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Anthology’s mission is to preserve, promote, and exhibit independent, experimental, and artist film and video. Through modern preservation techniques – both digital and photochemical – Anthology works to make these films accessible to the general public through screenings, archival print loans, on-site research, and online viewing.
Anthology’s independent film preservation program was established in 1972. Ever since then, we have been steadfastly committed to the preservation and exhibition of work by the most important American independent and experimental filmmakers. Films preserved by Anthology include those of Stan Brakhage, Joseph Cornell, Maya Deren, Bruce Baillie, Marie Menken, Paul Sharits, and Harry Smith, among many others.
The most common traits of film decomposition – shrinkage, color fading, and base deterioration – are circumvented through the creation of new polyester-based negatives; new projection prints and digital transfers are made as a means of access. Many avant-garde film classics as well as filmic documents of life in America during the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies would have been lost if they had they not been saved from deterioration or destruction by Anthology’s film preservation program.
Anthology also provides a space for the presentation of a vast array of contemporary and classical work that otherwise has limited exposure. For us, the value of cinematic art is always realized through a combination of presentation and preservation; restricting efforts to one or the other can only lead to disappearance.
Film preservation refers to the long-term care and storage of motion picture media. The vast majority of Anthology’s collection consists of celluloid film elements, but we also have a large number of unique video and audio materials. Whether on film, magnetic tape, or a hard drive it is necessary to both maintain a proper storage environment as well as migrate content to more stable and long term media. Migrating media can refer to making a new polyester-based negative from a fading or deteriorated original, transferring older video formats to new digital files, or writing digital files to magnetic data tapes.
As with most environments dedicated to long-term storage, the key words are cool, dry, and constant. With this in mind Anthology maintains an on-site cold vault at 50 degrees Farenheit and a relative humidity (RH) of approximately 35%; we store films in acid-free archival cans. Anthology also stores selected original production and preservation elements in lower temperature off-site storage. Our staff inspects and repairs film, video, and audio materials, while always keeping an eye out for titles that could use a more proactive preservation effort – such as a new negative or a digital transfer.
These films, with the financial support of granting organizations and other funding sources, are then sent to various laboratories for the creation of a new negative and projection prints. The projection prints are then screened in-house – often as part of Anthology’s Essential Cinema series – or lent out to other institutions and festivals for public screenings. From these new preservation negatives or release prints, Anthology often creates digital files for additional access.
As an institution we feel strongly that motion pictures that were made on film (35mm, 16mm, or 8mm) should be exhibited in their original formats, but we do appreciate the accessibility of digital video and audio, especially for those unable to visit our theaters on a regular basis.
Anthology works hard to make films in our collection available to the general public through on-site viewing, hosting of researchers, archival print loans, and in-house theater projection. In conjunction with filmmakers and granting organizations, Anthology working to increase the amount of digital content available online.
We are able to produce in-house digital transfers of: 16mm, ¼” audio, ¾” U-matic video, Betacam, Hi8, Laserdisc, VHS, and audio cassette tapes. These transfers are not considered archival or preservation masters but are available for on-site and online access and, in some cases, for public presentation.
With these new digital initiatives, Anthology hopes to establish a second source for our collections to be seen by the public. By hosting digital content online, we hope to satisfy the demand of current Anthology members while at the same time introducing a new audience to independent and avant-garde cinema.
Academy Film Archive: http://www.oscars.org/filmarchive/index.html
George Eastman House: http://www.eastmanhouse.org
Harvard Film Archives: http://hcl.harvard.edu/hfa/
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/avconservation/
Museum of Modern Art: http://www.moma.org/explore/collection/film
New York Public Library: http://legacy.www.nypl.org/branch/collections/dmc.html
Pacific Film Archive: http://www.bampfa.berkley.edu/
UCLA Film & Television Archive: http://www.cinema.ucla.edu
Canyon Cinema: http://canyoncinema.com/
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre: http://www.cfmdc.org/
Center For Visual Music: http://www.centerforvisualmusic.org/CVMDistribution.htm
Electronic Arts Intermix: http://www.eai.org/
The Film Makers’ Cooperative: http://film-makerscoop.com/
Janus Films: http://www.janusfilms.com
Lux (UK): http://www.lux.org.uk/
Light Cone (France): http://lightcone.org/
Museum of Modern Art: http://www.moma.org/learn/resources/circulatingfilm
Video Data Bank: http://www.vdb.org/
Association of Moving Image Archivists: http://www.amianet.org/
GEH Selznick School of Film Preservation: http://selznickschool.eastmanhouse.org/
International Federation of Film Archives: http://www.fiafnet.org/uk/
NFPF Film Preservation Guide: http://www.filmpreservation.org/preservation-basics/the-film-preservation-guide
NYU Moving Image Archiving Program: http://www.nyu.edu/tisch/preservation/
Orphans Film Symposium: http://www.nyu.edu/orphanfilm/orphans8/
UCLA Moving Image Archive Studies: http://www.mias.ucla.edu/
BB Optics: http://www.bboptics.com/bboptics.html
Cinema Arts: 570-676-4145
Cineric, Inc.: http://www.cineric.com
Pac Lab: http://www.pac-lab.com/mainpage.htm