Magazine article Screen International

Jerusalem Cinematheque to Restore 30,000 Israeli Films

Magazine article Screen International

Jerusalem Cinematheque to Restore 30,000 Israeli Films

Article excerpt

The organisation is upping its archive efforts after purchasing digitisation technology.

For the past three years, Jerusalem Film Festival (JFF) has hosted screenings of digitally-restored Israeli classics commissioned by the Cinematheque’s Israel Film Archive. This year’s selection is drama Siege (Matzor), Gilberto Tofano’s 1969 feature about a woman who tries to put her pain behind her after losing her husband in the 1967 Six-Day War, which screens at JFF on Wednesday (July 19).

The archive is “a national treasure,” says festival and Cinematheque executive director Noa Regev. “It’s the core element of all of the Cinematheque’s activities,” she adds. “When I entered this position, it was clear to me that the most important project was to establish the digitisation and preservation efforts.”

Restoring Siege [pictured] was originally proposed three years ago, reveals Meir Russo, the festival’s archive manager. The project was postponed due to budgetary pressures - it costs at least [Euro]22,000 to restore each feature - but the team kept Siege in the backs of their minds because, notes Russo, “it’s a unique film”. Regev agrees: “Siege should receive much more attention in Israeli culture. It was one of the first films to deal with war and mourning from a female perspective.”

The restoration process didn’t begin until late February 2017, when the master negative was sent to Cinelab Romania in Bucharest to be scanned into digital 4k. It then came back to Israel for restoration at post-production house Opus Productions’ digital lab. The project was supported by United King Films, which owns the rights to the film, and the Rabinovich Foundation. …

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