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filmregistry

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  1. True, the fact that a film has been named to the Registry does not GUARANTEE it will be preserved, but that is the ultimate goal. It is a safe bet, though, that master elements or at least a pretty darned good print will be conserved at the Library of Congress, meaning that it will be housed in clean, non-rusty film cans, stored at the proper temperature and humidity levels, cataloged to ensure its existence is known and its pertinent metadata is recorded, and inspected periodically for deterioration. Preservation, in particular the striking of master preservation elements or a projection print or even a digital intermediate, is a very expensive undertaking, especially for color films, and consequently can take years to complete. Also, to be clear, just because a film has been preserved doesn't mean it immediately will be accessible to the public on TCM or any network. Nor does it mean it will be screened at your neighborhood revival house. Or film festival. Or released as a DVD. Or streamed on NetFlix. The Library of Congress does not control the licensing or distribution of films on the Registry, with the exception of those whose rights the Library has acquired or those that are in the public domain. And the quality of a film aired on television -- whether it's public television, the big five networks, or even a cable network as stellar as TCM -- depends on that broadcaster. Same with DVD distribution. Many of these decisions are based on the potential return on investment to make new broadcast or DVD masters. Like many things, it all comes down to money, and there simply is not enough to preserve all the films that deserve to be preserved and to make available all those we may want to see. Fortunately, new distribution methods are making it more cost effective all the time, while many rights holders are voluntarily allowing greater access to their materials. I believe there is more access to more varieties of classic film than ever before, and I'm optimistic the trend will continue.
  2. You mention a great piece of actuality footage from the Eastman Kodak company and ask, "Would it get funding for restoration? No name recognition, so probably no." That is not necessarily true, thanks to the work of the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF). Each year, the NFPF funds the preservation hundreds of "orphan" films at archives, libraries and historical societies around the country. The lack of name recognition or bankable stars need not be a criteria for a film or even a film fragment to be preserved. Check out the amazing work the NFPF has funded over the years at http://www.filmpreservation.org/
  3. {font:Times New Roman}Terrific thread on the 2012 selections to the National Film Registry! Sorry to arrive at the party so late. First, let me encourage you to participate in the Registry process and submit nominations for 2013. Obviously, no list will make everyone happy, and the Registry includes a variety of films that may not fit your definition of American classics. Its goal is to ensure that a representative body of American film created over the past 120 years by amateurs, students, big studios and independent artists, whether fictional narratives, documentaries, home movies, or avant-garde works of art, are safeguarded for the next 120 years and beyond. I started responding to some of your questions, but found my response growing longer and longer. Not very appropriate for a web forum! So I encourage you to visit our website, {font}{font:Times New Roman} and in particular the FAQ I just posted and will continue to develop. Please send me your specific questions and I’ll answer them directly and add them to the FAQ. Thanks for the great input. Donna Ross National Film Registry Library of Congress {font}{font:Times New Roman}dross@loc.gov{font} Edited by: filmregistry on Dec 31, 2012 4:26 PM
  4. A quick thank you again for all the discussion about the National Film Registry here at TCM's message boards. The 2012 list will be announced at the end of December -- probably right before or right after Christmas. Great Christmas present, huh? And a great time for that New Year's resolution to submit your nominations for the 2013 Registry. Donna Ross Library of Congress National Film Registry
  5. For Registry purposes, a film is determined to be "American" typically when it is identified as such in its copyright documentation. Unless you reallllllly want to spend your time going through the US Copyright catalog, the information found there usually corresponds to the IMDb listing for "Country" in the "Details" section of a film's entry. The IMDb entry for your example, "Lawrence of Arabia," lists the country as UK and USA. The legislation that established the Registry does not dictate that a film MUST be American; however, the Board and Librarian historically have interpreted the spirit of the law to extend to films produced or co-produced by a US company. If a nominator can make a valid argument why US taxpayer dollars should be used to safeguard a foreign product, such justification should be included with the nomination. A country's cultural heritage will always be influenced by the artforms of other cultures, and, ideally, those influences should benefit from equal protection. To date, however, finite resources have compelled the Registry to embrace the proverb that charity, or in this case preservation, begins at home.
  6. Why does the Librarian of Congress select the films named to the National Registry? Because that's how the legislation was written. Details of that legislation may be found at http://www.loc.gov/film/filmabou.html. So pleased that TCM fans are thinking about the Registry. I look forward to receiving your nominations. There are hundreds of films that meet the Registry criteria and merit preservation ... maybe one day we'll catch up with all of them. I won't even mention that two of my favorites are not on the list yet -- oh wait, I just mentioned it! A quick reminder, the deadline for this year's list is Sept. 28, at which time a tally of the public nominations is forwarded to members of the National Film Preservation Board to inform discussion at the upcoming Board meeting. Any nominations received after the 28th will roll over to next year. Happy nominating!
  7. You are not required to submit justifications with your nominations for the National Film Registry, although they may be helpful. (FYI, statements such as "It's my favorite movie ever." "I've seen it 100 times." "It has a unique message." are NOT justifications) This is especially true for films that are outside of the mainstream. Social media has proven an effective way to get the word out about the Registry in general and to garner support for specific films. Keep in mind, however, the number of nominations or "votes" a film receives does not guarantee its selection to the Registry. It does, however, indicate popular opinion which does play a part in the overall selection process.All nominations should be directed to dross@loc.gov. Please feel free to direct your questions to me directly, and thanks for the buzz on the Registry. Donna Ross National Film Registry Library of Congress dross@loc.gov
  8. The criteria for selecting a film to the National Registry is indeed as listed above. It must be: 1) "Culturally, aesthetically or historically significant." 2) At least 10 years old. Fine print? The criteria itself -- "culturally, aesthetically or historically significant" -- is subjective in nature. Each year's selections are determined, ultimately, by the Librarian of Congress with input from the National Film Preservation Board. Also, the titles selected historically have been produced or at least co-produced by an American company. After all, the Registry was established to safeguard our national motion picture patrimony. That's about as fine as the print gets. Any more questions, feel free to contact me directly. Donna Ross National Film Registry Library of Congress dross@loc.gov
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