ShoutOut!: Film Restoration School Asia

Lewat Djam Malam (Usmar Ismail, 1954)
Image courtesy of the National Museum of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore presents Film Restoration School Asia 

For the first time in Asia, the National Museum of Singapore – in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata and Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation – will organize and host the Film Restoration School Asia from 18 – 23 November 2013. The objective of the school is to provide film preservation and restoration training to safeguard our shared cinematic heritage and address the growing need for specialised knowledge and skills in this area within Asia.

Film Restoration School Asia is the inaugural Asian edition of the biennial and world-renowned Film Restoration Summer School in Bologna, Italy, which started in 2007. The six-day programme in Singapore will provide film preservation and restoration training through screenings, lectures and practical hands-on lessons (exclusive to students) conducted by experts from around the world and staff of L’Immagine Ritrovata – a highly specialised film restoration laboratory.

Registration for the school has already closed, but lectures, talks and screenings of restored films are open to the public and FREE with registration! Some renowned titles that will be screened include Taxi Driver (1976) by Martin Scorsese, chairman of the World Cinema Foundation and the experimental debut feature, Mysterious Object at Noon (2000), by award-winning Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Director of L’Immagine Ritrovata, Davide Pozzi, says, “Film Restoration School Asia does more than just provide participants with technical training. The true goal of the school is to address the current issues surrounding film preservation and promote shared knowledge in this field. The first big restoration projects of Southeast Asian films have begun to take place, and there is no better time than now for a programme such as this.”

Film Restoration School Asia and the National Museum of Singapore Cinémathèque’s acceptance as a member of La Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (International Federation of Film Archives) earlier this year has allowed Singapore to strengthen its role as a key node for Asia’s film community.
All public programmes will be held in the Gallery Theatre, Basement, National Museum of Singapore. 
Admission is free with registration on a first-come, first-served basis. 
To register, please email your contact details to nhb_nm_cinematheque@nhb.gov.sg. 

Film restoration is a process that takes months or even years. Find out more about the ideas and materials needed for a film restoration project or the restoration works of archives in this region and beyond!

Lectures

Restoration Workflow
Speaker: Davide Pozzi (L’Immagine Ritrovata) & Emanuele Vissani (L’Immagine Ritrovata)
Mon 18 Nov 2013 | 10.00am – 11.30am
This lecture will give an overview of a film restoration project, providing participants with the knowledge to manage one themselves. It begins from the first step of film comparison and repair to the final step of film mastering. Students will familiarise themselves with the purpose and utility of the practical workshops that will take place throughout the week.

World Cinema Foundation
Speaker: Cecilia Cenciarelli (World Cinema Foundation)
Mon 18 Nov 2013 | 12pm – 1pm
World Cinema Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded by Martin Scorsese and dedicated to the preservation, restoration and dissemination of neglected and deteriorating films from around the world. This presentation will introduce the mission of the World Cinema Foundation, describe its guidelines and practices and highlight some of the foundation’s most interesting restoration projects to date. It will also attempt to provide a general overview of the state of archives in neglected areas of the world and outline the organisation’s main challenges to date.

Film Identification
Speaker: Ariane Baudat (L’Immagine Ritrovata)
Mon 18 Nov 2013 | 2pm – 4pm

At the very beginning of a technical restoration project, there is only one certainty: cans containing film reels. Knowing what kind of film material one is working with is the first step of the restoration process. This lecture will give an introduction to the inspection and assessment of film materials for authentic restorations. Topics covered include how far or close the film materials are from the original negative and their intrinsic characteristics (film base, gauge, image ratio, edge data, soundtracks, splices etc.).

