Deluxe announced that it is struggling to identify and locate the owners of thousands of film elements left unclaimed in its now-closed Hollywood film vault. The situation arose during the shutdown of Deluxe’s historic Hollywood film lab last May. Prior to closing the lab, the company worked closely with the major studios and others to ensure that tens of thousands of film elements were returned to their rightful owners.
Of approximately 150,000 orphan elements in Deluxe’s possession at the time of the lab closure, roughly 40,000 elements remain unclaimed.
Deluxe said that it is collaborating with major and independent studios, and working closely with the Academy Film Archive and other organizations to ensure all assets are properly stored and safely preserved.
“Deluxe grew up with the motion picture industry, and as the company approaches its centennial anniversary it continues to play an essential role in the industry’s ongoing evolution,” Deluxe COO Warren Stein said. “In keeping with that legacy and continued commitment, we are eager to find ways of appropriately preserving these unclaimed film elements which have been orphaned into our possession.”
The accumulation of materials has been decades in the making. Orphaned film elements are films that do not have a current owner or copyright holder. These orphaned elements run the gamut from original color negatives and digital originals to production elements called internegatives, interpositives and optical soundtrack negatives. They were placed into film vaults during the postproduction and distribution phases of work on various motion pictures dating back to the early 1960s.
Many of the pre-1999 materials are from independent productions mounted by companies that may have ceased operations or otherwise lost track of the materials. The Academy Film Archive has been assisting Deluxe in completing the necessary research and documentation to inventory these older titles. They have selected nearly 800 titles so far, which amounts to more than 7,500 individual film elements to conserve in the Academy Film Archive vaults.
“Film is our history. It shows us vividly who we were as a culture and a society,” said Michael Pogorzelski, director of the Academy Film Archive. “We are grateful to be working with Deluxe to archive and preserve these films in the Academy’s collections. “
Stein said Deluxe and its archive partners are determined to unearth as many additional clues about any as-yet unclaimed materials. “We say to all of the studios, production companies and filmmakers with whom Deluxe has had the pleasure to work over the many years – if you think you might have an ownership claim to any film elements in our possession, we ask that you contact us as soon as possible,” he said.
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/DeluxeFilmLab.