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Martin Scorsese & Film Preservation
by Betty Jo Tucker

Martin Scorsese is the first name I think of whenever I see or hear anything about film preservation. His dedication to this worthy cause led him to found The Film Foundation back in 1990. Joining Scorsese in this important project designed to create a strong public awareness for the work of film archives were other filmmakers including Clint Eastwood,  Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg and the late Robert Altman. Additional moviemakers who came on board later included Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Ang Lee and Alexander Payne.

While watching Scorsese accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award (at the last Golden Globes presentation, if I remember correctly), I found him to be very inspiring when talking about why preserving film means so much to him. “Film is history,” he insisted. “With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other, and to ourselves.”   

It’s easy to be impressed by The Film Foundation’s achievements. For example, in its work with the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF), 1322 films have been preserved. What types of films? All kinds -- independent features, avante garde works, studio releases, documentaries, newsreels, home movies and films from the silent era.

Another encouraging accomplishment of Scorsese’s Film Foundation is The Story of Movies project, which exposes future generations to classic cinema and teaches them about “the cultural, artistic and historical significance of film.” It’s an interdisciplinary curriculum distributed to over 30,000 schools across the country. An estimated 16 million lucky students will benefit from this effort. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL were the first movies selected to study. Excellent choices! 

All information in this post about The Film Foundation comes from the organization’s website at .

Thanks to Marilyn Ferdinand (Ferdy on Films) and Farran Nehmes (The Self-Styled Siren) for co-hosting the For the Love of Film: Film Preservation Blogathon from February 14 - 21, 2010, and for giving me the chance to participate in such a worthwhile cause. 

Here’s the link for donations to the National Film Preservation Foundation:

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