In order that films remain accessible for future generations, they have to be preserved. The creation of new printing masters from damaged, decomposing or unique elements safeguards their contents beyond the remaining life of the original physical carrier. Striking new prints for screening meanwhile ensures continued access to film works in their original, authentic presentation format.
Film preservation is one of the core tasks of film museums and archives. For the complex technical realization of its projects, the Film Museum cooperates with a large network of archival partners and specialized service providers in Austria and abroad. As well as carrying out its own preservation activities, the Film Museum also loans films from its collection regularly to other archives and rights holders for their own projects.
Since 2008, the Film Museum has also been using digital restoration techniques in its preservation efforts in addition to traditional photochemical reproduction methods. With ongoing funding from the Arts and Culture Division of the Austrian Federal Chancellery plus initial set-up grants from the state of Lower Austria, ecoplus and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Film Museum and Filmarchiv Austria can operate their own facilities with full digital restoration capabilities from scanning in up to 6K resolution right through to 35mm laser film recording for optimal long-term preservation. Taking digital film restoration into their own hands in this way allows the archives a level of control and care over the projects that would not otherwise be possible.
The Film Museum's staff participates actively in the ongoing international discussion surrounding the ethical and practical principles of film preservation. Together with the Austrian Film Gallery and Filmarchiv Austria, the Film Museum co-organized the international symposium, Digital Film Restoration within Archives, which took place in Krems in the state of Lower Austria between September 21 and 23, 2011.