So as we swing into 2010, the Siren is doing something she never has before. She's asking you for money.
Not for herself, but for what brings people to this site and many, many great film blogs around the Web.
The Siren unpins her Lilly Daché hat and passes it around in hopes that you will donate to film preservation.
Together with the fabulous Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy on Films, from Feb. 14 to 21, 2010, the Siren will host For the Love of Film, a fundraising blogathon, with proceeds to go to the National Film Preservation Foundation. Here is the NFPF's mission statement:
The National Film Preservation Foundation is the independent, nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. Growing from a national planning effort led by the Library of Congress, the NFPF began operations in 1997. We work directly with archives to rescue endangered films that will not survive without public support.
The NFPF raises money, awards grants, and organizes cooperative projects that enable archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, and universities to work together to save American films. Since opening our doors, we have helped preserve more than 1,560 films and assisted organizations in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In 2009, we partnered with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia to preserve and make available on the Internet several American silent films that no longer survived in the United States; another such project will be announced later in 2010.
And here, also from the NFPF, is what is at stake.
A two-year study prepared by the Library's National Film Preservation Board documented that American films are disintegrating faster than archives can save them. The types of motion pictures most at-risk are documentaries, silent-era films, avant-garde works, ethnic films, newsreels, home movies, and independent works. These are not Hollywood sound features belonging to the film studios, but 'orphans' that fall outside the scope of commercial preservation programs and exist as one-of-a-kind copies in archives, libraries, museums, and historical societies.
Marilyn adds some sad stats:
According to estimates, at least 50 percent of all films made for public exhibition before 1951 have been lost. Move into the silent era, and the estimate shoots up to 85-90 percent. The nitrate film on which nondigital movies are recorded is flammable and highly susceptible to deterioration. All or parts of thousands of films have burned up, broken down, or ended up in a dumpster.
We hope that as many bloggers as possible will contribute a preservation-related post during the week of the blogathon, and we also hope all our readers will find it in their hearts and wallets to kick in some dough for a cause that is surely very dear to us all.
This blogathon-with-a-goal is a long-held dream of the Siren's, but it is Marilyn who has been working like a demon to pull the logistics together, and she deserves all possible praise and thanks. Greg Ferrara of Cinema Styles constructed the beautiful logo you see above, showing an artist from a period badly in need of preservation money. As Marilyn says, "the NFPF gets its operating funds entirely through donations and grants, so whatever funds we raise through the blogathon will make a real difference."
Please start by clicking over to our Facebook Fan Page and becoming a fan. Marilyn, Greg and I will be updating it in coming weeks with suggestions for post topics, discussions about the blogathon, facts and figures on preservation and other matters. We welcome suggestions there, too. And go to the For the Love of Film blog, where Greg has posted ads and commercials you can use on your own blog and Facebook page to promote participation and awareness.