SAVING THE LIGHT
The films in "First Light" are like all films--unstable. Prints fade, are scratched, suffer minor and major damage because of torn sprocket holes, warping, and shrinkage. The printing materials which are used to make exhibition prints are subject to the same problems. This series is a small testament to the work performed by Anthology Film Archives and the laboratories which restore films and make it possible for motion pictures to live beyond the brief life they would have were it not for active film preservation.
In "First Light," all of the films by Mary Ellen Bute, Jim Davis, Ed Emshwiller, Dwinell Grant, Marie Menken, Paul Sharits, and Harry Smith are films that have been restored by Anthology. The laboratory partners that Anthology has been working with on these films are John E. Allen Inc. (Cinema Arts), Cineric Inc., and WRS Motion Picture Film and Video Laboratory.
Through its film storage program, Anthology has contributed to the survival of other titles in this series, as well as hundreds of other films. And thousands more have come into Anthology's care. The struggle to save our heritage of motion pictures, and in Anthology's case, the films made by individual, non-commercial film-makers is a rarely visible but immensely important task to preserve an understanding of the 20th century and how it was perceived by generations of avant-garde film-makers. Anthology is indebted to these labs, and to the funders who have supported film preservation, including the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Sony Entertainment, Turner Entertainment, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts, NBC, The Walt Disney Company, American Movie Classics, Eastman Kodak and the Pinewood Foundation. We are also grateful to Martin Scorsese, Sam Calvano, Tim Forbes, Georges Lucas, Yoko Ono, A. D. Coleman, Celeste Bartos, Louise Bourgeois, Julian Schnabel, Robert Gardner, Agnes b., Robert Wise, Steven Spielberg, Stan Brakhage, Jim and Liddy Guiher, and Mary Lea Bandy.
Also the Jack Rutberg Gallery, Roger Mayer, Balazs Nyari, Jack and Louise Napor, Marvin Soloway, Maryel F. Locke.
Anthology staff who helped put this publication together are: Jörg Fockele, Angela Christlieb, Belinda Lanks, Liliana Greenfield-Sanders, Kristin Jones, Samantha Safran, Tanya Small, Hui-Chun Wu, Wendy Dorsett, Jean Ma, and Jack Angstreich.
This project is based on some long ago conversations with my colleague at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Douglas Edwards (1948-93).
Robert A. Haller