Why do we Restore Films?
Speakers: Zhang Wenjie (National Museum of Singapore) and Cecilia Cenciarelli (World Cinema Foundation)
Mon 18 Nov 2013 | 7.30pm – 8.30pm
The interest in film restoration has grown over the years. Today, restored films are a staple in film festivals worldwide and regularly released on consumer formats. What are the reasons behind this growing interest in film restoration? How is film restoration important and crucial to the safeguarding and presentation of our shared cinematic history? This introductory lecture on film restoration will reflect upon the history of film restoration, its current state, and the philosophies that inform its current practices.
Film Scanning Strategies
Speaker: Sibylle Maier (ARRI)
Tue 19 Nov 2013 | 9.30am – 11am
This lecture will provide an overview of the basics of film digitisation. The speaker will discuss the process and difficulties of digitising old film material. She will also share the technical knowledge required for a film scanning project.

Restoration Strategies for 16 mm Film
With a Case Study on the Restoration of Mysterious Object at Noon (2000)
Speakers: Davide Pozzi (L’Immagine Ritrovata) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul
(Film Director)
Thu 21 Nov 2013 | 9.30am – 11am
Today, digital technologies enable the restoration of 16 mm film gauges with very positive results in terms of image quality. Film and television archives all over the world preserve 16 mm films. These institutions can now take advantage of a contingent and high-standard workflow that enables proper restoration for presentation on the big screen. This lecture will feature case studies on the digitalisation and restoration of 16 mm films, with a focus on the recently restored Mysterious Object at Noon (2000). Mysterious Object at Noon was restored in 2013 by the World Cinema Foundation and the Austrian Film Museum. Restoration works were carried out at the Austrian Film Museum, LISTO laboratory in Vienna, Technicolor Ltd. in Bangkok, and Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in close collaboration with the film’s director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

The Presentation of Restored Films
Speakers: Séverine Wemaere (Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage), Gilles Duval (MEMORY Cinéma Association), Cecilia Cenciarelli (World Cinema Foundation) & Gian Luca Farinelli (Cineteca di Bologna)
Fri 22 Nov 2013 | 9.30am – 11am

The existence of platforms for the presentation of restored films – ranging from regular year-round programming at cinémathèques and film institutes to special film festivals – is crucial for the sustainability of film restoration activities. In this lecture, Séverine Wemaere and Gilles Duval will share their experience organising the MEMORY! International Film Heritage Festival, which had its premiere in Asia this year in Phnom Penh. Gian Luca Farinelli and Cecilia Cenciarelli will share with us the history of Il Cinema Ritrovato, an annual film festival held in Bologna since 1986 and is dedicated to the rediscovery of unknown and rarely seen films.
Case Studies

The Restoration of Lewat Djam Malam / After the Curfew (1954)
Speakers: Zhang Wenjie (National Museum of Singapore) & Lintang Gitomartoyo (Konfiden Foundation)
Mon 18 Nov 2013 | 4.30pm – 6.30pm
This case-study will re-examine the process of restoring Lewat Djam Malam / After the Curfew (1954). Lewat Djam Malam / After the Curfew (1954) was restored in 2012 by the National Museum of Singapore and the World Cinema Foundation, with support from the Konfiden Foundation and Kineforum of the Jakarta Arts Council. The restoration work was conducted by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory from original film elements preserved at the Sinematek Indonesia.

The Restoration of Taxi Driver (1976)
Speaker: Grover Crisp (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Tue 19 Nov 2013 | 11.30am – 1pm
This case-study will re-examine the process of restoring Taxi Driver (1976). Taxi Driver was restored in 2011 by Sony Pictures Entertainment on the occasion of its 35th Anniversary.

The Restoration of Manila in the Claws of Neon (1975)
Speaker: Benedict Olgado (National Film Archives of the Philippines)
Wed 20 Nov 2013 | 9.30am – 11am
This case-study will re-examine the process of restoring Manila in the Claws of Neon (1975). Manila in the Claws of Neon (1975) was restored in 2013 by the World Cinema Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with LVN Pictures, Cinema Artists Philippines and Filipino director, Mike de Leon.

