The NFSA has recently restored four films made by Italian-Australian filmmaker Giorgio Mangiamele (1926-2001) – Il Contratto (1953), The Spag (1962), Ninety Nine Per Cent (1963) and Clay (1965). They have been released as a DVD box set, and three of the films are screening at the 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival.
The NFSA is challenged with the ongoing preservation of a massive collection of 200,000 Australian films. The curatorial task is to prioritise works for comprehensive preservation treatment. Curators focus on films which are unique (not held elsewhere), which are in physical danger of disintegration and which illustrate important elements of the history of cinema in Australia.
Giorgio Mangiamele’s films clearly meet the criteria. His unique contribution to the production of Australian art cinema in the 1950s and 60s is unquestioned, and growing public demand confirms the need for these films to be brought back to life.
The NFSA’s challenge is to effectively preserve Mangiamele’s key films, stabilising and copying the original components onto modern film stock for public access and education. This process ensures the NFSA’s ability to continue to provide the original cinema experience which remains one of the fundamentals of the NFSA’s mission. It is then possible to deliver these works to new audiences, while curatorial research, publications and notes help explain their place in Australian audiovisual history.