Viacom18 pledges support to preserve legacy of Indian Cinema

India’s fastest growing media network, Viacom18 has partnered with the Film Heritage Foundation, to save India’s cinematic heritage. As a step towards this cause, the Film Heritage Foundation will be setting up a week-long school starting February 22nd to 28th, 2015 at Films Division Mumbai. For the first time an academic initiative of this nature focused on film preservation and restoration is being conducted in India. The school will consist of lectures, presentations and practical classes on film preservation and restoration that will be conducted by leading international experts in the field. There will also be a daily screening of a restored classic preceded by an introductory talk on the restoration. This is in line with the vision to create an indigenous resource of film archivists and restorers that will work towards preserving India’s legacy of cinema.

With over a 100 years of cinematic heritage, India is the world’s largest producer of films. India produces more than 1700 movies a year in over 32 languages. However by 1950, the industry had lost 70-80% of the films including India’s first talkie ‘Alam Ara’ due to lack of proper preservation. Understanding the importance of creating awareness to safeguard India’s unique cinematic history, Viacom18 has pledged its support to the Film Heritage Foundation, mobilizing the film fraternity and industry veterans to come forward to join this initiative.

Extending support to this unique initiative, Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment & Group CEO Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd said, “At Viacom18, we don’t just create entertainment but also believe in preserving our cultural heritage for the benefit of our audience. Our partnership with the Film Heritage Foundation is an indication of how we truly support and honour the hard work that goes behind the making of a film. Our objective for this partnership is to create awareness about the importance of preserving our glorious cinematic past because if we don’t restore films, we will lose the opportunity to document the creativity of the golden age of Indian cinema. We invite each one of you to join this movement to help restore our legacy of cinema for generations to come.”

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Founder Director, Film Heritage Foundation said, “Most people are not aware that India has an endangered cinematic legacy. We have lost a colossal amount of our cinematic heritage and we continue to lose more every day -- even recent films dating from as late as the '90s. We need to recognize that cinema is an integral part of our social and cultural heritage that must be preserved and restored like any other art form. The idea behind the Film Preservation & Restoration School India was to create awareness about the importance of film preservation and restoration and to take the first step in training future archivists and restorers to save our cinematic heritage. Sudhanshu Vats of Viacom 18 was the first person from the film industry who had the foresight to recognize the importance and urgency of our cause and to offer his support for this pioneering educational initiative.”

The Film Heritage Foundation has collaborated with Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation, Cineteca di Bologna, L'Immagine Ritrovata and FIAF for this course, which is certified by FIAF – the International Federation of Film Archives. Pre-registered participants from across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal will be part of this course.


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