12 May 2011
The BFI National Archive is celebrating its win last night for Best Archive Restoration Title at the Focal International Awards 2011 for the restoration of The Great White Silence (Herbert Ponting, 1924), which follows Captain Scott’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition.
The Best Archival Film Project was awarded to The Chaplin Keystone Project, a venture in which the BFI National Archive partnered with Lobster Films and the Cineteca di Bologna in a truly international collaboration. The 34 surviving Chaplin Keystone films resulting from this remarkable 8 year restoration project were released by the BFI in a DVD box set, Chaplin at Keystone, in December 2010.
One of the most ambitious of recent international archival collaborations, the Keystone project and Chaplin at Keystone, the four-disc BFI DVD box set released in December 2010, is the culmination of an eight-year hunt to track down and restore the films that Charles Chaplin made at Keystone Studios during 1914.
The news comes with the launch of a new book from BFI’s curator of silent film and curator on both winning projects, Bryony Dixon. Entitled 100 Silent Films the dedicated introduction to Silent Films will be published by BFI/Palgrave on 24 June 2011.
Heather Stewart, Cultural Programme Director for the BFI said: ‘Winning two awards last night is a hugely important vote of confidence from FOCAL in the work that the BFI National Archive continues to carry out and really helps to position and underline our role both in the UK and internationally.’
More than a hundred years ago the British Antarctic Expedition led by Captain Scott, set out on its ill-fated race to the South Pole. Joining Scott on board the Terra Nova was Herbert Ponting, the expedition’s official photographer and cameraman. The images that he captured have fired imaginations ever since and are one of the greatest records of British polar exploration.
The BFI National Archive – custodian of the expedition negatives – has restored the film using the latest photochemical and digital techniques and reintroduced the film's sophisticated use of colour. The alien beauty of the landscape is brought dramatically to life, showing the world of the expedition in brilliant detail.
The Great White Silence was a much acclaimed highlight of last year’s London Film Festival. It is released in cinemas nationwide on 20 May with a newly commissioned score by leading contemporary composer Simon Fisher Turner. On 20 June it will be released by the BFI on DVD and Blu-ray in a Dual Format Edition.