Saving Canadian celluloid

From The Globe and Mail

Fifty years from now, if your local repertory house wants to show the 2004-2005 Genie-winner for best Canadian film, chances are very good that the theatre will be able to get a print of the movie and that your local artsy video outlet will have some sort of digital copy.

In part, this is because all five films up for tonight’s top honour received money from Telefilm Canada, and starting in 2001, the federal agency mandated that all features receiving Telefilm assistance have to submit two archival-quality prints of each finished movie to Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, plus a Digital Betacam version for mastering purposes.

…in the United States, which has churned out the most movies of any nation over the past 100 years, it’s estimated that 50 per cent of the features produced there before 1950 have disappeared, a result of the effects of technological obsolescence, neglect, financial hardship and inadequate archiving. For films produced before 1920, the figure is 80 per cent.