You are sitting in the cinema. Hunkered down in your seat. The lights begin to dim, filling the cinema with darkness; the room falls silent. A beautiful, flickering light emanating from the booth behind you illuminates the screen, forming a moving picture as a film strip whirls through a projector… Moving images have not only conquered our hearts and minds for over a century, they are also vital documents that connect us to the world around us, to our histories and to each other.
As film is a fragile medium that needs to be thoughtfully and lovingly cared for, TIFF is thrilled to announce that it has acquired four major film print collections from NBC Universal, Mongrel Media, eOne/Les Films Séville and Canadian filmmaker Peter Mettler, consisting of 1,460 film prints in 16mm and 35mm formats. Highlights include 11 Alfred Hitchcock titles, including the classic Rear Window (1954) and horror masterpieces such as Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931), from Universal; international art house treasures such as Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger (1975) and Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy (2011), from Mongrel Media; and Canadian favourites such as Black Robe (1991) and Whale Music (1994), from eOne/Les Films Séville. The Peter Mettler collection includes 35mm prints of many of the director’s films, including Top of His Head (1989) and Picture of Light (1994); 16mm prints of his earlier works, such as Scissere (1982) and Eastern Ave (1985); and correspondence, research materials, scripts, production documents, promotional materials, and news clippings for several of his films. Mettler is also donating a wealth of post-production materials to the Cinémathèque suisse including notes, work prints, film and tape raw footage, as well as hard drives, negatives and printing elements for Gambling Gods and LSD (2002) and Picture of Light.
“As a cultural charity, we are dedicated to providing our audiences with the finest cinematic experience by presenting films in their original screening format in order to preserve the history of these materials as well as of film culture as a whole,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO, TIFF. “We are extremely grateful to our colleagues at NBC Universal, Mongrel Media and eOne, as well as to Peter Mettler. This wonderful donation will help us continue protecting and projecting film so current and future generations can enjoy the unique and hypnotic beauty of a film projected on film on the big screen.”
“TIFF was our first choice to help us preserve our collection of films, a library of prints ranging from the year 1931 to 2006, as we have had tremendous partnership with them for many years,” said Jason Fulsom, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Universal Films Canada. “With the shift of contemporary filmmaking to the digital format, finding a way to preserve movies filmed in 35mm has become a significant challenge. So many have been damaged from the environment, colour fade, etc., such that they can no longer be screened and therefore must be destroyed. We are thankful that TIFF is willing to take on the challenge of preserving these important pieces of cinema history.” “Mongrel Media is one of the many unintended flowers to emerge from the incredible blooming of TIFF over the last many years – so it is very much a coming home for us to have so many of Mongrel’s films preserved at TIFF for future generations of film buffs to learn from and enjoy the incredible work done by so many filmmakers from around the world,” added Hussain Amarshi, President and Founder of Mongrel Media.
“As long time partners, we’re delighted to be extending our relationship with TIFF in this important way. We share in TIFF’s commitment to celebrating Canadian films. As film lovers, we at eOne and Les Films Séville are thrilled to play a part in preserving a little bit of film history for future generations to enjoy,” said Patrick Roy, President, Film, North America, Entertainment One & Les Films Séville.
“Thanks to TIFF, some of our own cinema heritage will be preserved, allowing future folk to look back upon particular gestures of expression and documentation, giving clues to the state of affairs and sensibilities from whence they themselves came. A phrase from my notebooks for The End of Time becomes relevant here: I ask of you the future to help explain the present while knowing that my questions are likely answers for mysteries of your past”, added Canadian filmmaker Peter Mettler.
Beginning this fall, TIFF is launching a campaign entitled Save This Moment, which aims to raise funds to cover storage, revision, and maintenance costs of all donated prints. The first $15,000 raised by this campaign will be matched, dollar for dollar, by an anonymous donor, with start-up support generously provided by the Ontario Arts Foundation (in celebration of their 25th anniversary). The campaign runs from November 15 to December 31. For more information visit tiff.net/savethismoment.
On November 18 at 11am, TIFF is proud to present Reel Heritage: Project and Protect, a free panel that will examine best practices for film and projector handling, explore the tools of the trade, and advocate for the continued dissemination of these essential skills and knowledge for future generations. The panel will feature projectionists and technicians from leading North American film institutions, such as Andy Uhrich (Indiana University), Katie Trainor (MoMA), and James King (TIFF). The event will be live streamed at tiff.net/reelheritage. This event is open to the public. Patrons looking to reserve tickets to this event can email firstname.lastname@example.org.