ISLAMABAD: Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Thursday called upon individual collectors and organisations to join its campaign to set up a film archive.

The council, in its effort towards saving worthy films from the past is creating an archive and needs support towards making films available for posterity.

“This needs long-term planning and cooperation from the entire film fraternity, individual collectors, film producers, distributors, exhibitors and those who have contributed in any capacity,” PNCA Director General Dr Fouzia Saeed told Dawn.

The films acquired from respective quarters will only be used for occasional free screenings for education, training and reference purposes and will not be used for commercially, she said, adding it may not be possible for PNCA, at this time, to preserve and maintain 35mm prints, however it can store productions in digital format; quality films on VHS, BETA, DVD, DCP will be the best options for conversion.

Film posters, press books and photographs mostly exhibited in cinemas during theatrical release along with scripts and printed lyrics are equally important for the archive, Ms Saeed said.

The council and Pakistan Film Producers Association are working together to sign a memorandum of understanding for promotion of film in Pakistan and in this regard PNCA has already taken measures; a year long online certificate film production course is being offered at the council now wherein film experts from USA, Germany and Pakistan are teaching local students.

Pakistan was the custodian of a 10,000-year-old legacy of art and culture and possessed tangible and intangible cultural treasures in abundance, in order to preserve for the generations to come, she said, adding: “Our challenge now is to appreciate its fullness and diversity and to protect our rich heritage for the study and enjoyment of future generations,” Ms Saeed added.

PNCA has already started making arrangements to acquire feature films for the archive. More than 6,000 feature films have been produced in the country since 1948; films made using nitrate, in the late 1940s and early 1950s have unfortunately been lost forever.

This was a loss to Pakistan’s film culture and rich heritage, Ms Saeed said.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2020

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