Later in the month, IFI National is staging a really remarkable project from the IFI Irish Film Archive at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway. Journey to Aran is a programme of films made on the Aran Islands from the 1920s to 1970s which presents a fascinating alternative to Flaherty's Man of Aran. The highlight of the programme is Aran of the Saints, an extraordinary silent film documenting life on the Aran Islands in 1932. As far as we know, this film has never been seen on Aran until this summer when IFI National will present it on Inis Oirr and Inis Mór at the beginning of July with a new score devised by musicians from Aran. The film has been digitally restored by the IFI Irish Film Archive from the 16mm original which is preserved in our vaults in Temple Bar, and the programme will be shown at the IFI in early July.
This project is just one illustration of the incredible work that the IFI Irish Film Archive does in preserving Ireland’s film history and finding ways to bring this extraordinary material to audiences in Ireland and internationally. Martin Scorsese said “Film is history, with every foot of film that is lost we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us and to ourselves.’’ This is something we passionately believe and the IFI has been working for the last 25 years to ensure Ireland’s rich and varied film legacy is meticulously preserved. The collection includes over 25,000 cans of film stretching from the oldest film in the collection (made by the Lumière Brothers in 1897) to the present day. The films represent an extraordinarily powerful resource that tells the social, political and artistic story of modern Ireland.
However, our storage facility has now reached capacity and we are reluctantly having to turn material away. This summer we are launching a fundraising campaign to enable us to build a new preservation centre at NUI Maynooth. It is of critical importance that this resource is protected and the IFI needs your help to ensure this happens in the face of shrinking public resources. Please give us your support.