Can you imagine that future generations might not be able to access Europe’s film heritage? It is an awful thought, but a real possibility. A report published today by the European Commission shows that 80% of silent films have been lost already and more recent films are at risk. Film heritage institutions need to keep up, take up and advance new technologies to preserve Europe’s films.
I say that films should remain available to everyone forever. We must use digital technologies to rescue our fragile film heritage.
In the digital age, a new access model is needed so that future film makers and audiences can continue to enjoy European film culture.Digital technologies completely change the means to collect, restore and preserve Europe’s film heritage in the long term. There is also a lack of efficient legal mechanisms for permitting cultural and educational use of the films. Spain and Denmark are examples of good practices in protecting films for the digital era. The Danish Film Institute has the right to screen subsidised films in its own cinemas and put on-line subsidised documentaries and shorts. Spain can organise cultural screenings of subsidised films two years after the first release. We are calling for film heritage institutions to continue their efforts to increase the amount of film and related film material available through Europeana, the EU’s public digital library (see MEMO/10/166).