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FOCAL International Jane Mercer Lecture for 2012 in Association with The RTS London Centre and BAFTA

19 March 2012

BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London W1


Monday 19 March 2012 at 7.00pm
Venue: the David Lean Room, BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, W1

In association with BAFTA and The RTS London Centre, this year’s FOCAL International Jane Mercer  Memorial Lecture will be given by restoration expert Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films, France. Serge Bromberg will lead a fascinating presentation unlocking the issues, processes and technologies of film restoration. The importance of restoring feature films has never been more important to screen industry heritage, our classic films and the original formats are aging and new digital restoration technologies and techniques are evolving quickly. Film restoration not only takes time, technology and funding but also involves questions of priorities, ethics and integrity. As well as examining the wonders and dangers of digital restoration, the lecture will feature two remarkable projects; the first bringing back to life a unique colour version of TRIP TO THE MOON (Méliès, 1902), and the other the Chaplin Keystone Project, restoring the first thirty-five Charlie Chaplin films. We will go into details, and raise questions that have never been raised before.
This year’s lecture is open to BAFTA, RTS and FOCAL International members only. Please register to secure a place using the 'BOOK EVENT' link above.

The evening lecture and discussion will tell the story of the miraculous discovery of a hand-coloured print of the world-famous TRIP TO THE MOON, the 1902 Georges Méliès' film; the film took over a decade to restore and opened the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011.
Under the aegis of the Chaplin Estate/Association and as a joint venture, Lobster Films, Cineteca di Bologna and the British Film Institute undertook the complex task of restoring the thirty five short comedies that Charlie Chaplin acted and directed between January and December 1914 at the Keystone studios. These films constitute an invaluable treasure as Charlie Chaplin's very first steps in cinema: in each he experimented with some aspect of acting and relating to the camera ' bringing his British music-hall humour to film and swiftly adapting it to the Keystone's structure and film technique. The Chaplin Keystone project is a perfect example of collaboration between Film archives and took seven years to complete. Lobster Films, and his partners of the Chaplin Keystone Project, won the 2011 FOCAL Award for Best Archive Restoration Project. Serge Bromberg will be joined by Bryony Dixon and Kieron Webb, both in charge of the project at BFI.


Serge Bromberg – Lobster Films
Serge Bromberg was born in France in 1961 and graduated from the Paris Superior School of Commerce (ESCP-EAP) in 1983. Since1985 he has been on the front line for preserving, saving and broadcasting heritage-films of all forms. For his contribution, he and Eric Lange were awarded the Jean Mitry Award in 1997, during the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Sacile (Italy), and he was awarded the Knights Cross of the French “Arts et Lettres” distinction in 2002. He has built up a catalogue of rights to over 150 feature films and a collection of world-famous old films. Serge Bromberg is also the Artistic Director of the International Annecy Film Festival of Animated Films (since 1999), on the board of the GAN Foundation for Cinema, as well as the French Association against Muscular Dystrophy (AFM) and board member of the Cinémathèque Française. As a delegate producer for television since 1994, he has produced over 500 magazines and shows, company films and documentaries. For 7 years he has hosted CELLULO, France 5’s main youth program, as well as the Téléthon on France 2 ; and he still hosts the Retour de Flamme (Saved from the Flames) magazine on Cine Cinema Classics. Assistant director for feature films in his early days, he also directed Henri-George Clouzot’s inferno (Cesar best documentary in 2009, Official selection in Cannes,), received the Silver Medalion in the Telluride Film Festival (2009), and the first Outstanding Achievement Award for Archive Preservation and Restoration, by History Makers, in 2012.

Bryony Dixon – BFI Curator (Silent Film)
Bryony has researched and written on many aspects of early and silent film and co-directs the annual British Silent Film Festival, as well as programming for a variety of film festivals and events worldwide. She co-edits the series of books arising from the British Silent Film Festival with Laraine Porter of De Montfort University. She programmes and gives papers at academic conferences on film and organised the first International Charles Chaplin Conference in 2005 as part of the BFI's Chaplin Project. Publications include Picture Perfect: Landscape, Place and Travel in British Cinema before 1930 (University of Exeter, 2007) and several articles and book chapters on silent cinema and archiving. Her book 100 Silent Films, in the BFI Screen Guides series was published in 2011.

Kieron Webb - BFI Technical Projects Officer
Kieron co-ordinates the technical work for the BFI Archive's restorations, including the identification of the best source materials and designing the approach of restoration work with all the other teams at the Archive's Conservation Centre. As well as working on the restorations of the first films of Charlie Chaplin he has also worked on David Lean titles and led the restoration of Joseph Losey's Accident (1967).

Serge Bromberg - Jane Mercer Memorial Lecture © FOCAL International 2012