Edna Purviance's bio

Currently working on Edna Purviance's family biography. Draft is done. Photo: Leading Ladies © used by ednapurviance.org

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Funding Crisis at BFI

Just outside of London, in the town Berkhamsted, is the National Film & Television Archives. It houses BFI's huge library of film and rare archives that can't be found anywhere else.

BFI has had funding problems for years, but now is in a funding crisis.

"The current annual budget for the BFI archive is £3.5 million. (The British Library’s is more than £100m.) The BFI is now seeking an annual budget of £6m, with an additional one-off grant from government of £34m to bring the storage conditions up to scratch and begin digitisation.

Digitisation is not, however, a holy grail – there’s no guarantee that the format will prove any more durable than celluloid – nor is it cheap. An average feature costs around £8,000 to transfer; a Technicolor film requiring restoration work might c
ome in at 20 times that.

‘If you were just digitising things to look at them on YouTube, you could find a way to do it cheaply,’ says Kalas. ‘But if you want to make sure that in 100 years people can see “The Red Shoes” on the big screen, it’s important to do it right." - TimeOut

When we last visited London, I requested to see the Edna Purviance Collection. These were personal items that once beyond to Edna, and somehow were lost overtime. Except for some photos that were pulled out and placed in the BFI Chaplin files, the remaining items of Edna's were housed at Berkhamstead. More about the British Film Institute problems >

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