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Fact Sheet: The National Film Preservation Act of 1996
- The National Film Preservation Act of 1988 (Pub.L. 100-446) expired on September 27, 1991. The 1992 Act (Pub.L. 102-307) continued the National Film Preservation Board for four years and expired on June 26, 1996. The 1996 Act (Pub.L. 104-285) reauthorizes the activities of the National Film Preservation Board for seven years--until October 11, 2003 (in Title I) and creates the federally-chartered private sector National Film Preservation Foundation (Title II)
TITLE I--Reauthorization of the National Film Preservation Board
- Librarian (advised by Board) will continue implementation of the national film preservation plan. This is a continuation of the work already begun under the auspices of the National Film Preservation Board: the study done in 1993, and the national plan in 1994. Both were accomplished by a consensus of the major film studios, the archives, the educational community, and other key players in the film and film preservation communities.
- The Librarian/Board will continue to select up to 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films" each year for the National Film Registry. To be eligible, films must be at least 10 years old, though they need not be feature-length or have had a theatrical release in order to be considered. The legislation's intent is that the broadest possible range of films be eligible for consideration.
- The Librarian will continue to obtain archival material (including preprint elements) on National Film Registry titles for collection in the Library of Congress.
- Annual authorization/appropriation maintained at $250,000 per year.
- Membership increases by two positions. The National Association of Broadcasters agreed to leave the Board (and work with the Library on a separate TV/video preservation study). Three new members are added: one more at-large member, and representatives from the Society of Composers and Lyricists and the Association of Moving Image Archivists.
TITLE II--Establishment of the National Film Preservation Foundation
- The Foundation, an independent, non-profit charity affiliated with the National Film Preservation Board, raises private funds to help American archives preserve films and make them publicly available.
- The Foundation's primary mission is to save orphan films, films without owners able to pay for their preservation. The films most at-risk are newsreels, silent films, experimental works, films out of copyright protection, significant amateur footage, documentaries, and features made outside the commercial mainstream. Orphan films are the living record of the twentieth century. Hundreds of American museums, archives, libraries, universities, and historical societies care for "orphaned" original film materials of cultural value. The Foundation will work with these film preservation organizations to preserve orphan films and make them accessible to "present and future generations of Americans."
- The Foundation is eligible to receive federal matching funds of $250,000 per year starting in October 1999. This money must be used for preservation projects. None of these federal funds can be spent on the administration of the Foundation.
- The nine members of the Foundation's Board of Directors are appointed by the Librarian of Congress and serve four-year terms. Two of the Directors also sit on the National Film Preservation Board. The Librarian is a non-voting Board member. Directors are not financially compensated for their services.
- For more information on the Foundation, visit its Web page
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