The Notre Dame University-Louaize International Film Festival (NDUIFF), housed at NDU, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with former Minister of Culture Raymond Oreiji to restore and digitize the entire Lebanese film archive in an initiative to conserve the nation’s film heritage by sustaining and persevering it for generations to come.
The task consists of restoring all the film archives stored in Studio Baalbek and at the ministry. Marwan Kassis, part-time faculty member at NDU, has been contracted to install the Labs at the University and execute the whole project under the supervision of Mr. Sam Lahoud, Director of NDUIFF.
Restoration and digitization ingenuity will take place in different phases at the University Cinema Lab: Following the installation of the laboratory and after performing the tests approved by the ministry represented by Mr. Hareth Bassil, Cinetech director, NDU received phase one of the project, which consists of restoring and digitizing more than 350 film rolls.
Digitized films can never replace original historic material, just as even the best photographic reproduction of a painting can never replace the exhibited gallery piece. It does, however, allow them to be shared with viewers on a wide range of platforms – in digitized cinemas, on DVD or Blu-ray, through VOD or on TV broadcasts, with respect to the ownership rights for all the films.
The general objective is to contribute to the conservation and promotion of the Lebanese heritage, culture, and visual history. This operation will provide new generations, researchers, and filmmakers with archives and will serve to make NDU a reference for the preservation of films in the Middle East. The exercise will also help raise awareness on the importance of preserving the visual history of Lebanon.
Our heritage is blurring in silence. It is our duty to protect and save our audiovisual and film archives.