By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire May 15, 2009 at 2:55AM
Making a powerful statement in support of international cinema, Martin Scorsese stepped into the spotlight at the Cannes Film Festival this afternoon to launch an array of partnerships and news aimed and preserving and promoting films from around the world.
Kent Jones is joining Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation as its new executive director as the organization announced alliances with Criterion, The Auteurs, and B-Side to support international cinema.
The Cannes Film Festival, center of international cinema for two weeks each year, aimed considerble awareness at the Foundation today in France, giving Scorsese, WCF's Kent Jones, Peter Becker from Criterion, Efe Cakarel from The Auteurs, and Chris Hyams from B-Side an opportunity to stump for saving aging international films and promoting movies for discriminating audiences.
"We can make a difference," Scorsese said this afternoon, "If we can make these films available."
"Restorations and preservation are meaningful only if people can see the work," Scorsese added, saying, "Preservation is always an uphill battle. In America, the distribution venues are changing, the models of exhibition are changing."
The Foundation, which has four films in this year's Cannes Classics section at the Festival de Cannes, will use its alliances to take films from the fest in France to other festivals and museums, followed by a roll out to universities, film clubs, online at The Auteurs, via iTunes and Netflix, through to Criterion DVDs.
"These are considered to be the best films to have ever been made," praised Cakarel from The Auteurs, adding that the films need to be made available worldwide, for free, so that they can be discovered by international audiences. His site has launched four preserved WCF titles online today.
The Auteurs, a virtual Internet-based cinematheque, will present a World Cinema Foundation portal on their emerging international platform online, incorporating discussion forums, video interviews and editorial content built around the films themselves. B-Side will re-launch and re-develop the WCF website. Criterion will create special DVDs of WCF titles.
"Film culture is richer now than fifteen years ago," proclaimed Becker from Criterion, saying that these alliances can arm engaged audiences while also reaching out to new moviegoers.
Endeavor Independent, which brokered the deals between the World Cinema Foundation with Criterion, The Auteurs, and B-Side, is on board as a consutant to the organization.
For the full press release, check out the next page.
WORLD CINEMA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIPS WITH B-SIDE & THE AUTEURS AND NAMES KENT JONES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
CANNES, FRANCE (May 15, 2009) - World Cinema Foundation (WCF) Founder and Chairman Martin Scorsese announced today that the organization, which is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of neglected films from around the world, has formed separate partnerships with B-Side Entertainment and virtual cinematheque The Auteurs to market, promote and exhibit a slate of restored WCF titles. Scorsese also announced the appointment of former New York Film Society Associate Director of Programming Kent Jones as the WCF's new executive director.
"The World Cinema Foundation was created out of need," says Scorsese. "There are so many pictures in need of restoration and preservation, which, for many reasons, are not getting the attention they deserve. And restoring and preserving is only half the battle, because in order to be appreciated, they have to be seen. Now, they should be seen as they were intended to be seen, but audience awareness can build in surprising ways. Our new relationships with B-Side and The Auteurs are intended to build awareness on many different levels. These relationships will be crucial in drawing attention to the films and the people who made them, which are at the center of the Foundation's work. I'm very excited that Kent Jones, who I've known and worked with for years, has come aboard to lead the organization into the future."
The films that the WCF restores every year will now have their festival premiere in Cannes and then begin their tour to the public via a network of other festivals and museum exhibitions. During the museum tour of the restored 35mm prints, the films will also now be made available digitally for the first time through The Auteurs. Shortly after, the films will roll out through the partnership with B-Side to universities and film clubs, and also will reach film lovers at home through B-Side's relationships with platforms such as Netflix and iTunes. Ultimately, the films will be made available on DVD in collectors' box sets through a partnership with the Criterion Collection, who will also select a few titles each year to distribute as individual special-edition releases.
The Auteurs' partnership with the WCF makes four of the film titles immediately available on a global level through a newly dedicated WCF portal on their site. Members of The Auteurs can share ratings and reviews of these and other WCF films with their friends both on the site and other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The Auteurs will also host forums for discussion around the films and filmmakers, video interviews with filmmakers and experts, as well as articles about the films and the restoration process.
In addition to exhibition of the films, B-Side's partnership with WCF and The Auteurs will focus on re-developing and re-launching the WCF website, making it a full-service destination for information about the WCF titles [del.], a central source of information on where and how the films can be seen, and a destination for social networking among fans of the WCF films.
Titles presented by the WCF at this year's Cannes Classics Series include Shadi Abdel Salam's AL MOMIA (The Mummy - The Night of Counting the Years - Egypt, 1969), Edward Yang's A BRIGHTER SUMMMER DAY (Gu ling jie shao nian sha ren shi jian - Taiwan, 1991), and Fred Zinnemann and Emilio Gomez Muriel's REDES (THE WAVE, Mexico, 1936). Previous titles include Metin Erksan's SUSUZ YAZ (Dry Summer - Turkey, 1964), Djibril Diop Mambety TOUKI BOUKI (Senegal, 1973), Kim Ki-Young's HANYO (The Housemaid - South Korea, 1960), and Ahmed El Maanouni's TRANCES / EL HAL (Transes - Morocco, 1981).
"The Auteurs is an online movie theatre where you watch, discover and discuss great films. It's a community of the most interested and interesting film fans in the world and so a perfect partner for the WCF," said Founder and CEO Efe Cakarel. "We are proud to host these films restored by the World Cinema Foundation." Partners Eduardo Costantini and Hengameh Panahi added, "We're very enthusiastic to see The Auteurs becoming the online destination for the WCF films."
"B-Side is dedicated to using digital technology to connect audiences and films," says B-Side's Founder and CEO Chris Hyams. "By working with the WCF, B-Side puts its expertise in technology, digital marketing and zero-cost exhibition to work promoting a group of beautifully-restored films that deserve to be seen, in a more accessible way than they've ever been available before."
Kent Jones joins the foundation with the mission to take WCF titles to new platforms. "I'm proud to be joining Marty on the World Cinema Foundation, and excited. There are so many titles around the world in need of restoration and preservation, some of them known to film lovers, many of them little known if at all. They were made in countries which currently lack the resources or the ability to give them the attention they deserve. Our job is to facilitate, to work with filmmakers, to get these titles, selected by the filmmakers on our advisory board, properly restored and then to help get them seen and appreciated. I'm excited to be working with Gian Luca Farinelli and his team at the Bologna Fillm Archive, with Efe at The Auteurs and Chris at B-Side, and most of all with the filmmakers themselves," says Jones.
Jones served as Associate Director of Programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center from 1998 to 2009, and for seven years he served on the selection committee of the New York Film Festival. He has written on film extensively for publications all over the world, including The New York Times, Cahiers du Cinema, and Film Comment, where he is Editor-at-Large. In 2007 a collection of his work, PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, was published by Wesleyan University Press. He has served on many film festival juries, including at Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam, Thessaloniki, and Buenos Aires, among others. He is also the co-writer of MY VOYAGE TO ITALY, Martin Scorsese's epic documentary on Italian cinema, and the writer and director of the acclaimed documentary VAL LEWTON: THE MAN IN THE SHADOWS. He and Scorsese are also the co-writers and directors of A LETTER TO ELIA, a documentary on Elia Kazan which is currently in post-production.
All of the distribution deals were structured and negotiated by Endeavor Independent.
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