NITROFILM - Conservation and digitisation of pre-war feature films at the National Film Archive in Warsaw
The Nitrofilm project "Conservation and digitisation of pre-war feature films at the National Film Archive in Warsaw" has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Priority XI "Culture and Cultural Heritage" of the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme.
The project – which started in 2009 – includes 43 titles from the oldest, and most valuable, collection of the National Film Archive. Its primary goal is to safeguard for posterity the archival films in the collection of pre-war Polish cinema.
The main criterion for the selection of films to be digitised is the number of copies preserved on flammable nitrate film relating to one title, i.e. the number of original media from the time of the film's production. All the selected materials used before the war were damaged or incomplete in places; and there are also technical defects resulting from improper storage or mechanical damage. The digitisation, comparative work and restoration of these materials will allow the creation of new and fully-complete copies of these films.
Thanks to this project, a specialised infrastructure was created for the conservation and restoration of the oldest film materials, which enabled the digitisation of part of the collection of pre-war Polish cinematography. Nitrofilm aims to establish lasting and universal access to this collection.
During the implementation of the project, i.e. in the years 2015-2019, the National Film Archive committed to the annual digitising of 10 films and the restoration of one selected title.
The project's website contains descriptions of the films, together with the metadata and also, among other things, film stills, press articles and photo documentation of the work on the film materials. All information related to the conservation work (its theory and practice), the findings and results of the research of filmographers, the film's history and interesting facts about the people involved in pre-war cinema is presented on the NitroBlog.
Four titles have undergone full restoration. The repremieres of these films were accompanied by live music.
- "Mania. Historia pracownicy fabryki papierosów" [Mania: The History of a Cigarette Factory Worker] ("Mania. Die Geschichte einer Zigarettenarbeiterin") dir. Eugen Illes, 1918 / composer Jerzy Maksymiuk / repremiere 4 September 2011
- "Pan Tadeusz", dir. Ryszard Ordyński, 1928 / composer Tadeusz Woźniak in cooperation with Tomasz Szymuś, Tomasz Filipczak and Piotr Woźniak / repremiere 9 November 2012
- "Zew morza" [The Call of the Sea], dir. Henryk Szaro, 1927 / composer Krzesimir Dębski / repremiere 29 November 2013
- "Ludzie bez jutra" [People With No Tomorrow], dir. Aleksander Hertz 1919 / composers Paweł Szamburski, Sebastian Wypych, Patryk Zakrocki / repremiere 15 December 2015
In 2016 the repremiere of "Halka" (1929), directed by Konstanty Meglicki, is planned.