TIFF’s latest campaign urges film-lovers to support film archiving
TIFF – the Toronto International Film Festival group – is best known for their September festival, which screens over 200 films from across the globe each year. However, TIFF does not just appear for two weeks every year and then fade into obscurity – they are committed to the world of film all year-round, hosting an incredible variety of screenings, events, talks, and smaller festivals in Toronto and all across Canada.
Last month, TIFF launched Save This Moment, a campaign to raise funds for the preservation of the 1300 35mm film prints TIFF recently acquired (what a dream!). The prints were generously donated by NBC Universal, Mongrel Media, and eOne Entertainment, and includes titles such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, and the Coen Brothers’ comedy classic The Big Lebowski.
Save This Moment is centered around educating people about the physical medium of film. Regardless of where one stands on the film vs digital debate, it is important for the sake of film history that original film prints are preserved and properly stored and maintained. TIFF’s website notes that “…film is an extremely delicate medium that must be thoughtfully and lovingly cared for”.
Film archiving and preservation are rarely talked about, but TIFF is shining a spotlight on the careful labor that goes into handling, reviewing, and storing celluloid film. Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta, whose film Water has been acquired as part of the collection, says of the campaign:
“The thrill of being able to see a film projected the way the filmmaker intended it to be is nothing short of a miracle in this day and age of digital speak. To preserve this artistic form the way TIFF does is a categorical imperative. When you help us preserve films, you help us preserve the integrity of the filmmaker”
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City created a similar project with their To Save and Project film festival, which just celebrated its 14th edition last month. This festival, like TIFF, is designed to educate filmgoers about the importance of film history and archiving. Many films are screened for the first time since their initial release, bringing attention to the fact that many films require reassembling, especially those deep in cinema’s past. Much like MoMA, TIFF is committed to the past, present, and future of cinema.
This campaign will depend on generous donations – the options range from $15 to $1750 – and in return, TIFF will be able to continue preserving film history. The campaign’s marketing appeals to a sense of nostalgia, as it is focused on movie moments: the memorable sounds, images, colors, and songs that stick with us after we leave the theater, and bring us back to the same movies again and again. The campaign runs until December 31st, and more information can be found at www.tiff.net/savethismoment.