Japan Foundation 16mm prints

Stefan Nutz nuzumaki
Wed Sep 3 03:21:30 EDT 2008

I'd like to add, that  it is pretty expensive to transfer from a film-print 
to any digital media.
The only cheap way to "archive" the prints is to project them and capture 
the images with
a HD-camcorder and the audio with an external microphone.

best regards,


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark D. Roberts" <mroberts37 at mail-central.com>
To: <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2008 3:48 AM
Subject: Re: Japan Foundation 16mm prints

> Beat,
> The best course of action is to speak to the Japan Foundation  directly, 
> but I would think that there are definitely rights issues.
> For example, the two times that I made requests to screen films at  their 
> archive in Tokyo, they would not even show me the catalogue of  their 
> films. I had to have my research need vetted by somebody in  their 
> organization assigned to my home country (e.g., as an American  doing 
> research in France, it was considered a breach of etiquette for  me to 
> inquire through a European office), then speak to a  spokesperson, then be 
> referred to an archivist, and then ask: "Do you  have title X by director 
> Y from year Z?" and then they would answer  yes/no. Apparently, the terms 
> of their relationship with the  production companies forbids a public 
> catalogue of their holdings. All  inquires must be vetted.
> Moreover, my impression was that they had no real budget or staffing  for 
> any of this. While everybody at the Tokyo office was helpful, it  did not 
> seem to be part of their charter to do much beyond the public  screenings 
> as they exist now. I'd be surprised if they had resources  to transfer 
> their holdings to DVD. As for inaction on the part of the  Japanese 
> government, that would not surprise me at all. I wouldn't say  "renounce" 
> because that ascribes intention where there is seemingly  none. I gather 
> the rationale for this arrangement is that the  production companies see 
> the films as their intellectual property, and  that at some future date 
> they may release them on DVD themselves  (though most likely without any 
> subtitles). They have thus legally  tied the hands of the Japan 
> Foundation.
> Others more knowledgeable than I may jump in to correct this, and you 
> should of course talk to the Japan Foundation, but there is evidently 
> some conflict of interest between the production companies' policies  and 
> aims of those interested in promoting film heritage. I would  think, 
> though, that given the cost of shipping 16 and 35mm prints  around, it 
> might be possible to make a business case for DVDs, which  are much 
> cheaper to send overseas. Of course, the production companies  might 
> resist out of fear that "some foreigners" could pirate and  torrent the 
> DVDs, etc., but the prints are all pretty old.
> M
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