Public Library (TN)
  • National Center for Jewish Film (MA)
  • National Geographic Society (DC)
  • New York Public Library (NY)
  • New York University (NY)
  • Pacific Film Archive (CA)
  • Silver Bow Art, Inc. (MT)
  • Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TX)
  • Trisha Brown Dance Company (NY)
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive (CA)
  • Visual Studies Workshop (NY)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (MO)
  • Yale University (CT)

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 website: www.filmpreservation.org.

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