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Thriving Archives works with footage companies to develop and execute marketing and business development strategies. We also produce market research reports on the global footage licensing industry and partner with companies providing services to the stock footage industry. 




Renowned Film Preservationist Robert Gitt to Receive FOCAL International's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award

David Seevers

Film preservationist Robert Gitt is to receive the FOCAL International Award for Lifetime Achievement at the thirteenth annual FOCAL International Awards, to be presented in association with AP Archive on 26th May, 2016. This Award is a gift of the FOCAL International Executive and has been endorsed by many eminent people, amongst them Director Martin Scorsese.

“Bob Gitt has dedicated his life to film preservation, and in all honesty I can't think of anyone more deserving of FOCAL's Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Director Martin Scorsese.

In 1970, Gitt joined The American Film Institute in Washington, D.C., where he served initially as film booking and technical manager of the AFI Theater at the Kennedy Center. Three years later, he became AFI’s technical officer and began to work on film restoration projects, including Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon (1937), which he completed at UCLA, and The Blot (1921), influential in cementing Lois Weber’s reputation as an important pioneer woman director.

In 1977, Robert Gitt began work at UCLA Film & Television Archive as its first preservation officer, where he was actively involved in the preservation and restoration of hundreds of classic Hollywood films, both silent and sound. Most recently he was asked by Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker to supervise the digital restoration of perhaps the most beautiful Technicolor film of all time, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Red Shoes (1948), in collaboration with the BFI and ITV.
“Bob has led the preservation and restoration team at UCLA for many years and is one of the world's most admired and respected conservation and restoration experts,” said film historian Clyde Jeavons. “He has restored probably more important American movies - silent and sound, classic and obscure - than all the other US archivists put together, and has been a pioneer of techniques to recover early and late Technicolor and to restore the first Hollywood sound-on-disc systems, even working from cracked and broken shellac recordings. In short, he has helped to make available to the highest possible standards countless films threatened by loss and decay.”

“Bob Gitt set the standard for what we call film restoration,” said Grover Crisp, Sony Pictures EVP asset management, film restoration and digital mastering. “Film preservation existed prior to Bob Gitt, but the kind of restoration we know of today is the result of Bob’s standard setting work for almost forty years.”

Gitt has also specialized in resuscitating early sound films, including over one hundred 1926-1931 Vitaphone one reel short subjects, and has lectured widely on the subject of film and sound preservation. His latest project is Part II of his epic history of sound on film (A Century of Sound, 1933-1975) - described as "a gold mine for specialist researchers and technology buffs" - which was launched earlier this year on BluRay.

'It's great news that our FOCAL International Executive has voted to honor Bob Gitt in this way,' said FOCAL International's Chair Sue Malden, 'Bob has also accepted our invitation to present the Jane Mercer Memorial Lecture a few days prior to the Awards Ceremony on 26th May. It will be a wonderful bonus to a thrilling week of archive industry events.” 

Kate Adie OBE, the former Chief News Reporter for the BBC and current presenter of From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4 will host the gala FOCAL International Awards Ceremony on 26th May at the Lancaster London Hotel. Apart from the Lifetime Achievement Award, sixteen further awards will be presented on 26th May to celebrate achievement by producers and directors in the creative use of footage in all variety of genres, across all media platforms plus the contribution made to the global production industry by archivists, film libraries, researchers and technicians, as well as the work done to restore and preserve these irreplaceable assets.

Organizer of the Awards competition Julie Lewis went on, 'It's going to be another gripping competition. We received 191 submissions to the FOCAL International Awards 2016 from 17 countries - amazing archive heavy productions featuring, for example, Amy Winehouse, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando and Kurt Cobain all vying for a place in the final nominations - and that is just in the Cinema category! We also have an unprecedented 12 nominations for the Jane Mercer Footage Researcher of the Year Award so it’s going to be a very tight race in all 16 Award categories. Our amazing team of over 50 international jurors are already stuck into viewing their respective submissions and we will be announcing the final shortlist in the second week of March.'

Tickets for the Gala Awards Ceremony 26th May go on sale today, so you'll need to hurry if you want to book a table


EDN Online Pitching Session for Historical Documentaries is Set for December 15

David Seevers

With a focus on historical documentaries, this online session from the European Documentary Network (EDN) should be of interest to members of the footage community. As per the EDN website, "The EDN Online Pitching Session is an online video conference, where a selected number of documentary projects are pitched and matched with decision makers fitting the specific profile of the projects. This pitching session is focusing on documentaries about history and historical events."

The panel members for this session are:

  • Peter Gottschalk, ARTE GEIE, France
  • Peter Hamilton, Documentary Consultant, USA
  • Gaspard Lamuniére, RTS, Switzerland
  • Tore Tomter, NRK, Norway 
  • Krishan Arora, SBS, Australia
  • Katja Wildermuth, MDR, Germany

It looks like the session is open to EDN members only. Click here for more information.  


Janis: Little Girl Blue, An Archival Documentary Celebrating the Life of Powerhouse Musician Janis Joplin

David Seevers

Documentary filmmaker Amy Berg celebrates the life of the pioneering blues/rock legend Janis Joplin in her new film Janis: Little Girl Blue. The film got its start in 2008 when Berg heard that the Joplin Estate was “considering sharing their archive with a filmmaker.” After many pitches, Berg signed on to do the film, her first music documentary. The film draws on archival footage of Joplin’s performances and interviews as well as Joplin’s letters, which are read by the singer Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power).

Berg spoke briefly about her film with Steve Pond for the Wrap at the Toronto International Film Festival, and did an in-depth interview with filmmaker Ondi Timoner at BYOD (Bring Your Own Doc). 

The film hit some initial obstacles when Berg realized how big the rights challenges were. As she told Timoner, “I had not done a music doc before and I did not know what would go into all the archive and licensing costs, and after the first kind of roadblock the estate came back to me to try to relaunch this project, and it was daunting.” Berg brought on veteran filmmaker Alex Gibney as producer at that point and, after two more years of wrangling and negotiations, was able to get the project moving forward again.

The film was a labor of love for Berg. “I’m such a huge fan of hers and she represents to me something that is kind of misrepresented in the legacy of the 27 Club, which is a woman who was a powerhouse,” said Berg. “Often we remember the men for their musical talent and who they were to the world of music, but I feel like women get kind of a raw deal. We always remember these women as junkies who died alone. I wanted to kind of give some life to Janis the powerhouse musician that she was.”

Janis: Little Girl Blue will have its broadcast premiere on American Masters on PBS in February, 2016.