Film, the Living Record of Our Memory

Film, the Living Record of Our Memory

Film Preservation (˝Get Involved˝)

What is Film Preservation?

FILM PRESERVATION: For many years, the term preservation was synonymous with duplication. When archivists inquired if a film had been “preserved”, they generally were asking if it had been duplicated onto new and more stable film stock. However, a broader definition of preservation has gained acceptance. Increasingly it is understood as the full continuum of activities necessary to protect the film and share the content with the public. Film preservation now embraces the concepts of film handling, duplication, storage, and access. Film preservation is not a onetime operation but an ongoing process. Even duplication must sometimes be repeated as techniques and standards improve. Like other museum objects and library materials, film needs continuing care to extend its useful life.

CONSERVATION: Conservation is the protection of the original film artifact. Film has value as an object and as a carrier of information. Many organizations guard the original from unnecessary handling by creating surrogate copies to carry the content. The copies are used for exhibition and research. The film original can then be stored under conditions that slow physical decay.

DUPLICATION: Duplication is the making of a surrogate copy. Preservationists consider film fully safeguarded only when it is both viewable in a form that faithfully replicates its visual and aural content and protected for the future by preservation masters from which subsequent viewing copies can be created. When making a preservation copy, preservationists generally try to work from the material that most closely represents the film as it was originally shown.

RESTORATION: Restoration goes beyond the physical copying of the surviving original materials and attempts to reconstruct a specific version of a film. Ideally this involves comparing all known surviving source materials, piecing together footage from these disparate sources into the order suggested by production records and exhibition history, and in some cases, enhancing image and sound to compensate for past damage. Film restoration, unlike art or paper restoration, always involves duplicating the original artifact.

ACCESS: Access is the process through which film content is shared with the public. Depending on the institution, access embraces a range of activities, from support of on-site research to exhibition on the Internet. In museums, libraries, and archives, the most common access media at this time are film and video.
(Source: NFPF The Film Preservation Guide, 2004 -

Film Preservation: Continuum of activities necessary to protect film for the future and share its content with the public.

Film Restoration: Reconstruction of a specific version of a film.
(Source: NFPF The Film Preservation Guide, 2004 -

Associations, Foundations, Institutions, Organizations, Projects, Symposiums

ACE (Association of European Cinematheques)

ACE is an affiliation of 49 European national and regional film archives. Its role is to safeguard the European film heritage and make these rich audiovisual records collected and preserved by the various film archives accessible to the public.

AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists)

AMIA is an international nonprofit association dedicated to the preservation and use of moving image media. AMIA supports public and professional education and fosters cooperation and communication among the individuals and organizations concerned with the acquisition, preservation, description, exhibition, and use of moving image materials


Archive/Counter-Archive (A/CA): Activating Canada’s Moving Image Heritage. A/CA is a project dedicated to activating and remediating audiovisual archives created by Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis, Inuit), the Black community and People of Colour, women, LGBT2Q+ and immigrant communities. Political, resistant, and community-based, counter-archives disrupt conventional narratives and enrich our histories

ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections)

ARSC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings, in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods. ARSC is unique in bringing together private individuals and institutional professionals—everyone with a serious interest in recorded sound

Audiovisual Preservation Exchange (APEX)

APEX promotes international collaboration and academic dialogue on film and media preservation in order to safeguard the world‘s audiovisual heritage. APEX is an opportunity for members of the international audiovisual archival community to exchange knowledge and skills in areas such as inspection and care of audiovisual materials, cataloging, metadata management, digitization, digital preservation, and access to collections

Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC)

As audio and video technologies have changed, and as old formats age and disintegrate, we are at risk of losing significant media that documents the art, culture and history of our diverse communities. BAVC works to preserve and digitize these cultural artifacts and other precious works of media art. Since 1994, BAVC has preserved over 7,000 hours of audio and videotape

Brazilian Audiovisual Preservation Association (ABPA)

ABPA’s (Associação Brasileira de Preservação Audiovisual) mission is to contribute to the technical, scientific and cultural development and improvement of professionals working in the field of audiovisual preservation, promoting and disseminating audiovisual preservation work through various actions and initiatives

CCAAA (Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations)

The CCAAA represents the interests of worldwide professional archive organizations with interests in audiovisual materials including films, broadcast television and radio, and audio recordings of all kinds. Although predominantly working in the public sector, we reflect a broad range of interests across the broadcast media, arts, heritage, education and information sectors. The professional archivists that the CCAAA ultimately represents work in institutions such as archives, libraries and museums at national and local level, university teaching and research departments, and broadcasting organizations

Center For Home Movies

The purpose of the Center for Home Movies (CHM) is to collect, preserve, provide access to, and promote understanding of home movies and amateur motion pictures. Its mission is to transform the way people think about home movies by providing the means to discover, celebrate, and preserve them as cultural heritage.

