Journal of Film Preservation

Journal of Film Preservation

Journal of Film Preservation, from

FIAF, the International Federation of Film Archives, “brings together institutions dedicated to rescuing films both as cultural heritage and as historical documents”. You can find details of the 120 or so institutions from sixty-five countries which belong to FIAF on its multilingual site, as well as standards documentation, news, projects and information on FIAF’s various specialised commissions.

The site also has details of FIAF publications, which include its Journal of Film Preservation. The journal covers theoretical and technical aspects of moving image archival activities, with plenty of information on silent film, which has always been a favoured area of the national film archives. It’s a very good publication, which is not much known about outside the film archiving profession. The journal is published twice a year, and one year after publication is made freely available on the FIAF site.

So there are currently twenty issues of the journal, from 1995 onwards, which can be downloaded from the site in PDF format. Here’s a guide to some of the articles worth looking out for:

  • No. 52 (Apr 1996) – Brian Taves on the work on undersea cinematography pioneer James Ernest Williamson, who made Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1916
  • No. 53 (Nov 1996) – Luke McKernan (yours truly) on programming a season of Victorian cinema (i.e. film to 1901) at the National Film Theatre
  • No. 54 (Apr 1997) – Richard Brown on the copyright records for early British films found in the then Public Record Office (now The National Archives)
  • No. 60/61 (Jul 2000) – Alfonso del Amo on the history of celluloid
  • No. 62 (Apr 2001) – Brian Taves on Michael (Jules) Verne, who both wrote novels in his famous father’s name, and then proceeded to film them
  • No. 64 (Apr 2002) – Sarah Ziebell Mann on the creation of the Treasures from the Film Archives database of early silent short fiction films around the world
  • No. 65 (Dec 2002) – Yoshiro Irie on the question of film speeds of Japanese silent films
  • No. 69 (May 2005) – Thomas C. Christensen on efforts to recover and restore the films of Asta Nielsen
  • No. 70 (Nov 2005) – Tiago Baptista on restoring the early surgical films of Eugène-Louis Doyen
  • No. 72 (Nov 2006) – Steven Higgins on avant garde cinema of the 1920s and 1930s

And much, much more. A fair bit of it is rather more technical than the general reader requires, but most articles combine the practical with the historical in engrossing fashion, and the illustrations are excellent (and rare). The Bioscope will be following up some of the themes above in future posts.

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