Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Period of Performance

5/1/2014 - 4/30/2019

Funding Totals

$260,000.00 (approved)
$260,000.00 (awarded)

Recovering "Lost" American Nonfiction Films

FAIN: PW-51519-14

National Film Preservation Foundation (San Francisco, CA 94103-2640)
Annette Melville (Project Director: July 2013 to November 2014)
Jeff Lambert (Project Director: November 2014 to March 2023)

The repatriation and restoration of 26 U.S. nonfiction films from the 1910s and 1920s, currently located at EYE Film Institute Netherlands.

The NFPF requests $300,000 to preserve and present 26 American nonfiction films of the 1910s and 1920s, the period from which the fewest films survive. A time capsule of industry, agriculture, explorations, natural wonders, and current events, the works were found at EYE Film Institute Netherlands, evaluated onsite, and selected for their research value by a team of American scholars and archivists. Three-quarters no longer exist in the U.S.; the remainder are represented by poorer copies. With NEH support, the nitrate prints will be preserved to 35mm film with reconstructed English-language intertitles, in collaboration with EYE, AMPAS, GEH, LOC, and the Oregon Historical Society, and digital copies will be made available on the web, with new essays and music. Building on our successful repatriation efforts with Australia and New Zealand, this NFPF-led collaboration will recover "lost" resources for the humanities and pave the way for further film preservation partnerships in Europe.

Media Coverage

A Treasure Trove of Silent American Movies Found in Amsterdam (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Susan King
Publication: Los Angeles Times
Date: 3/30/2015
Abstract: Discussion of NFPF-EYE repatriation partnership; mentions NEH grant to preserve the nonfiction films.

National Film Preservation Foundation Unearths Lost Silents in Pact with Dutch Museum (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Cynthia Littleton
Publication: Variety
Date: 3/30/2015
Abstract: Discussion of NFPF-EYE repatriation project

Lost Mickey Rooney Film Is Found and Set for Preservation (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Mike Barnes
Publication: Hollywood Reporter
Date: 3/30/2015
Abstract: Discussion of NFPF-EYE repatriation project.