In a recent interview with Chris Shields in the Film Comment Letter, Academy Film Archive preservationist Mark Toscano said that, “to me, restoration has a variable definition, because it’s not embodying any specific technique or approach. It is more of a conceptual process by which you’re making sure that the film retains its qualities as a work that was made by a person—especially experimental work made by an individual.”
For this week’s podcast, FC Editors Clinton Krute and Devika Girish wanted to dig a little deeper into Mark’s comments, and into the technically and philosophically challenging ins-and-outs of film preservation and restoration. They invited two experts to guide them through the subject: Ina Archer, Media Conservator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture, and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder and director of the Film Heritage Foundation. Both also provide details on some exciting projects: Ina talks about preserving the independent blaxploitation flick Black Chariot and Jessi Maple’s 1981 drama Will, while Shivendra breaks down the restorations of two major works by Indian filmmaker Govindan Aravindan, Kummatty and Thamp̄.