Documentary Centenaries

BFI National Archive   |   UK

Marking 2007's centenaries of five pioneer documentarists, project involved curatorially assessing their entire surviving output. 84 titles then selected for programming and detailed technical assessment, informing case-by-case implementation of: Production of polyester film-stock masters from best surviving elements, for long-term preservation. Production of 35mm screening prints Production of full-graded HD masters. Project planned for multiple outputs, including: Humphrey Jennings package ‘Finest Hour', distributed to cinemas in both 35mm and HD formats. Major ‘Documentary Centenaries' season at BFI Southbank Restored ‘Night Mail' DVD, released by BFI. ‘Land of Promise' DVD box-set containing 41 of the restored titles, due April 2008. Reason for Submission: Ambitious project of massive importance to cultural heritage, demonstrated by supporting materials: ‘Finest Hour' brought Jennings to cinemas at best-ever quality: see ‘Words for Battle'. Film season was largest-ever Documentary Movement retrospective. Many titles newly accessible, others at much-improved quality. See ‘ Eastern Valley': bad 16mm print was only available British material; outstanding new 35mm version produced from original nitrate print obtained from USA. ‘Night Mail': a classic available looking its best in decades. ‘ Land of Promise' box-set will make wider selection of restorations available worldwide: see selection. Preservation material produced: this holistic project married public access to long-term legacy.