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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Fortunato

Guest Post: Vote for Hellzapoppin’ for the National Film Preservation Board

Guest post by Ricardo Ferraro

The internet has plenty of posts related to relevant lindy hop dance movies. But, what if there was a program to preserve the original copies of these movies ? Indeed, there is one: The Library Of Congress Film Registry from the Library Of Congress National Film Preservation Board. And the deadline to nominate movies to this program is close, September, 15, 2018.

What is the National Film Preservation Board @ Library of Congress ?

“Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board works to ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s film heritage, including: advising the Librarian on its recommendations for annual selections to the National Film Registry, apprising the Librarian of changing trends and policies in the field of film preservation, and counseling the Librarian on ongoing implementation of the National Film Preservation Plan.”

What is the LOC (Library Of Congress) Film Registry ?

“The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.” (…)

Who belongs to the National Film Preservation Board ?

The National Film Preservation Board is made up of representatives from a number of industry organizations, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Directors Guild of America, and the National Society of Film Critics.

Who selects the titles for the Registry ?

“The Librarian of Congress makes the annual selections to the Registry after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and after conferring with the Library’s curators and the distinguished members of the National Recording Preservation Board.”

Can the public participate ?

Absolutely! In fact, you’re encouraged to submit your nominations each year. Members of the public may nominate up to 50 recordings each calendar year.

How do I nominate a movie ?

“The 2018 deadline for nominations is September 15, 2018. The Library of Congress invites you to submit your recommendations for movies to be included on the 2018 National Film Registry. Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian and Film Board are considering their final.”

Each year, LOC begins the National Film Registry process anew and starts from scratch. So if you voted for a film one year but it was not selected, that vote does not carry over to the next year. Films released in 2007 are now eligible for Registry consideration. To give you a few ideas, the link below has some fairly well-known films not yet selected to the Registry and you can find “Hellzapoppin! (1941)” among them:

As published by LOC: “You may vote for any of these films (one vote per film) or for others not mentioned on the list below. But please do vote: films that receive the most support each year are given special consideration during the process by members of the National Film Preservation Board.”

How do I vote ?

It is a two step process. First, there is a specific page where you can enter: a) your e-mail address, b) if you want to receive regular updates from LOC about Motion Pictures and Films, c) How you learned of the Registry.

Next, you will enter the name of each film you wish to nominate, and then click in the appropriate box to enter the release year. You may nominate up to 50 films. Only films that are more than 10 years old may be nominated.

If the film(s) you are nominating begin with the articles “A” or “The,” you can list the film as: Star is Born, A or Great Train Robbery, The. LOC´s instructions ask not to use quotation marks around the title, and not include the date, director or stars with the film name.

We suggest that you copy the movie name from the link below and include “Hellzapoppin! (1941)” among your nominations !

After the second step you should receive a message like:

“Thank you for your nomination to the 2017 National Film Registry. We appreciate your taking the time to voice your opinion.

Please watch for an announcement in December regarding the latest titles to be added to the Registry.”

More Questions

Can I vote more than once ?

Yes, it is possible. If you fill the forms with the same data there will be no restriction to a second submission.

When are recordings selected for the Registry?

“Near the beginning of each calendar year with those selections reflecting the year just past. Look for the annual announcement in either February or March of each year.”

What happens after a movie is selected ?

“According to Steve Leggett, program coordinator for the National Film Preservation Board, selection implores the Library of Congress to get the best possible copy of the film in its original format and store it in their vaults at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. This ensures the film will be available to future generations.

For Hollywood movies, the process is usually pretty easy. “We simply ask the studio to donate a copy,” Leggett told Mental Floss in 2015. In some cases, that isn’t even necessary. The Library of Congress has more than 1 million films on file, many of them sent by studios or filmmakers for the sake of copyright registry. When the original Star Wars was selected in 1989, Leggett says, congressional librarians simply checked that the 35 millimeter print submitted with Lucasfilm’s copyright application was in good shape. It was, so no further action was needed.

For older and more esoteric selections like newsreels, silent films, documentaries, and early technical achievements in filmmaking, Leggett says the library often seeks out a copy from the community of preservationists. Universities, private foundations, and hobbyists that preserve old films might get a call from the Library of Congress if they have a good copy of a National Film Registry selection. In rare cases, the library will barter for the film, using redundant materials on its shelves. Other times, it will make a copy or pay the archivist to make a new 35 millimeter copy for them. The Culpeper facility stores nitrate prints, the original film stock for many early movies, in specialty lockers because the material is highly volatile and flammable. (…) The Audio-Visual Conservation Center itself, buried on a mountainside, has storage space controlled to stay cool and dry. “A film could survive for hundreds of years there,” Leggett says. He admits the audiovisual center wouldn’t survive a nuclear strike—in the event of World War III, the world might lose its best copy of Buster Keaton’s The General—“but it did survive an earthquake with all materials intact.” “

Is this the only Program at the Library of Congress ?

No, the list of current programs can be seen on the list below,

Where can I find more information ?

Wikipedia has a link with many more details, including the complete actual list of the current preserved movies !

Let’s support the preservation of lindy hop movies !

Guest post by Ricardo Ferraro

Social Brazilian dancer since 1999 that appreciates to travel, meet people, and to learn social dance in different dance camps all around the world. Outside of the work hours invests some time in readings related to the history of dance and jazz, meeting lindy hop and social dance friends, and studying. Keep dancing folks !”

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