Colour in Film International Conference

‘Colour in Film’ was launched as an initiative aimed at fostering and stimulating the interaction between the two vibrant, but separate, colour film restoration and colour science communities. The event includes screenings, keynote lectures and presentations from international film and colour scholars

Domitor - International Society for the Study of Early Cinema

Domitor strives to explore new methods of historical research and understanding by promoting the international exchange of information, documents, and ideas. Recognizing that the work of the world’s film archives has made accessible a growing body of early films and research materials pertaining to early cinema, Domitor also seeks to promote close relationships between scholars and archivists

FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives)

FIAF is dedicated to the preservation of and access to the world’s film heritage since 1938. Its affiliates are committed to the rescue, collection, preservation, screening, and promotion of films, which are valued both as works of art and culture and as historical documents. When FIAF was founded, it had four members. It now comprises 171 institutions in 79 countries

FIAT/IFTA (International Federation of Television Archives)

The World’s leading professional association for those engaged in the preservation and exploitation of broadcast archives. Founded in 1977, more than 250 members have joined the organisation that promotes co-operation amongst radio and television archives, multimedia and audiovisual archives and libraries, and all those engaged in the preservation and exploitation of moving image and recorded sound materials and associated documentation.

Film Archives / Cinematheques

Film Heritage Foundation (India)

Film Heritage Foundation is a not for profit organization set up by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur in 2014. Recognizing the urgent need to preserve India’s cinematic heritage, the foundation is dedicated to supporting the conservation, preservation and restoration of the moving image and to develop interdisciplinary educational programs that will use film as an educational tool and create awareness about the language of cinema

Film preservation & cultural organizations - Resources (via Library of Congress)

Film Preservation Society (Japan)

Film Preservation Society Tokyo (FPS) was founded as “StickyFilms” in 2001, before changing its name in 2005. It has been promoting the importance of film preservation through activities such as “Adopt-a-Film”, which aims at discovery, restoration and screenings of long-lost Japanese films, the community-based film archiving project “Bunkyo Film Archive”, “Film Salvation Project” to save films and videotapes damaged in the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, as well as being a driving force behind Home Movie Day in Japan

Film Preservation Society (USA)

Film Preservation Society is a Los Angeles, California-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding, saving, and restoring America’s silent film heritage. FPS was founded by Tracey Goessel in 2014. Goessel is the author of the acclaimed Douglas Fairbanks: The First King of Hollywood. FPS restorations have been screened by Turner Classic Movies, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Kansas Silent Film Festival, and the Pordenone Silent Film Festival

FOCAL International (Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries)

FOCAL International is a specialist, professional, not-for-profit trade association formed in 1985. It is fully established as one of the leading voices in the industry which represents the footage and content libraries in over 30 countries, the archive producers, researchers, consultants and facility companies

Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé (France)

The Foundation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé preserves the historical legacy of the pioneering film company Pathé and makes it available to the public. Since the opening of its new headquarters in 2014, in an outstanding building designed by Renzo Piano, the Foundation has invited the public to discover silent films through their programs and exhibitions. Pathé was founded as Société Pathé Frères (Pathé Brothers Company) in 1896 by the four Pathé Brothers

Home Movie Day

Home Movie Day is a celebration of amateur films and filmmaking held annually at many local venues worldwide on the third Saturday of October. It is a chance to discover why to care about these films and to learn how best to care for them.

ICA (International Council on Archives)

ICA is dedicated to the effective management of records and the preservation, care and use of the world’s archival heritage through its representation of records and archive professionals across the globe. The ICA believes that effective records and archives management is an essential precondition for good governance, the rule of law, administrative transparency, the preservation of mankind’s collective memory, and access to information by citizens.

IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)

IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. The IFLA Strategic Programme on Preservation and Conservation (PAC) has one major goal: to ensure that library and archive materials, published and unpublished, in all formats, will be preserved in accessible form for as long as possible.

Image Permanence Institute (IPI)

The Image Permanence Institute (IPI) is a university-based research center in the College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) dedicated to supporting the preservation of cultural heritage collections in libraries, archives, and museums around the world

IndieCollect (USA)

IndieCollect was founded to Save Indie Film - to ensure the films remain discoverable and watchable today and in the future. IndieCollect advocates for all directors and all genres, but pay particular attention to films by women, people of color, and makers who identify as LGBTQ+.