Panel Discussion

Film Archives in Asia
Panelists: Chalida Uabumrungjit (Thai Film Archive), Benedict Olgado (National Film Archives of the Philippines) and Karen Chan (Asian Film Archive)
Thu 21 Nov 2013 | 11.30am – 1pm

This panel discussion will give a snapshot of the state of film archives in Asia with a look at the history and activities of the Thai Film Archive, National Film Archives of the Philippines and the Asian Film Archive based in Singapore. Panellists will share their organisations’ missions, archival policies and restoration activities. Looking at the intricacies of film archiving and restoration in Asia, the panel will also discuss the challenges faced in the region and how to enable sustainable practices in film preservation and restoration.

Film Screenings
Lewat Djam Malam / After the Curfew
Thursday 18 November 2013 | 8.30pm – 10.00pm
Director: Usmar Ismail
1954 / Indonesia / 102 min / 35 mm / PG
In Bahasa Indonesia with English subtitles
Image courtesy of the National Museum of Singapore
To be screened with an introduction by Lintang Gitomartoyo (Programme Development Assistant, Konfiden Foundation)


A classic of Indonesian cinema, written by poet Asrul Sani, Lewat Djam Malam / After the Curfew is a thriller set in the months just following Indonesia’s independence. A war veteran, Iskandar (A. N. Alcaff), returns to Bandung anxious to re-enter civilian life. Taken in by friends and wartime comrades, he quickly becomes disillusioned with the new society that threatens to betray the spirit of the revolution with its black-market consumer comforts and how it turns a blind eye to war-related injustices. Iskandar soon finds himself on the run from the authorities in this city which, after the revolution, is still under curfew.


Taxi Driver
Tuesday 19 November 2013 | 8pm – 10pm
Director: Martin Scorsese
1976 / USA / 114 min / DCP / M18
In English
Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment / Park Circus
To be screened with an introduction by Grover Crisp (Executive Vice President, Asset Management, Film Restoration & Digital Mastering, Sony Pictures Entertainment)


Etched firmly into the canon of American cinema as a defining film from the 1970s, Taxi Driver is one of the most relentless and unforgiving explorations of the post-World War II psyche. In the film, Vietnam veteran, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), roams the streets of New York as an insomniac taxi driver. Anxiety builds up as Travis observes and laments about the nocturnal unrest and exploitation that unfolds around him, leading to his gradual descent into madness. He develops a consuming, spiritual inclination towards vengeance, which transforms him into a vigilante committing an acute and singular act of heroic violence. With a script by Paul Schrader, and brilliant cinematography by Michael Chapman, Martin Scorsese reveals the portrait of an accursed city – not unlike Sodom and Gomorrah – and its mythology of the isolated urban anti-hero in the throes of passion and madness.


Manila in the Claws of Neon
Wednesday 20 November 2013 | 8pm – 10pm
Director: Lino Brocka
1975 / Philippines / 124 min / DCP / Rating TBC
In Tagalog with English subtitles
Image courtesy of the Film Development Council of the Philippines
To be screened with an introduction by Benedict Olgado (Head Archivist, National Film Archives of the Philippines)


Adapted from a serialised novel by award-winning author Edgardo M. Reyes, Manila in the Claws of Neon follows a young provincial named Julio (Bembol Roco) as he arrives in Manila in search of his lover Ligaya (Hilda Koronel). Scrambling to survive, Julio takes up a number of temporary jobs and endures all manner of indignities, brutalities and exploitations as he plunges relentlessly into the city's lower depths, driven by the hope that he will be reunited with his lost love. Independently financed and shot on location, the film presents a searing portrait of life under corruption and political injustices, and their poisonous effects on society. Made with force, passion, and lucidity, Brocka's epic is a brilliant fusion of full-throttle melodrama and ultra-realism.

