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The NFSA together with our sponsors Deluxe Sydney and Kodak (Australasia) have preserved and made available 75 classic Australian films in the Kodak/Atlab Collection (2000-2005) and the Deluxe/Kodak Collection (2006-2011).
In all preservation work, our goal is to represent as faithfully as possible the look and sound of the original film. By working closely with the filmmakers and skilled film technicians, we can produce new prints that are acceptable to contemporary audiences and maintain the original intention and integrity of the film. The new prints are colour re-graded, with soundtracks remastered to Dolby® Digital, and scratches and flaws removed.
There’s nothing more distressing than watching a scratched and faded print of a much loved film. Many prints donated in the past to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia were old release prints already in poor condition. The plan to create new prints of key Australian feature films with the help of Kodak and Atlab is to be applauded.
As a pioneer in the art of film making, Australia has a responsibility to preserve the films it produces. Our history needs to be chronicled for us to take pride in our achievements and to understand the opportunities provided to each new generation of film makers. This new initiative is a major step forward in undertaking that responsibility and I can only say … 'Bewdy’.
The existing colour film prints of many recent classic Australian features are in a very degraded state, scratched, faded or cut about from damage. This has happened to most of my early films. The actions of the NFSA, Kodak and Atlab in making prints of 50 colour films over the next five years will ensure that recent Australian films can be appreciated by the world’s filmgoers in the decades to come.
Dr George Miller
I was genuinely thrilled to learn that the visual history of Australia over the last half of the 20th Century, as represented in the dramas of feature films of that period, is to be acquired, enhanced, catalogued and maintained by the NFSA for the joy, reference and education of future generations. We must celebrate that Australia is fortunate in having a National Archive for film and sound, and organisations such as Atlab and Kodak who are prepared to instigate and support this very important venture. Congratulations to all involved.
I congratulate both the government and the NFSA on this initiative. Many of the feature films that put the industry back on its feet in the 1970s have not been available in a mint condition print. I think this will give greater access and understanding of our film history not only of the 70s but those wonderful early film classics. It is a great step forward for our film culture.
It is hard to believe that in a country that is so internationally noted for its film output that a lot of our early, and in some cases recent, film work has been lost because we have not adequately looked after it. Clearly, it is a matter of urgency that this matter is rectified.
A valuable and essential service to the Australian film culture.
When I teach history of world cinema as part of the Continuing Education programme I’m constantly saddened by the loss of so many films – films which no longer exist, or are unscreenable today. Some of these films were highly regarded in their time, others not. But we must remember that tastes change, and that some of the less regarded films of the past may be of much greater interest today. That’s why film preservation is so vitally important, preservation of as much as possible of our cinema past. This Kodak/Atlab Cinema Collection is of paramount importance in allowing future generations of Australians to see the films of an earlier time.
Some parts of our cultural heritage are able to withstand the passage of time. Unfortunately color film prints can simply disappear before our eyes, fading to ghost-like images that bear no resemblance to their original form, as I discovered for myself last year when screening a print of my 1977 film Backroads. The NFSA, Kodak and Atlab have all taken a significant step towards preserving Australia’s vanishing past for future generations to see.
We need to preserve our history of filmmaking for the sake of our future as a nation with a unique film culture, and a population that embraces it. Thank you NFSA. You are invaluable.