L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation
In 1996, George Eastman House established the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. The school is the first in North America to teach the restoration, preservation, and archiving of motion pictures. The certificate program offered by the school provides students with a comprehensive education covering the theory, methods, and practice of archival work and film preservation. Students work closely with George Eastman House staff, receiving practical, hands-on training in the maintenance, care, and storage of motion pictures.
Throughout one academic year, students take part in the staff's daily activities and in the meticulous research and discovery of new treasures. They receive training in all archival practices, including but not limited to: curatorial duties; access procedures and the investigation of
copyright laws; inspecting, repairing, measuring, and shipping nitrate prints; and organizing and managing climatized vaults. Students discover that cataloguing a film means more than browsing through reference books. They study film-related artifacts as diverse as scripts, magic lantern slides, posters, stills, and orchestral scores from silent films. They learn to evaluate the quality of laboratory work, to explore the possibilities and the limits of electronic and digital technologies, and to confront the paradoxes and hardships of video preservation.
Students have the opportunity to organize a preservation project and learn how to construct a budget and the persuasive narrative essential to a successful grant application. They are taught to calculate the costs of film processing, to tell the differences among a wide array of soundtrack systems, and to recognize the distinctive hues of an original Technicolor print. They are invited to organize a film programming schedule or a 3-D screening, thus bringing their training into the view of the general public. In short, students are asked to cope with the routine, display the endurance, and learn the painstaking precision without which masterworks such as Intolerance (1916), Abel Gance's Napoléon (1927), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) would never have been brought back to their original glory.
For information about the Selznick School of Film Preservation, please see its website or e-mail Jeffrey L. Stoiber at firstname.lastname@example.org.