It is the fourth edition of the workshop held annually since 2015 and the most ambitious and comprehensive one yet. After being held earlier Mumbai, Pune and Chennai, the Film Preservation & Restoration Workshop India (FPRWI) comes to Kolkata from November 15th to 22nd, 2018. The idea to conduct this workshop at a different location each time is to highlight the need to preserve our cinematic heritage throughout the country and what’s more, involving local Film Industries be it Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Hindi or those from any other language.
The FPRWI is the initiative of the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) and the International Federation Of Film Archives (FIAF) in collaboration with the Kolkata International Film Festival and in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences, L’Immagine Ritrovata, Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, British Film Institute, The Criterion Collection, the Irish Film Institute, the Austrian Film Museum, Eye Filmmuseum, Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives), the Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive, Centre for Creative Photography, University of Arizona and ARRI.
The FHF was set up in 2014 as a non-profit organisation by award winning filmmaker and FTII alumnus Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. The FHF is dedicated to supporting the conservation, preservation and restoration of the moving image and to developing interdisciplinary programs to create awareness about the language of cinema with respect to the Indian sub-continent. Besides its growing collection of 8 mm, 16 mm and 35 mm film reels stored in extremely tightly controlled conditions for preservation, FHF also has a huge collection of film memorabilia from the sub-continent and conducts a five chapter module called Do You Speak Cinema essentially for school children that takes them through a journey of the evolution of cinema through the celluloid medium. It has also come out with two landmark publications, From Darkness Into Light – Perspectives on Film Preservation & Restoration, edited by Rajesh Devraj and Yesterday’s Films For Tomorrow by ‘Celluloid Man’ PK Nair. Nair was also part of FHF’s advisory council that includes luminaries from Indian cinema such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shyam Benegal, Jaya Bachchan, Gulzar, Girish Kasaravalli, Kamal Haasan and Kumar Shahani. Earlier this year, a big, big feather in the FHF’s cap was to successfully conduct Reframing The Future Of Film 4, an event headlined for the fourth time (and first time in India) by celebrated visual artist Tacita Dean and acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, highlighting the necessity of preserving photochemical film in the digital age.
Training a resource of future film archivists has been a major focus for the foundation as one of the major challenges faced in India is the lack of trained personnel to work in the field of film preservation. Covering every aspect of film preservation, the FPRWI is considered the most comprehensive of its kind in the world for aspiring film archivists and has now become the model for FIAF’s international training programs. For the fourth edition of the workshop in Kolkata, a new format and curriculum has been devised that is all about specialization. Selected participants will now get the opportunity to pick from four areas of specialization – Film Handling and Repair, Digital Preservation and Restoration, Cataloguing and Paper and Photographic Conservation. The intensive week-long workshop, certified by FIAF, covers both lectures and practical classes in the best practices of the preservation and restoration of both films and film-related paper and photographic material and is taught by a faculty of international experts from leading institutions around the world. Classes will be followed by daily screenings of restored classics from around the world. The classes would be held at the Rabindranath Tagore Center, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), while the daily screenings would be held at Nandan and Rabindra Sadan. Besides this, the FHF has also identified 100 iconic Bengali films that must be saved and restored to their pristine form.
Applications for the workshop have been open since August 25th and are open till October 1st, 2018. Applications are open to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Malaysia. Several scholarships are also available for deserving local and international candidates. You could click on the link below for further information about the workshop and to download the application form:
Header Picture: Suchitra Sen and Pahari Sanyal in Harano Sur (Bengali, 1957).