Rochester, N.Y., December 14, 2016—The George Eastman Museum received a grant award of $20,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works program to preserve two 35mm nitrate film prints: The Rich and the Poor (American Film Manufacturing Co., US 1911) and The Inevitable Retribution (Biograph, US 1915). The NEA announced awards totaling more than $30 million as part of the its first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017.
The focus of the museum’s project To Have and Have Not: Social Issues in Early American Independent Cinema, 1911–1917 is the preservation of these two endangered film prints made by early independent motion picture production companies (both of which ceased operations once the Hollywood studio system took off in the 1920s).
“These films are an important part of our history, particularly as it relates to social issues in the early 20th century, and without proper care, they would be lost to future generations,” said Paolo Cherchi Usai, senior curator, Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum. “This grant will allow us to preserve these prints in both 35mm and digital formats, which will ensure the reintroduction of these lost works to the public, film historians, researchers, and archivists for many years to come.”
Both films will be photochemically reproduced at the Cinema Arts Inc. laboratory in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, and new 35mm duplicate negatives and release prints will be created. Digital transfer and copies for public access will be made at the Eastman Museum Film Preservation Services lab at Eastman Business Park in Rochester.
“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as the George Eastman Museum, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA Chair Jane Chu. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”
Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the NEA promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity. The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov.
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