Wednesday, September 15, 2010

European Film Treasures web success

Providing access to our collections is really important for us at the IFI Irish film Archive, and we are always delighted with the positive response we get from the public to our screenings, DVD releases and special events. However we are blown away by the online reaction to our contribution to the Europa Film Treasures website. Since it was uploaded last, our film Once Upon a Tram has been viewed 15,500 times.

In 2009 the Irish Film Archive was asked, along with 37 other film archives, to contribute to the European film Treasures project which aims to encourage European citizens to discover their shared European cinematographic heritage  The project is the brain-child of Serge Bromberg, founder of Paris-based historic film and restoration specialist Lobster Films. Serge had long been aware of the meticulous work being undertaken by film archives throughout Europe and of the difficulties that existed in making this work known to a wider public. He  felt that an online project would give film archives a democratic way to highlight their collections and raise awareness of their work in an international context.

The IFI Irish Film Archive selected a film we had recently restored (Once Upon a Tram) for inclusion on the Europa Film Treasures website. It was made by John Sarsfield and the late James Maguire between 1958 and 1959, and produced under the name Leinster Studios. Once Upon a Tram looks at one of the last journeys of the Howth Tram and is a record of an elegant and leisurely form of transport of a by-gone era. The film was made with the realisation that trams were about to become a thing of the past in Dublin, with the opening scenes of the film featuring shots of tram lines in Dublin’s city centre being dug up. Once Upon A Tram focuses on the different people who make use of this mode of transport and is narrated by Cyril Cusack.

We were also pleased to find out that our most recent choice for the website, Tony Bacillus & Co (1946) has been chosen by the Europa Film Treasures project to have a score written and recorded by the prestigious Paris Conservatoire; the film with its new musical score will be online in October. Tony Bacillus is a comical public information film about the threat of tuberculosis in which TB is represented by a menacing puppet, who attempts to infect a little boy puppet by placing various hazards - spitting, coughing and drinking unpasteurised milk - in his path. However, the boy puppet is well versed in disease prevention and T. Bacillus is foiled. This film was part of a series of educational and public information films made by the National Film Institute (now the IFI) in the 1940s and 1950s on behalf of the department of Health.

To see these films visit their website

Kasandra O'Connell
Head of IFI Irish Film Archive

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