The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has reached its $25,000 crowdfunding target to cover part of the digital restoration of the 1991 classic Proof, thanks to the generosity of over 250 film lovers.
NFSA Ambassador Margaret Pomeranz said: ‘We are incredibly thankful for all the support and donations from the public. They should be proud of themselves as they have truly proven their love for Proof, as well as their passion for preserving our audiovisual history. But this is merely the beginning; there are thousands of films waiting to be restored back to life, and every dollar over our initial goal will go towards the NFSA Restores fund.’
Launched on 16 May, the crowdfunding campaign asked the public to help cover part of the costs ($25,000) to restore Proof, with the NFSA funding the rest.
The campaign continues until midnight 30 June; any money over the initial $25,000 goal will be invested in new restorations and releases to help the NFSA preserve more titles.
The NFSA has been working with the film’s copyright holders on this restoration. Senior Film Curator Gayle Lake said: ‘We are very keen on bringing this classic back to the big screen as soon as possible. Stay tuned for news about screenings of Proof, restored and looking better than ever!’
Proof premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991, and launched the careers of Russell Crowe, Hugo Weaving and director Jocelyn Moorhouse (The Dressmaker). It dominated the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards winning best film, director, lead actor, supporting actor, screenplay and editing.
The restoration work on Proof is part of NFSA Restores, an exciting new program to digitise, restore and preserve (at the highest archival standards) classic and cult Australian films, so they can be seen in today’s digital cinemas.
NFSA Restores is an ongoing project, with thousands of films in 16mm and 35mm in need of restoration. This NFSA initiative utilises the best available original picture and sound materials, from both the NFSA collection and around the world. Restored films will be migrated every five years to ensure their format remains contemporary and they will be available as Digital Cinema Packages. Previous NFSA Restores films include Storm Boy (1976), Starstruck (1982), Bliss (1985) and Howling III: The Marsupials (1987).
- Proof launched the career of director Jocelyn Moorhouse.
- It made actors Russell Crowe and Hugo Weaving household names.
- 2016 marks 25 years since Proof was released.
- It won numerous awards in Australia and across the globe, including the Golden Camera at Cannes Film Festival and four Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards.
- It is a popular film that resonated with the public and critics alike.
- It has great cultural significance, representing Australia in festivals in France, Japan, Brazil, and other countries.
How The Funds Will Be Used
Digital restoration is highly specialised work, with a film costing anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000, depending on its condition.
The NFSA is already bringing many of our classics to the digital age, but there are thousands of films in our collection. That is why we need your help to do more.
Each case is different, but these are some of the things we have to do to restore a film:
- Digitising - Before we can begin our restoration work, we need to digitise the films. This involves running film through a film scanner and digitising each individual frame. An average-length feature film like Proof has over 140,000 frames.
- Cleaning - Film is fragile and despite how carefully it is stored and handled, it will eventually become marked by dirt and scratches. Unfortunately, film scanners pick up all these imperfections, so we need to go through frame by frame to digitally remove any unwanted marks, so that the film looks as clean as the day it was first developed.
- Colour grading - Film is made with chemicals that can change over time, causing films to become faded or colours to become distorted. Film colour experts use digital colour grading software to restore faded colours and recreate how the film originally looked.
- Audio syncing - Before we can begin restoring a film’s audio we have to make sure it syncs up with the original film. Because there are usually multiple versions of films cut for domestic and international markets, and because film and audio components are created and stored separately, it can take a while to find the right sound for the right pictures.
- Audio cleaning - Like film, audio can degrade over time and needs to be restored by our sound technicians. We use a variety of digital software to get rid of any unwanted audio distortion, and to ensure that the audio levels are appropriate for screening in a cinema.
With this campaign, we’re asking the public to help us cover part of the cost to restore Proof. The NFSA will fund the rest.
Donate now and help us bring Proof back to cinemas. Plus, remember that your donation is tax deductible.
Any money that goes over our target will be invested in new restorations and releases so we can preserve more. NFSA Restores is an ongoing project, and there are literally thousands of films waiting to be restored back to life.
It can’t be seen in today’s digital cinemas and, over time, the 35mm film will deteriorate.
Now is the time to bring Proof into the 21st century, so spread the word and encourage your friends and family to support the NFSA in our endeavour to breathe new life into Proof.
We work in collaboration with the filmmaker where possible to bring their original vision back to life, frame by frame.
By pledging money (any amount you can), you are helping us keep a masterpiece alive. You're not just supporting this film; you're helping preserve and celebrate Australian classic and cult cinema.
Together, let’s make film history.
Read more about NFSA Restores.