Preservation Initiative

Elzbieta Wysocka at SFSFF 2018's Amazing Tales from the Archives. Photo ©Pamela Gentile

Since our founding, San Francisco Silent Film Festival has been proud to have had a role in the preservation of cinematic heritage through presentation—festivals like ours participate in the preservation cycle by bringing appreciative audiences to bear witness to the extraordinary breadth and depth of silent-era filmmaking. But in the past several years, SFSFF has had a direct hand in the restoration and preservation of silent-era titles. Through our preservation fund, in partnership with organizations such as BFI, MoMA, Cinémathèque Française, EYE Filmmuseum, Library of Congress, the Film Preservation Society, Gosfilmofond, and the Polish National Film Archive, we have restored and preserved Behind the Door, Les Deux Timides, Fragment of an Empire, The Good Bad Man, The Half-Breed, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Italian Straw Hat, The Last Edition, Mothers of Men, The Other Woman's Story, Sherlock Holmes, Silence, Soft Shoes, The Three Musketeers, What's the World Coming To?When the Earth Trembled, and a fragment of Now We're in the Air as well as newly discovered San Francisco, 1906 footage shoot days after the Great Earthquake! We are gratified to have brought these titles back to life and are committed to showcasing important restorations and preservations for years to come. 35mm prints of these titles are stored in the SFSFF Collection at the Library of Congress.

In November 2015, SFSFF was granted associate membership in the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF), which has been dedicated to the preservation of, and access to, the world's film heritage since 1938. 

Since 2003, SFSFF has given the San Francisco Silent Film Festival Award to organizations and individuals to honor their contributions to the preservation and restoration of silent-era movies. Award recipients are listed below.
2018 Jon Wengström and the Swedish Film Institute
2017 EYE Filmmuseum
2016 David Robinson of Le Giornate del Cinema Muto
2015 Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films
2014 BFI (British Film Institute)
2013 Cinémathèque Française
2012 Telluride Film Festival
2011 UCLA Film and Television Archive
2010 Kevin Brownlow and Patrick Stanbury of Photoplay Productions
2009 China Film Archive
2008 David Shepard of Film Preservation Associates
2007 Turner Classic Movies
2006 Library of Congress and Melissa Chittick
2005 National Film Preservation Foundation
2004 George Eastman House
2003 La Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF)
(From 2003 - 2006, the award was sponsored by Haghefilm)

From 2008–2013, SFSFF awarded fellowships to students working in silent film preservation. Fellows are listed below. Since 2014, we've awarded AMIA conference travel grants to up-and-coming archivists.
2013 Simon Milne, The Last Edition restoration team
2012 Scott Williams
2011 Sean Kilcoyne
2010 Ken Fox, Mr. Fix-It
2009 Kyle Westphal, McCall's Fashion News
2008 Anne Smatla, Screen Snapshots (7th Series)

High-resolution images from SFSFF restorations are available for download here