CineGouna discusses the importance of film restoration and its impact on Drama

CAIRO – 21 September 2019: CineGouna platform organised on September 21 an important workshop about the importance of film restoration and its impact on Drama.
This was the first CineGouna session of the Gouna Film Festival.
“If we successfully establish a well-built filmmaking industry all we have to do is to found a strong infrastructure to preserve and store those films,” said Sandra Sandra Schullberg, president of IndieCollect, on the importance of finding sustainable methods to preserve filmmaking and production.
Schullberg added that her organization’s businesses are primarily based on working with indigenous filmmakers, whom we unfortunately lose every week to death.
Schullberg highlighted that restoring original film copies faces several major challenges due to lack of funding, especially as it depends mainly on grants from various parties.
She explained that her organization faced this challenge when attempting to restore some of the old films dating back to 1970 that showcased issues facing women of African origins, as well as African-Americans, or those of Asian descent, which is also the case with the restoration of private films.
Another challenge is obtaining original film copies “Film Negatives”, since they’re usually incorrectly stored in unsuitable places with no regard to the delicacy of these negative materials.
They’re often stored in refrigerators to maintain their quality for the longest time possible, which is ironically not very long.
Schullberg added that finding good formats to store and preserve films will enable us to preserve films for 300 years approximately, instead of digital storing methods which do not last for more than 4 years at best.
For example, a warehouse was found in Pennsylvania containing more than 8,000 containers of film negatives that have been incorrectly stacked in a way that ruined their content, which is a huge loss of valuable content produced over many years.
This lead Schullberg to minimize digital storages of film negative, whether it’s via Dropbox or CDs; given how they’re constantly at risk of being lost or damaged.
Schullberg also deliberated on the impact of incorrect storing on film restoration, highlighting how it can cause the film colours to change, in turn affecting the original product and the director’s view in time of production.
Damage in negatives can tamper with colours causing green to dominate the image, which sabotages the imagined outcome for directors and filmmakers.
For instance, if the film is to present an African-American character, the image could display a different skin colour, causing a radical change in the dramatic context.
Moreover, Sandra Schullberg announced a new partnership with Google Inc., making Google Arts & Culture its main film platform; simultaneously minimizing the share of digital platforms, like Netflix, in funding film preservation.