Celluloid film prints will now soon be coming back to a theater near you.
The Film Exhibition Fund, a new grants-giving 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the continued screening of celluloid film prints, has officially announced the first two recipients of grants. IndieWire can exclusively share that New York’s Anthology Film Archives and Microscope Gallery are the inaugural grantees.
The Anthology Film Archives are using the $2,500 grant for upcoming screenings of Andy Warhol’s “Sleep” (1963), “Empire” (1964), and “Chelsea Girls” (1966). The first two films run over five and eight hours long, respectively, while “Chelsea Girls” involves over three hours of dual-screen projection. The series is set to screen in August.
“Preserving the experience of theatrical projection — and especially the projection of 35mm, 16mm, and 8mm film prints — is at the core of Anthology’s mission,” Anthology Film Archives Film Programmer Jed Rapfogel said. “We’re motivated by the conviction that something crucial is lost when films are projected digitally, but of course in this day and age a commitment to film projection is easier said than done thanks to the dearth of functioning film labs, the categorization of so many prints as archival, and the sheer cost of film rentals and shipping. In that context, the creation of The Film Exhibition Fund — and the (financial but also moral) support they provide — is truly a godsend! It’s a much-needed positive development for those venues that are determined to keep film projection alive.”
The Microscope Gallery will be using its $2,300 grant to support their on-going performance series “Imageless,” which features celluloid work by Bradley Eros, Takahiko Iimura, Andrew Lampert, Maurice Lemaître, Mary Lucier, Anthony McCall, Jonas Mekas, and others. The series is presented in collaboration with Anthology Film Archives and runs through July.
“The support received by The Film Exhibition Fund has been essential to the realization of our film performance series, especially for the rental of films from film distribution centers in New York and abroad as well as for special film projectors,” Microscope Gallery Co-founder and Co-Director Elle Burchill said. “Often the presentation of works in their original celluloid film format is discouraged by the perceived costs and other difficulties associated with it. The Film Exhibition Fund makes a real difference, allowing audiences to experience moving image works in the way the artists had originally conceived them, which is in turn crucial to their reception and understanding.”
The Film Exhibition Fund was founded by film programmer Max Carpenter, who currently presides over a board consisting of archivist Laura Major, film non-profit executive Jake Perlin, and curator David Schwartz.
“I can’t begin to express my happiness at seeing the Film Exhibition Fund already making some small but significant differences in the exhibition landscape,” Carpenter said. “Paying fees or a salary to a projectionist, paying for the shipping of film prints (often international), paying archival rental fees: These are expenses that are more or less invisible to the average theater patron, and these expenses are not easily recouped by ticket sales. Every opportunity to award grants through the Film Exhibition Fund is also an opportunity to further educate the public on the many costs inherent in keeping celluloid exhibition alive and well, and I couldn’t be more excited about doing so.”
The Film Exhibition Fund currently soliciting donations and fundraising to provide for its next wave of grants, with the hope to expand the applications from NY-based institutions to venues across the country. Donations can be made at filmexhibition.org/donate.