The Film Foundation 30

The first Cinema Ritrovato was held 34 years ago. Four years later, we started The Film Foundation. Over the past three decades, we’ve restored over 850 films from every era, genre, and region of the globe. It is vital to our mission to share these restorations with audiences on the big screen, where they were meant to be seen. I can’t tell you how fortunate we feel to have such a close partnership with this festival.

Martin Scorsese

My own personal journey with Martin Scorsese began in 1991, less than a year after he had formed The Film Foundation with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick and several other preeminent filmmakers. I had studied film and worked as an archivist at the Library of Congress, so I had a keen interest in the foundation’s mission. In those early years, with help from Robert Rosen and Raffaele Donato, we dedicated ourselves to the urgent need to raise awareness and funds for the U.S. archives. Between writing and directing his extraordinary features and documentaries, Marty made time daily for The Film Foundation, whether doing press interviews, reviewing restorations in progress, meeting with funders; his commitment was and is total. His instinct for forgotten and neglected films is uncanny. He often asks to research a title and invariably there is a problem: a missing reel, an underlying rights issue, some hurdle to be cleared. In the pre-text era I would arrive to find my desk covered with post-it note reminders raising the alarm on films that needed restoration: “Ugetsu”, “The River” and… “Fair Wind to Java”!
A breakthrough came when we formed the foundation’s first major partnership with American Movie Classics and created an annual on-air Festival of Film Preservation, an event that continued for nearly 10 years. Other key partnerships followed: with TCM, Criterion, the HFPA, and in 2002, the foundation formed an alliance with the Director’s Guild of America.
I was joined by Jennifer Ahn as a part of this alliance, her skill and talent solidified the foundation’s programs, including the successful launch of our educational curriculum, The Story of Movies. Working together, we redoubled the foundation’s impact and like Fred and Ginger, immediately discovered that our energy, instincts and skills complemented each other perfectly. With the creation of the World Cinema Project in 2007 and the African Film Heritage Project in 2018, the foundation’s reach continues to expand, while staying true to its core mission.
Looking back, I see an ongoing narrative of my journey with Marty, Jennifer and The Film Foundation: one of vision, of tenacity, and teamwork. These attributes will serve us well as we continue to help preserve films to be discovered by new audiences, in the communal spirit beautifully exemplified by Il Cinema Ritrovato. Working with Kristen Merola, Rebecca Wingle, Julia Wayne, Kent Jones, Cecilia Cenciarelli, our funding partners, so many festivals and archives around the world, and our extraordinarily dedicated board of directors, The Film Foundation looks forward to continuing to realize Marty’s mission, laid out so brilliantly 30 years ago.

Margaret Bodde

Our tribute to The Film Foundation runs across several strands of the festival:

Venezia Classici

(The Rickshaw Man, Giappone/1943) R.: Hiroshi Inagaki


(La stella nascosta / The Cloud-Capped Star, India/1960)
R.: Ritwik Ghatak

(Chess of the Wind, Iran/1976) R.: Mohammad Reza Aslani

(The Pickpocket, Cina/1997) R.: Jia Zhang-ke

Ritrovati e Restaurati

(Non sono un angelo, USA/1933) R.: Wesley Ruggles

(La quercia dei giganti, USA/1948) R.: George Marshall

(Italia/1961) R.: Pier Paolo Pasolini

(Gli spostati, USA/1961) R.: John Huston

(100 Horsemen, Italia-Spagna-Germania/1964) R.: Vittorio Cottafavi