June 14, 1999 Classic Movies to Tour

The Library of Congress announced today that cable network American Movie Classics has agreed to assume sponsorship of the Library's Film Preservation Tour, which brings National Film Registry titles to theatrical audiences around the country, helping to direct the public's attention to the need to conserve America's film heritage. AMC's gift will allow the Library to complete its goal of bringing the tour to all 50 states. The tour started in 1995 and has already been to 28 states.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, "Film is a powerful force in American culture and national life. Motion pictures, whether feature films, newsreels or avant-garde works, are both an art form and a record of our times. Our challenge is to protect and preserve those films in versions as close to their originals as possible. The tour presents a marvelous opportunity for many Americans to enjoy classic films on the large screens for which they were made."

The tour begins on July 23 at the Capitol Center in Charleston, W.Va. On August 27 it will be in Albuquerque, N.M., at the Lobo Theater and on September 17 it opens at the Russell House Theater in Columbia, S.C. For a schedule of future stops on the tour, visit the Library's Web site at http://www.loc.gov/film/tour.html.

The National Film Registry was created by U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 for the purpose of creating public awareness of film preservation problems. The Registry recognizes the richness of American filmmaking, and each year 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant films are added; it now totals 250 titles.

It supports the protection of American film history through an annual Film Preservation Festival and works with the Film Foundation, a group of preeminent directors committed to saving this vital part of American culture.

Registry films showcase the diversity of American film production and include a broad range of genres, dates, and filmmakers. Such films include Hollywood legends such as Harold Lloyd's silent classic "Safety Last," film noir great "Out of the Past," recent dramas like "Raging Bull," as well as the avant-garde film "Eaux d"Artifice" and the newsreel "The March of Time: Inside Nazi Germany." Studios and producers have provided new prints of their titles and have waived screening fees. Many archives are represented by their work on tour titles, including the Library of Congress, UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Archives, the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, and the National Archives and Records Administration. Initial funding for the tour was provided by the Library's James Madison Council and the Film Foundation.

The Library of Congress's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division provides public access to the most comprehensive collection of American and foreign-produced film and television in the world. Through the American Television and Radio Archive Act of 1976 and the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the Library has a congressional mandate to preserve the cultural record of American film and broadcast history, as well as lead the development of the country's moving-image preservation policies.

The Library also supports two moving-image preservation laboratories: the Magnetic Recording Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and the Motion Picture Conservation Center (MPCC) in Dayton, Ohio. Since 1970 the MPCC has preserved more than 15,000 feature films, television programs and short subjects, making the Library the largest publicly funded motion picture preservation organization in the United States.

American Movie Classics is the premiere 24-hour movie network featuring award-winning original productions about the world of American film. With one of the finest, most comprehensive libraries of classic films from the 1930s through the 1980s and a diverse blend of original series, documentaries and interstitials, the service offers in-depth information on timeless and contemporary Hollywood classics. Through the network's multiple platforms -- AMC's Web site (http://www.amctv.com (external link)), AMC's original broadband programming and AMC Magazine -- the entertainment provider informs passionate movie fans about the history behind the films. AMC is available in 69 million homes.

American Movie Classics' participation in the tour is coordinated by GREAT!, an Atlanta-based TV promotion agency.


PR 99-087
ISSN 0731-3527