February 11, 2017 – Open letter by the Verein Board of CineGraph Babelsberg

CineGraph Babelsberg belatedly published issue no. 60 of Filmblatt which includes an open letter to the president of the Bundesarchiv Dr. Michael Hollmann. In this open letter, the Verein Board (Michael Grisko, Ursula von Keitz, Philipp Stiasny and Fabian Tietke) appreciate the change in the Bundesarchiv’s nitrate policy:

“We are particularly pleased about this news as the nitrate destruction policy is being viewed very critically by many of our members and it has resulted in painful losses. This policy is all the more incomprehensible to us as most European film archives, especially the great cinema nations such as France and the UK, aim at preserving their nitrate holdings permanently or as long as possible. We very much welcome the fact that also the Bundesarchiv will now seek to preserve nitrate films for the long term instead of copying and destroying them. We believe that you have made a crucial step in the direction of a responsible and modern archival practice, and we encourage you to consistently pursue this path.”

At the same time, the Verein Board expresses its concern about the decision to close the Bundesarchiv’s analogue film laboratory and to digitize film items in the future only instead of copying them on photochemical film. In this context, the Verein Board refers to the EU study „Digital Agenda For The European Film Heritage“, according to which “the transition to digital presents a threat to existing archival collections”. The CineGraph Board “would like to see the Bundesarchiv following international practice and experience not just in terms of saving the original item but also in the field of long-term preservation”.

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