Monday, September 15, 2014
Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. (Psalm 97:12)
Coming soon to this blog site: Archival Revival - the Christian Film Preservation Project!
Archival Revival is a collective group that has come together in order to carry out what we believe is an important mission - the preservation and archiving of classic Evangelical films and film elements.
Why is the preservation of Christian films important?
Several years ago, a number of us began to notice a troubling trend in the media. Increasingly, films, television shows, books and magazines are being released to the public in electronic form only. Physical media is becoming a thing of the past, as more and more people turn to the internet for news, information, and entertainment, which can be downloaded instantly.
While instant access to information is certainly a blessing to many, it comes at a price. As fewer and fewer people purchase physical media such as films, books, newspapers, CDs, and DVDs, publishing houses and studios are also beginning to reject it in favor of e-media. Many technical and media insiders believe that within the next three to ten years, physical media will be gone entirely as ALL media will become electronic.
A prime example of this trend can be found in the motion picture industry. Since the introduction of digital film cameras about ten years ago, major motion picture studios have abandoned shooting on film in favor of more cost efficient high resolution digital video. The result has been the complete upheaval and dissolution of a number of related industries. The photographic industry was perhaps hit the hardest, as the majority of film equipment manufacturers were forced to close. Photographic film manufacturers have also suffered greatly, as the demand for 35mm and 16mm film stock has evaporated. Kodak, the world’s number one manufacturer of photographic film, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Likewise, the majority of labs and companies that process film have also been forced to close, as the demand for photographic developing, processing, and transferring has evaporated. Labs that can properly house, transfer, and archive motion picture film, which used to number in the thousands throughout the world, have now dwindled to just a handful. Local facilities that can transfer film elements are increasingly being forced to close, due to lack of business and a lack of skilled job applicants. Those facilities that remain in business are being forced to abandon film processing and transferring work altogether, focusing instead on transferring video tapes to digital files. Many insiders fear that within seven to ten years there will be fewer than three companies remaining in the entire world with the qualifications and training necessary to properly handle motion picture film negatives and print. The significance of this prediction is staggering, for it means that all film that is not properly stored and preserved within the next seven to ten years will be as good as landfill. If we allow this to happen, a great Evangelical legacy which has already won millions of souls for Christ throughout the entire world will be lost forever.
What do we mean a great Evangelical legacy will be lost forever?
Christian films, such as A Thief In The Night, The Burning Hell, and the Left Behind series, have successfully brought millions of souls to Christ. These films and others have been a tremendous proselytizing tool, not just here in America but throughout the entire world, especially in third world countries and nations that suffer from mass illiteracy. Millions of people who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to hear the word of Jesus Christ have been saved because of these films. Sadly, however, these films are deteriorating. Film prints, which are created using a special dye process, have a limited life span if not properly stored. Many Christian film prints have been improperly stored and are now lost forever because of irreparable deterioration. The same is true with the original negatives for these films, which can suffer emulsion damage when not preserved correctly. Negatives are the highest resolution film source, and the most important element for archiving and preserving films. Brand new film prints can be created for a film if the negatives have been properly stored and preserved. Many of the original negatives for important Christian films have been lost, and are now gone forever. Many more have been destroyed due to improper storage and negligence. A large percentage of these films were produced and distributed throughout the Bible-Belt states, such as Alabama and Tennessee, where the heat and humidity hasten film print and negative deterioration. Many of the original elements for these films such as negatives and prints were long ago placed into overstuffed church storage closets and forgotten. Some have remained in the possession of Christian families, who pass these film elements down to their children. Unfortunately, most people today have never handled film and are woefully ignorant of how to properly store and care for film prints and negatives. Some prints and negatives of Christian films have been thrown in the garbage by well-intentioned children who have no knowledge or appreciation of the film elements that have been passed down to them, or the holy purpose for which they were created. Facilities that know how to properly handle, store, and preserve film elements are dwindling to nothing, while at the same time, the instant gratification of digital downloading means that fewer and fewer people value real, physical media. We are faced with the very real possibility that within the next ten to fifteen years, all of these classic Christian films will be lost forever, either due to negligent deterioration, or to ignorance, as digital file downloading replaces real physical media content.
Does this trend disturb you?
If you're a Christian it should! Without Christian media in physical form such as films, books, CDs, and DVDs, the only access to God's holy word will be the internet! You might say, "What's wrong with that?" The answer is simple and frightfully alarming. The internet is controlled by SECULAR media conglomerates whose only concern is THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR. What will Christian media content look like when it is entirely controlled by the secular media? Just look at the so-called Christian entertainment that the secular world is presently foisting on the public. The number one "Christian" performer in the world is KATY PERRY! Are you bothered by the fact that this immoral singer, who performs in outfits so revealing that she might as well be naked on stage, and who writes and performs songs about homosexuality, pre-marital sex, and even fornication with an extraterrestrial, has been cited as a good Christian role model by the secular media? If you think that's bad, just wait until the same secular media controls all media content and all access to media!
We are launching Archival Revival because we believe the time is now critical if we wish to preserve classic Christian films so that they can continue to inspire the faithful and bring those yet unsaved to Jesus Christ. Stay tuned to this site because in the coming weeks and months, as we begin to get Archival Revival off the ground, we’ll be posting reviews, updates, and information about how you can help us in our efforts to archive and preserve classic Christian films.