„Digital Restoration of Czech Film Heritage“ is a project whithin the CZ 06 „Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Arts“ programme supported by an EEA Grant. It is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.

Project number: EHP-CZ06-PDP-1-001-2014
Total budget: CZK 26 500 000
Start date: 29 July 2014
End date: 30 April 2016

The aim of the project is to preserve Czech film heritage and provide the public with access to it by taking advantage of new technology. The primary objective is the digitization and digital restoration of 10 selected films, or “film programs”. Digitization, in combination with modern media technology (Blu-ray, HD TV broadcasting, digital projection in modern cinemas), is an essential tool in providing access to archived films which form an inseparable part of our common cultural history. Films were selected from a list entitled “200 Czech Films for the First Phase of Digitization” which was drawn up in 2010 by a Film Council committee for the Czech Ministry of Culture.

During the project planning period, the National Film Archive did not have its own digitization workflow; it was planned, therefore, that digitization and digital restoration should be carried out by an external supplier who would be selected by public contract. There is naturally a lot of preparation that precedes digitization and this rests squarely on the shoulders of the NFA. Extensive research has been conducted regarding production and marketing of individual motion pictures, meticulously assembled film material will serve as the source for the digitization process or a reference for restoration. Digitization by an external supplier will be overseen by NFA archivists, curators and restorers on site and by means of electronic communication from workplaces in Prague. Individuals and departments across the NFA will be integrated into the project, external experts will be addressed for selected action. Let us introduce the team.

Partners of the project – The Norwegian National Library and CESNET – play a key role. The Norwegian National Library has a wealth of experience with digitization, not only of audiovisual works but also of other archival and cultural items. We have planned three workshops with our colleagues from selected departments of the Norwegian National Library, during which there will be a mutual exchange of experience pertinent to caring for audiovisual heritage. Experts from CESNET will ensure internet connection with the external supplier that will enable us to remotely oversee key moments of the digitization and digital restoration process.

A central principal of the project is to make specific, individual cinematic works available through digitization. It is equally important for us to emphasize the social, cultural and technical circumstances under which these films came into being, acquaint the general public with the outgoing medium of cinematic film and deepen awareness of Czech film culture from years gone by. Thus, in addition to widely distributing films to digitized movie houses and releasing a selection on DVD and Blu-ray, we are planning to distribute promotional material dedicated not only to specific motion pictures, but to cinematography in general, present the project at selected film festivals around the country and organize lectures and discussions.