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“Protecting Memories: Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson Share Their Efforts in Film Preservation”


Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson and David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, joined a panel at the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival to discuss the importance of saving films in danger of deterioration.

At an event Thursday on the opening night of the festival at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz moderated a conversation between the three guests about their efforts to restore decades-old titles. Spielberg explained that Martin Scorsese founded The Film Foundation in 1990 to preserve film history and enlisted the help of the Hollywood studios and other prominent filmmakers. Thursday’s panel focused on the work being done in a partnership between TCM, Warner Bros. Discovery and Film Foundation, and it accompanied the premiere screening of Howard Hawks’ 4K restoration Rio Bravo (1959).

“We all joined (Scorsese) in going to all the studios to get them to try and fund this bailout to save our cultural heritage,” Spielberg said. The Fablemans The director recalled that his fellow filmmakers who joined Scorsese in 1990 included Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola and Sydney Pollack.

As for how the group decides which films to prioritize, Spielberg – who noted that their efforts have saved more than 990 films – explained that they were initially intended to collect a particular director’s body of work. The quality of a film negative can also be a deciding factor, while a filmmaker’s personal preference can also aid in decision making.

“We’re trying to find the movies, not the movies that are our favorite movies, but movies that tell a very unique story about this country and the people of this country,” the Oscar winner continued. “And not only this country, but we save experimental films, documentaries. We are now rescuing international films. We have already saved 97 international films. So this is something that won’t stop. We were all very busy making our movies in 1990, and Marty put everything aside and said, ‘No, we’re prioritizing this. This is what needs to happen.’”

According to Anderson, the importance of the work goes beyond just preserving film history. “I don’t want to get philosophical, but it ends up being the protection of memories – very, very important memories – that we all individually have,” said the Liquorice pizza Helmer said. “Where was I when I saw it ET? I remember it very well, and I remember the friends I was with. I remember who I took to see that movie as well as I remember the movie.

The TCM Classic Film Festival, which this year hosted Warner Bros.’ spotlight.’ legacy celebrating the studio’s 100th anniversary ends Sunday. Videos of the festival’s events can be seen here.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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