Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

December 1, 1995

New Sites Announced for National Film Registry Tour

Additional sites and dates for the National Film Registry Tour were announced today by the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington. The purpose of the tour is to celebrate American filmmaking, and to alert Americans to the need to preserve this priceless heritage. The tour will bring a selection of National Film Registry titles to audiences around the country and will help to increase the public's awareness of the importance of film preservation.

In announcing the new venues, Dr. Billington said, "Film is a powerful force in American culture and national life. Motion pictures, whether feature films, newsreels or avant-garde works, are both an art form and a record of our times. Our challenge is to protect and preserve those films in versions as close to their originals as possible. The tour presents a marvelous opportunity for many Americans to enjoy classic films on the large screens for which they were made."

The next stop for the tour is the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, January 11 - 14, 1996. The Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City is the venue March 29 - 31, and the films will be screened at the Detroit Institute of Arts April 19 - 21. Other cities will be announced as plans are finalized. The tour has already played to enthusiastic audiences in Madison, Wisconsin; Omaha, Nebraska; and Lexington, Kentucky. The goal is to bring the tour to at least one city in each of the 50 states.

The National Film Registry was created in 1988. The Registry recognizes the richness of American filmmaking, and each year 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant films are added to it.

The films on tour are selected from the Registry to showcase the diversity of American film production and include a broad range of film types, dates, and filmmakers. The tour includes 27 feature films and 10 shorts. Audiences will see "The Great Train Robbery," "The River," and "Meshes of the Afternoon" as well as "Duck Soup," "On the Waterfront" and "Gigi."

The perilous state of America's film heritage was documented by the Library and the National Film Preservation Board in "Film Preservation 1993: A Study of the Current State of American Film Preservation." Film is a fragile medium and motion pictures, both old and new, face inevitable destruction. Of America's feature films of the 1920s, for example, fewer than twenty per cent still exist. Only by storing films in low-temperature and low-humidity environments can their decay process be slowed. The majority of American films do not receive this type of care and are in critical need of preservation.

Initial funding for the tour has been provided by the James Madison Council, the Library's private sector advisory board, and the Film Foundation, a group of leading film directors committed to film preservation. Motion picture studios have generously provided new prints of their titles. The preservation work of many organizations will be represented, including the Library, the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film and Video and the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.

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PR 95-164
ISSN 0731-3527

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