Introduction to the Project
We realized early on that in order to attain the level of projection quality that we wanted in all of our cinemas we would need to screen first-rate prints. President Glenn KnicKrehm noted that even if all of the other components of a screening facility are in place but you lack high-quality prints, “it’s all for nothing.” Understanding this, we set out to build a world-class film collection, the ConstellationCenter Film Archive.
Just over three years later, under the careful watch of Lowell Peterson, ASC, a Los Angeles-based Academy nominated cinematographer; Jess Daily, Chief Projectionist for the UCLA Film Archive; and Marc Shevick, film expert, our collection has grown to include nearly 500 prints. The Archives documents approximately 114 years of film history – from 2008 Academy award winners to the Lumière Brothers 1895 movie Le Jardinnier, L’Arroseur Arrosé.
We cast a broad net in defining the parameters of the Collection, dictating that it be composed of films that are considered “the best” including, but not limited to, all Film Academy nominated films, any film shot in 70 mm, the American Film Institute 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time, the Internet Movie Database Top 250, and National Film Registry selections.
“The commonality among all of the films in the collection is that they are movies that people agree are important,” Peterson said. “For instance, we have a beautiful print of Sunrise, which won the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar the first year the award was given out, sharing it in 1927 with Wings.”
Peterson has also acquired rare and beautiful prints, which under the superb screening conditions at ConstellationCenter, will be brought to new audiences, illuminating previously under-viewed works of cinematic significance. With Peterson’s extensive knowledge of the film archives from around the world, he is able to identify and purchase film prints that he knows will lend distinction to our Collection.
“Lowell’s eye as a cinematographer is a true asset to our Collection,” KnicKrehm noted. “He recognizes not only the appeal a well-known title may have to our collection, but also recognizes film where the quality of cinematography and photographic quality itself is extraordinary. His eye for quality is phenomenal – Lowell finds us the rare and wonderful.”
Since fall 2006, we’ve housed our prints at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Film Archive in Hollywood. The temperature and humidity are controlled and regulated based on Kodak recommendations and will ensure that the films will remain in prime viewing condition for hundreds of years, if not longer.
In addition to ensuring the longevity of the ConstellationCenter Film Archive, the storage of the films at the Academy brings the Collection onto the radar of members of the Academy and the film community. Our films are registered as in-stock at the Academy, allowing them to be accessed for festival screenings – sharing them with audiences before our own facility is available. The films are available for film researchers and students, who can use the prints to examine details not seen on the more widely available DVDs. They are available for film preservationists who need the best quality prints for their conservation work. Effectively, the Center is ensuring that our film collection can have impact on the film industry today.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Skandia Cinema, Sweden
in Great Hall
with the Paradise/Brown