Wednesday 23 May 2007

World Cinema Foundation

According to Guardian yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival director Martin Scorsese officially announced the World Cinema Foundation.

The concept grew from his work with the non-profit group, The Film Foundation in America, which he established in 1990 with Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg. The organisation advocates and supports the preservation of America's cinematic heritage. To date the foundation has saved over 450 films that faced an imminent risk of being lost, and yet it's estimated that 90% of American silent films have vanished, and perhaps as much as 50% of the films made before 1950.

For the World Cinema Foundation Scorsese is backed by an advisory board of directors that include Mexico's Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel), China's Wong Kar-wai (In the Mood For Love) and Britain's Stephen Frears (The Queen).

"Things have changed, but it's almost impossible to catch up,"' Scorsese said. "So we thought over the past years it would be a wonderful thing to pull together the influence of directors around the world to work in their countries, to work on raising financing."

Scorsese said filmmakers have a "tenacity and obsession" for saving their favourite movies. The goal is to get restored pictures from around the world more exposure, whether on DVD, in cinemas or on the Internet.

"Preserving films is preserving cultural identity," said Brazil's Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries'), a board member. "We're talking here about preserving diversity and plurality, and the possibility to know each other better."

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