Analog at a Distance. Film archives and the pandemic
The spread of coronavirus has kept us on the edge of our seats since the beginning of last year. All areas of life were, and to a large extent still are, severely affected by the measures taken to contain the pandemic, including culture. In the discussions about the consequences of these developments, one area has received little public attention: Film archives. What impact do contact restrictions and closed cinemas have on the still largely analog work of archives? Already in the last 15 years, a precarious situation has arisen for the presentation of film heritage because of the digitization of cinemas, which today can only show analog copies in isolated cases. This is further reinforced when films are moved out of cinemas and uploaded to streaming platforms instead. However, access to analog film prints is not the only problem, but also the research of analog materials, which are essential for the preparation of congresses, archival film festivals, seminars and research work. What is the reaction of archivists, organizers, and researchers to this situation? Does the balancing act between deadlines and avoiding blind spots succeed? How far have the experiences of the restrictions provided a boost to digitization or rather shown the deficits even more clearly? We talk to organizers, archive staff and researchers about their experiences in recent months and discuss how film archives reacted to the new challenges and what consequences will be drawn for future work.
- Michal Bregant, Národní filmový archiv, Prag
- Eva Näripea, National Archives Estonia
- Jay Weissberg, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone
- NN, Bundesarchiv