August 21, 2014

A Land Of Lost Movies In Midtown Manhattan

There was a surprising and somewhat disturbing story in the TIMES arts section today about DuArt film labs collection of "lost movies". The lab, once a mainstay in the NY indie film world, worked with many filmmakers back in the days when one actually made films--on celluloid, with sprockets, chemical baths, and all that 20th century photochemical jazz.

However, after they stopped processing film a few years ao, they realized they still had something of a film problem in that there were thousands of unclaimed negatives in their possession that filmmakers or the companies that made these indie films in the 70s, 80s, 90s left behind.The good news is that the lab's founders have hung onto these materials because they just can't bear to throw them away knowing they are someone's artistic work. The bad news is many filmmakers don't even know that they have film in their storage facility.

So to try and get these films to their proper owners or to a proper place for archiving (like the Library of Congress of the Academy in LA), they have started working with IndieCollect, a archiving clearinghouse started by a former producer who is trying to get these films out of limbo. I encourage other filmmakers to seek out DuArt's collection as I went through this process myself last year, tracking down my first feature I THINK I DO to a Technicolor vault out in the Valley and getting it to the UCLA Film/TV Archive in Los Angeles, via Outfest's Legacy project. The negative for my short POOL DAYS was a bit easier to track down--it was under my bed! But still it got sent off to L.A. as well where it was properly archived.