International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA)

IASA was established in 1969 in Amsterdam to function as a medium for international co-operation between archives that preserve recorded sound and audiovisual documents. IASA has members from 70 countries

International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) / Sound and Image Collections Conservation (SOIMA)

In response to at-risk sound and image collections, ICCROM introduced its Sound and Image Collections Conservation (SOIMA) programme in 2007. With its aim of building capacity for preservation and creative use of sound and image heritage, the SOIMA programme educates professionals on the importance of sound and image preservation in the rapidly expanding digital universe. The ultimate goal is to find creative uses for sound and image collections, ensuring their accessibility both today and for future generations

Joint Technical Symposium (JTS)

The Joint Technical Symposium (JTS) is an international scientific and technical event dealing with matters of particular importance to audiovisual archives and archivists

Labor Film - Film in the Present Tense Symposium (Germany)

LaborBerlin e.V is a nonprofit, independent film collective, open to every individual interested in artist-run initiatives and especially in analogue film practice, which embraces a more experimental and D.I.Y., craft approach to film production. LaborBerlin and the Film Institute (Berlin University of the Arts) organise “Film in the Present Tense Film - International Symposium on Current Developments in Analog Film Culture” which brings together filmmakers, artists, programmers, technicians and representatives from museums, independent film labs and cinemas to formulate ideas and plans of action for keeping analog film current and alive

Missing Movies (USA)

Missing Movies empowers filmmakers, distributors, archivists, and others to locate lost materials, clear rights, and advocate for policies and laws to make the full range of our cinema history available to all.

National Film Preservation Board (Library of Congress, USA)

Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board works to ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s film heritage, including: advising the Librarian on its recommendations for annual selections to the National Film Registry, apprising the Librarian of changing trends and policies in the field of film preservation, and counseling the Librarian on ongoing implementation of the National Film Preservation Plan

National Film Registry (Library of Congress, USA)

The National Film Registry is a list of American films deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” that are recommended for preservation by those holding the best elements for that film. These films are not selected as the ‘best’ American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture. Every year, the National Film Registry selects 25 culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation

No Time to Wait - Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision

No Time to Wait is a free three-day conference focused on open media, open standards, and digital audiovisual preservation managed by No Time to Wait has always been a conference that blends in-person and online participation

Online Public Lecture Series: This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice

This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice is a public lecture series devoted to notable projects in the fields of film restoration and film heritage. Under the overarching theme of recycling, re-using and remixing archival film(fragments), the series will showcase a broad range of creatively reused archival footage in different settings, addressing its relevance for audiences today.

Orphan Film Symposium - NYU

Orphan Film Symposium is a biennial event that brings together an international group of archivists, scholars, artists, curators, preservationists, librarians, collectors, distributors, documentarians, students, researchers, and others devoted to saving, studying, and screening all manner of neglected moving image artifacts

Packard Humanities Institute (PHI)

PHI is a non-profit foundation dedicated to archaeology, music, film preservation, and historical archives. PHI restored the historic Stanford Theatre and funded the state-of-the-art facilities: Packard Campus of the Audio-Visual Conservation Center at the Library of Congress (Culpeper, Virginia) and the PHI Stoa (Santa Clarita, California), especially designed to provide space for the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Packard Campus and PHI Stoa are dedicated to the storage, conservation and study of our audio-visual heritage, and both are dedicated to providing broader public access

Pickfair Institute of Cinematic Studies

The purpose of the Pickfair Institute of Cinematic Studies is the pursuit of excellence of motion picture art, science and technology. Its goal is to provide an aegis in which companies, organizations and individuals can, through cooperative action, research the history and heritage and advance the evolution of the motion picture art/science and disseminate that learning, for the commonweal of human culture. Its work is funded by donations from the public and institutions, through the sales of test, evaluation and demonstration materials

Recontre INEDITS

Founded in 1991, INEDITS is a European not-for-profit with the aim to encourage the collection, the conservation, the study and the valorization of amateur films. Every year the members meet in order to exchange best practice, share knowledge and research, or to discover films or exhibitions using amateur footage.

REDAUVI (Red Iberoamericana de Patrimonio Audiovisual)

Latin American Audio-Visual Heritage network

Reel to Reel Institute (Hong Kong)

Founded by practitioners of film restoration and programming in 2018, Reel to Reel Institute is a non-profit organisation that aims at promoting film preservation, and wider access of audio-visual heritage in Hong Kong.

