Beirut Film Foundation

The Fascinating Restoration of Middle East Regional Films

Restoration of conservation of the ration of film records is one of specialties of conservation of the restoration of cultural heritage. The need to preserve old films or restore films is today a whole movement in which film historians, archivists, museums and nonprofit organization are involved, all aimed at saving the film heritage from decay all parts of directed to prolong the survival of the film, with the highest possible respect for the original.


Before the digitalization happens, a movie should be transferred to a format that can faithfully reproduce the original image it started from. A comprehensive multi-indexing system has been around for decades has now been shipped to a modern film database in Lebanon, which facilitates access to not only a large number of films on nitric and acetate bends, but also articles from their photo library and collection of objects photographed on film in some way. There are hundreds and hundreds Middle East films which people have never seen before. More than a half million photos, slides, negatives, posters and documents, even sketches and sound recording are still waiting for processing. This recent push for the historical collection also preserves the impressive devices that preceded the creation of films, those who used film to pioneer methods for shooting and projection- as well as the devices that are used today.

How it is done

film archiveThe cinema archive has a special tables for manual cleaning of film, as well as conventional machines for machine cleaning. In addition the archive of Middle East films has one of the most advanced tape cleaning machines with the help of ultrasound. In this machine the films is immersed in a cleaning solution and ultrasonic waves are realized through it, which also removes even the smallest impurities, without degrading the film. The same device automatically dry’s the film which is then ready for scanning. The digitization process itself is performed on a special scanner. The Middle East cinema expert uses one of only a hundred devices of this kind. It is openly understood that these devices are created by a German company: APRI, which is otherwise known as the world's larger producer of movie recording equipment. However one firm in Belgium, founded in 1989- Mamnon archiving service, is a well-known leading service provider for digitalization of many long-lost film transfers. Leading the documentation and management of audio visual and film heritage projects, Mamnon has taken-on the challenge of large scale projects from a very different technical context. Especially since Mamnon has taken part in the fascinating efforts to restore Mid-East regional films. Middle Eastern cinema had obtained their collection of films and media largely from the film industry throughout the Middle East. It lends itself to the different industries from Iran, Egypt, and Turkey. It can also include various film industries from Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Syria, and United Arab Emirates...

The most expanding film industry is in United Arab Emirates. It is well known the annual Gulf Film festivals which represent cinematic production from the region. The Dubai International Film Festival launched in 2004, and represents a lot of fascinating Middle East films collectively. Many Middle east films have collected awards or were nominated, nonetheless- got a lot of critical praise. This older Middle Eastern films explore themes adequate for all us and can open audience eyes to see and feel the “heart” of Middle East people. Included as well for historical reference are a plethora of Asian films that have all too often been ignored by the art-house circuit, and in most cases forbidden by local governments for unknown reasons.

Some of the oldest film themes started here!

The first movie in Egypt premiered in 1897, the same year when Lumarian brothers sent their cameraman to shoot the moving images of the pharaohs. Egyptian films have led the Middle East entertainment industry and it is not just the product of the Golden age, but films that were made- and more recently are disappearing due to the lack of modern film preservation. Martin Scorsese with his cinema foundation made restoration of two famous films by Shadi Abdel Salam. This collection of films are piece of good news but without adequate archival or a systematic cataloging of their country full of cultural heritage. The Middle-Eastern region is recently becoming successful at representing all of their films’ legacy, but more recently in the early 2000’s- Egyptian actors and producers started up a campaign to raise awareness and to find funds for a state of the art conservation lab and archive. The result of course is a well-known Middle-East festival founded in Cairo, and during this festival people have opportunity to see a lot of old middle east films. The second largest film festival of Middle East is Alexandria International films. It is organized by Egyptian Association of films and represents old film culture of Middle East. One of the oldest perhaps in the region was founded in Lebanon, named the Beirut International Film Festival. Annual competitions through this festival include categories for feature films, old short films and documentaries and various works all around the Middle-East.

Beirut Film Foundation