Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters

Article excerpt

Errors in Quotes

For 20 years I've read your magazine, always looking to learn new ways in our craft. I was alarmed by your article "Photographing The Killing Fields" (April, 1985). I am quoted with opinions and ideas that are not mine and things I did not say. For instance, our 5247 and 5293 performed magicnothing "deteriorated" (Kodak, please note).

I never made "... a film centering on a Harlem based family of Puerto Rican junkies. . ." I did shoot a documentary called East 103rd Street. It was about a very lovable family. Tony died last year from a car accident. Words can't convey how much she meant to me.

I wish I could have gone to Hollywood to participate in the Oscar ceremony. All of us are proud to have had a part in making The Killing Fields.

I have great respect for Miroslav Ondricek, whom I was lucky enough to assist on If, and respect for all the nominees past and present who have taught me so much by example.

I'll make up for it.

-Chris Menges, BSC

Cartagena, Colombia

Film Preservation

On May 22, it was my privilege to attend a press conference at the American Film Institute announcing the formation of the National Center for Film and Video Preservation. This center represents the first national coalition of archivists and industry leaders from film and video dedicated to the preservation of the moving image.

I was reminded by several of the people on the board of directors for this new venture that the moving image is to our century what newspapers were to past centuries. It is not only a form of entertainment, but a reflection of our society: our beliefs, our dreams, our memories, our failures and our understanding. The sad fact is that over 50% of the films made before 1950 are irretrievably lost. Most of early television from the 1940s and 50s is lost simply because it was not recorded on any medium. In the late 50s and early 60s video tape came into use but equipment to view those early tapes has almost disappeared. The grim reality is that our film heritage is slipping away.

On this day at their first meeting the new board passed several important resolutions: 1. To establish a computerized data bank of our national film and video resources, 2. To establish committees to determine just what should be saved and/or restored, and 3. A voluntary, limited moratorium on the destruction of all taped or filmed materials. The moratorium would last two years until proper guidelines for restoration and preservation have been established and storage problems have been resolved. …

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