I received a text late on Tuesday evening from Bristol Watershed’s Mark Cosgrove asking if we’d like to take a private tour around the Cineteca’s film restoration laboratory, L’Immagine Ritrovata, at 10am the next morning. We agreed and the tour included myself, my wife, Mark and Tom Vincent of Aardman Animation.
The tour started in the “Repair” room where film prints arrive, are placed on Steenbecks and manually repaired. We then moved down to the basement where we were shown the scanning machine (capable of wet and dry scanning, at both 2K and 4K) and a team working on a recently scanned print using digital software.
It is here where the image is digitally “cleaned” and the colour is corrected. In another room we were shown a team working on the sound for the same film, again using digital tools.
The final room we were shown was full of long lines of computer monitors with technical staff watching the film frame-by-frame for flaws in the image and then correcting them.
The final stage is the production of a new 35mm print of the film and a new digital file in either 2 or 4K resolution. We were told that the laboratory carries out restoration work for companies all round the world as well as private collections. They average 60-70 film restorations a year with a staff of just 80, this I found an incredible revelation!
It was a fascinating tour and my thanks goes to Mark Cosgrove for inviting me and my wife to join the tour.
Lunch was with Kim Hendrickson of The Criterion Collection and Anna von Bagh.
We did not end up seeing any movies on this day as the afternoon was then spent attending The Future of Film debate at the Cineteca’s Auditorium chaired by Variety’s, Scott Foundas.
Among the interchangeable panel members were Gabe Klinger, Pietro Marcelli, Jonathan Nossiter, Alexander Payne, Renato Berta, Christian Richter, Eric Le Roy, Grover Crisp, Jose Manuel Costa, Michael Pogorzelski, Nicola Mazzanti, Gian Luca Farinelli and Rachael Stoeltje.
We started the morning with a new restoration of Norman Foster’s 1950 noir WOMAN ON THE RUN. A beautifully shot noir on the streets of San Francisco that ends with a gripping climax at a Bay Area fun fair. The film was restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding by the Film Noir Foundation.
Next up on Thursday was a talk by The Criterion Collection on the restoration of Satyajit Ray’s THE APU TRILOGY. The trilogy was restored by the Criterion Collection and being screened at the festival. The films will be released on DVD/Blu Ray by Criterion in November.
The afternoon’s screenings kicked off with Peter von Bagh’s rarely seen 2006 documentary film, EDVIN LAINE. Edvin Laine was a well known Finnish film director, perhaps best known for his film, THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER (1958). The film was introduced by Midnight Sun Film Festival Artistic Director, Timo Malmi.
We followed this screening with the harrowing documentary, GERMAN CONCENTRATION CAMPS FACTUAL SURVEY (1945), recently restored by the Imperial War Museum.
Final film of the day was Bresson’s classic AU HASARD BALTHAZAR (1965). Screened here in a new restoration from Argos Films.
Dinner this evening was with the curators of the Leo McCarey strand of the festival, Dave Kehr and Steve Massa.