Mysterious Object at Noon
Thursday 21 November 2013 | 8pm – 10pm
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
2000 / Thailand / 88 min / DCP / PG
In Thai with English subtitles
To be screened with an introduction by Apichatpong Weerasethakul


On his journey, Apichatpong hears a story which he then asks people to continue as they wish – like a game of Chinese Whispers (or the French Surrealists’ concept of the cadavre exquis or exquisite corpse). The original title, Dokfah Nai Meu Maan, roughly translates as “Heavenly Flower in Devil’s Hand”. The name of that flower, Dokfah, is also the name of the woman who appears in the story-within-a-film as the teacher of a young paraplegic boy.


The Boat House
Friday 22 November 2013 | 8pm – 10pm
Director: His Royal Highness Prince Panupanyugala and Neramit
1961 / Thailand / 125 min / 35 mm / PG
In Thai with English subtitles
Image courtesy of Thai Film Archive
To be screened with an introduction by Chalida Uabumrungjit (Deputy Director, Thai Film Archive)


The Boat House is a Thai classic about three best friends, Jen, Kaew and Rin, who all fall in love with the same girl, Pehn. The four live together in a boat house rented from Pehn's father, who wishes for Pehn to marry Jen. Jen graduates and becomes a police officer while Rin becomes a singer, and Kaew, a boxer. On a rainy night, Pehn agrees to be Kaew's wife, but a twist of fate forces her to marry another wealthy man. The best friends find themselves together again when Jen, now a police officer, is ordered to arrest Kaew, much to Pehn’s despair. Will Jen follow the law or his heart for the woman he loves?

Stromboli
Saturday 23 November 2013 | 2.30pm – 4.30pm
Director: Roberto Rossellini
1950 / Italy / 106 min / DCP / Rating TBC
In Italian with English subtitles
Co-presented with Italian Cultural Institute of Singapore
Image courtesy of Cineteca di Bologna
To be screened with an introduction by Gian Luca Farinelli (Director, Cineteca di Bologna)


Set on the Sicilian island of Stromboli, Rossellini’s portrait of a woman cast upon an unfamiliar land was released in 1950, in tune with a scandal which emerged from its production. Stromboli is the first collaboration between Rossellini and another renowned director, Ingrid Bergman, leading to a sensational affair which made the tabloids. In the film, Bergman stars as Karin, a Lithuanian war refugee who marries a fisherman residing on the island as a means to escape prison internment. Karin is a stranger to the conservative community residing within the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the remote island. As her despair heightens, the other protagonist of the film and main geographical feature of the island – a towering, active volcano threatening to erupt at any moment – becomes a metaphor for her precarious emotional state.


Vulcano
Saturday 23 November 2013 | 5pm – 7pm
Director: William Dieterle
1950 / Italy / 106 min / 35 mm / Rating TBC
In Italian with English subtitles
Co-presented with Italian Cultural Institute of Singapore
Image courtesy of Cineteca di Bologna
To be screened with an introduction by Gian Luca Farinelli (Director, Cineteca di Bologna)


After shooting a series of documentaries about underwater spearfishing at the Aeolian Islands, the film studio Panaria Film approached Roberto Rossellini to make a film at the islands with his companion Anna Magnani. When Rossellini abandoned the project to shoot a film at Stromboli with Ingrid Bergman, Panaria Film responded by enlisting American director William Dieterle to direct Vulcano with Magnani who stars as Maddalena, a prostitute who is sent back by the police to the island of her birth. There, she defends her younger sister from the advances of a deep-sea diver while suffering from being ostracised by the islanders. A tale of sacrifice and familial relations, Vulcano brings forth a remarkable mix of neo-realism in its documentation of the volcanic landscape and island life. The film’s melodramatic excess is personified by Magnani’s explosive performance that unfolds in tune with the tremors of nature.
Film Restoration School Asia is proudly presented by the National Museum of Singapore.
For more information, please visit www.nationalmuseum.sg/FilmRestorationSchAsia or email
nhb_nm_cinematheque@nhb.gov.sg

Restoration images courtesy of L'Immagine Ritrovata.

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