Bring indie film history to the digital age / by KirstenStudio

Working to ensure the availability of movies told from diverse perspectives, IndieCollect, a New York City nonprofit, has purchased a new 5k film scanner. The shiny red Kinetta (created by Jeff Kreines) will give film-based work a rebirth. While some venues still project film, they are few and far between, offering limited options for filmmakers with movies that remain on analog mediums.

Because preservation and access costs are on a steady rise, IndieCollect, seeks to offer filmmakers digital scanning services at nonprofit prices. This is potentially huge for the indie motion picture creator, many of whom have to practically beg, borrow, and beg again, just to get each film completed, much less worry about their long-term shelf life. The idea of financing the scanning of older work is usually put on a back burner indefinitely, even if makers realize the potential revenue opportunities. IndieCollect seeks to fill this gap in resources for its community, and to help make sure our shared American independent motion picture heritage is both saved and seen.

Making high-resolution scanning affordable not only benefits the filmmaker of course, but audiences too. With more indie films available on DVD, through streaming, or in theaters, cinephiles, as well as activists and educators will have access to important work. Some stories are only told through particular movies, by a range of storytellers whose voices don't generally make the mainstream media cut. Unfortunately, a lot of them fall out of circulation as our ever-changing technology moves at fast-forward speed. Many films continue to be incredibly relevant regardless of their copyright year, but only if they're out there and available.

Natural History (1986)
Natural History (1986)

The Kickstarter campaign will launch the scanning program with a collection of fiction shorts made under Apparatus Productions, an early '80s nonprofit founded by the dynamic duo of Chrstine Vachon and Todd Haynes, along with Barry Ellsworth. However, this is just the beginning. If this campaign is successful, on the slate are award-winning documentaries, and other works, most of which haven't seen the light of day in years.

Born digital movies are also at risk and IndieCollect is working to address preservation and access needs across all formats for any and all American independent motion pictures. A tall order, and the scanner is a significant step in that direction. As an archivist at IndieCollect, I can vouch first hand for the many lost treasures the organization continues to unearth, and the ways in which it is working to educate and support independent filmmakers so their work exists and is findable tomorrow. This is more than just a Kickstarter campaign. It may sound a little dramatic, but it really does represent part of a movement toward ensuring indie film's longevity and securing its rightful place in our cultural history.

To find out more about this organization, visit www.indiecollect.org. Please consider supporting what Indiewire says is, "... one of the most incredible Kickstarter campaigns we've ever seen."