A week-long workshop kicked off at Kolkata International Film Festival on Thursday bringing together 58 students from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar to attend and experts from abroad.
"India's cinematic heritage has been considerably enriched with Bengali cinema. How can you forget icons like Hiralal Sen, P. C. Barua, Bimal Roy and so on? Sadly very little of this rich heritage survives, we felt workshop is the ideal way to start a movement to save what remain of these films," Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder of Film Heritage Foundation said at the inauguration of 4th Film Preservation and Restoration Workshop India.
The mixed bag of students will learn preservation and restoration techniques for celluloid film and photographic material like posters, lobby cards, song booklets and photographs.
Global experts like David Walsh and Camelle Blot Wellens from International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), Kieron Webb from British Film Institute, Marianna de Sanctis from L'Immagine Ritrovata, Dawn Jaros of Academy of Motion Picture, Dana Hemmenway from Centre of Creative Photography will be a part of the esteemed faculty.
Goutam Ghosh, an acclaimed Indian filmmaker, said the 'Western people care for preservation', it is in their culture.
"Here everything is Maya, it is great philosophy but one needs to be practical. I believe one needs certain kind of madness to preserve one's heritage," Ghosh said.
Ghosh went on to mention about Bengal government's proposed academy that will teach film preservation and restoration, requesting Dungarpur to be the chief advisor.
"Public-private entrepreneurship is very important because the government will support us but we need experts to create the niche," Ghosh added.
The program will also have practical sessions for scanning archival films with the latest world-class scanner. The foundation has already restored around 300 films in India. At least 100 Bengali classics like aKabuliwala' by Tapan Sinha, aDevdas' by 'P. C. Barua have been identified for restoration.
A restored version of Satyajit Ray's 'Apu Triology' along with 12 other films is being screened at the festival.
Asked about the number of Bengali films restored, Dungarpur said it 'is just the beginning' and mentioned that the cost depends on the condition of the available material.
"Original camera negative is very important for restoration. If it the film is shot in digital format then the restoration people look for separation colour master," he added.
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