Restoration Asia

Since 2012, Restoration Asia has been a showcase for the work of archives, technical service providers and distributors in their efforts to preserve the audio-visual heritage of Asia. Restoration Asia is coordinated by OWL Studio, and is designed for archivists, scholars, students and professionals as well as those with a shared passion for the preservation and restoration of Asian Cinema & Asia’s cinematographic history

Save As (Canada)

One-day annual conference at the International Film Festival of Ottawa (IFFO). Save As is dedicated to examining issues of preservation, restoration, distribution, and exhibition of the always-endangered world cinema heritage. It consists of expert panel discussions, case studies of restored cinema classics, and special public screenings.

Share that Knowledge

The project “Share that Knowledge! Finding Strategies for Passing on Knowledge Across Generations of Audiovisual Archivists” is a joint initiative of the Austrian Film Museum and the Slovenian Cinematheque, funded by the Federal Ministry Republic of Austria for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport, and endorsed by the International Federation of Film Archives. The project aims to research and develop strategies and methods of unlocking, articulating and sustaining the knowledge that audiovisual archivists hold about the collections they work with.

Silent Movie Day

Silent Movie Day (September 29) is an annual celebration of silent movies, a vastly misunderstood and neglected cinematic art form. Silent motion pictures are a vital, beautiful, and often powerful part of film history. Silent Movie Day advocates for their presentation and preservation.


SMPTE is the global society of media professionals, technologists and engineers working together to drive the industry forward: Individuals and corporations collaborating for the advancement of all things technical in the motion picture, television and digital media industries. SMPTE is an internationally recognized Standards organization, bringing order to the chaos of constantly evolving technologies with a high level of unbiased technical excellence.

SouthEast Asia-Pacific AudioVisual Archive Association (SEAPAVAA)

SEAPAVAA is an association of organizations and individuals involved in, or interested in the development of audiovisual archiving in a particular geographic region – the countries of Southeast Asia, Australasia and the Pacific Islands. It particularly aims to promote audiovisual archiving and to preserve and provide access to the region’s rich audiovisual heritage

The African Film Heritage Project

A partnership between the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI), The Film Foundation and its affiliate archive, the Cineteca di Bologna, and UNESCO. The purpose is to restore and preserve 50 African films of historical, cultural and artistic significance.
FEPACI was founded in 1970 in Tunis by such film pioneers as Ousmane Sembène, Paulin Soumanou Vieyra and Tahar Cheriaa among others. FEPACI is the continental voice of filmmakers from various regions of Africa and the Diaspora. The creation of the African Audiovisual and Cinema Commission of the African Union (AU) and the Cinematheque Africaine of Ouagadougou (CAO) are two landmark achievements by FEPACI among many

The Archive Project (SFSU School of Cinema)

The San Francisco State University School of Cinema collects an assortment of classic features, documentaries, animation, experimental, and student short films. These films originate from numerous countries and span decades of style and technology - including student films dating back more than forty years. The Archive Project will follow the School’s commitment to fostering diverse voices, preserving cinematic history, and encouraging exploration by all students

The Film Foundation

The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with archives and studios, the foundation has helped to restore nearly 900 films, which are made accessible to the public through programming at festivals, museums, and educational institutions around the world.
The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has restored 43 films from 25 different countries representing the rich diversity of world cinema. The Foundation’s free educational curriculum, The Story of Movies (, teaches young people - over 10 million to date - about film language and history

The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF)

NFPF is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America´s film heritage. NFPF supports activities nationwide that preserve American films and improve film access for study, education, and exhibition

The Reel Thing - Technical Symposium

Curated by Grover Crisp and Michael Friend, The Reel Thing addresses current thinking and most advanced practical examples of progress in the field of preservation, restoration and media conservation. Presenting the latest technologies in audiovisual restoration and preservation, The Reel Thing brings together a unique line up of laboratory technicians, archivists, new media technologists and preservationists

UNESCO Memory of the World Register

The Memory of the World is the documented, collective memory of the peoples of the world –their documentary heritage – which in turn represents a large proportion of the world’s cultural heritage. Much of the Memory of the World resides in libraries, archives, museums and keeping places across the globe and much of it is now at risk. The Memory of the World Register lists documentary heritage which has been recommended by the International Advisory Committee, and endorsed by the Director-General of UNESCO, as corresponding to the selection criteria regarding world significance and outstanding universal value

UNESCO Memory of the World Register

General guidelines to safeguard documentary heritage, by Ray Edmondson

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

UNESCO declared October 27 as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage to raise awareness of the significance of Audiovisual documents and to draw attention to the need to safeguard them

The Living Record of Memory
A Spanish/Canadian co-production by El Grifilm Productions and Filmoption International

El Grifilm Productions

Canadian Film


Quebec tax credit

Filmoption international

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