THE black-and-white image of Meena Kumari from Benazir (1962) — in which the actor appears vulnerable yet resplendent in her finery — bears the strain of decades gone by. Sourced from Mumbai-based Kamat Foto Flash, this movie still is the face of the Film Preservation & Restoration Workshop India 2016, which was announced at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa. In collaboration with the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF), the workshop will be held at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI), Pune, from February 26 to March 6, 2016.
The workshop, which was held by FHF for the first time in 2015, has roped in the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) to work on its module for the next edition. Filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder-director of FHF, says, “A 10-day advanced course is being specially designed by David Walsh, head of the FIAF Technical Commission, for Indian conditions with a focus on practical training in current film preservation and restoration techniques and archival practices conducted by leading archivists and restorers from international institutions.”
Under the National Film Heritage Mission (NFHM), the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting plans to restore and digitise 1,300 films. The workshop is the first major step to help the government to build the infrastructure and a pool of trained personnel for this project. With a budget of Rs 597.41 crore, the mission’s objectives include assessing the condition of films, preventive conservation of 1,32,000 film reels, picture and sound restoration of 1,086 landmark feature films and 1,152 short films, recording of new picture and sound inter-negatives of each film, and digitisation of 1,160 feature films and 1,660 short films. The NFAI will create infrastructure to preserve movies both in digital and celluloid formats.
The workshop, which is being held in association with the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, George Eastman Museum and L’Immagine Ritrovata, is open to applicants from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The last date of application is January 11, 2016, and the course fees is Rs 25,000. “Apart from intensive training on preservation of films, the workshop is also looking into the preservation of non-filming materials such as negatives, film posters and glass materials,” says Dungarpur.
According to Prakash Magdum, director of NFAI, the government aims to implement the mission by 2021. There will also be emphasis on cataloguing and documentation of movies. “We should preserve our cinematic heritage in a systematic manner,” says Magdum.