Important Housekeeping

A whole lot of interesting and significant stuff going on right now. Let's go through this material quickly.

First, another important film archive is under financial threat from its local government, this time in (the admittedly beleaguered economy of ) Spain.

The following is a series of e-mails regarding the IVAC, the Valencia Film Institute, that has been circulating on the list belonging to the Association of Moving Image Archivists. I have taken the liberty of including only the English translations. The e-mail originated from Almudena Escobar Lopez, a writer and film curator.

   I am just fowarding this email I received yesterday from the workers of the IVAC (Valencian Film Institute) asking for support. The institute is going to be supressed and integrated within a new cultural entity created by the Valencian administration. This will mean a drastic cut in budgets and staff, estimated at 40%, which will affect the activities and quality of service. In addition, the extinction of the legal status of IVAC is accompanied by the probable dispersion of its services in the new body, and even the possibility of closing some of their branches. 

   I attached their manifesto with a brief explanation of the situation and their email below with the instructions to decide to show your solidarity with them:
Dear friend,

The workers of the IVAC turn to you for your relationship with the institution and appeal to your sensibility and solidarity with the problems besetting us. Given the uncertainty and black perspectives that accompany such a change in terms of the functions and services provided by the IVAC and the goal of the administration to fire 40% of the Valencian public employees, the workers of the IVAC have drafted a statement that you can find attached to this message.
if you agree with us, show your solidarity by responding to this email ( with the words:

I support  the statement  of the workers of the IVAC and I request to maintain  the integrity of the institution, its fonctions and its staff.

If you consider it appropriate, indicate your name and link to the IVAC, either as a user, researcher, professional, association, etc..

Thank you for supporting

The workers of the IVAC


On World Heritage Day, the workers of the Instituto Valenciano del Audiovisual y la Cinematografía Ricardo Muñoz Suay (IVAC) consider necessary to state the following. The IVAC, as we know it, goes away to join a new public entity called CulturArts Generalitat, which was approved by decree on Friday October 19th and that covers most of the cultural institutions now existing. This will mean a drastic cut in budgets and staff, estimated at 40%, which will affect the activities and quality of service. In addition, the extinction of the legal status of IVAC is accompanied by the probable dispersion of its services in the new body, and even the possibility of closing some of their branches. We understand this is a huge cultural loss, totally unnecessary.

Since its inception in 1985 the Filmoteca, IVAC now, has become an internationally recognized organization that counts among its partners and collaborators with professionals, historians, festivals and institutions worldwide. The IVAC concentrates all powers relating to the audiovisual field in Valencia fulfilling tasks of acquisition, conservation, restoration, cataloging, documentation, publications, programming, promotion, distribution and administration. All this is accomplished with by a small and highly specialized staff and without generating any debt.

THE IVAC is a member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) since 1995 and of the Association de Cinématques Européennes (ACE), which she co-founded, and has participated and participates in numerous international projects, many of them financed by the European Union, along with other film archives and museums. Its archive holds a collection of more than 29,000 movies and includes valuable jewels. Restoration works, more than a hundred, have recovered lost films of great importance for the history of cinema. In these 27 years, the Film Library has published more than 150 books. Its documentation center, which includes video library, library and newspaper archives, has served so far this year more than 8000 people. It develops programs to help industry and promotes the establishment, training, and dissemination of audiovisual production, which has contributed to the existence of a Valencian audiovisual patrimony that becomes part of our cultural heritage. They are high impact programs as evidenced by the project Curts, whose short films called last year to more than 30,000 people worldwide only at festivals, not to mention its projection in cinemas, televisions and all screens, getting 40,000 euros in prizes. All this, with minimal investment by the Generalitat.

More than 100,000 people showed up at its theater rooms in Valencia, Castellón and Alicante, and more than 40,000 so far this year in the Valencian screening theater Luis G. Berlanga, that can also see cut their sessions. Since its opening, thousands of movies of all nationalities, ages, sizes and styles have been screened, offering open access to the entire history of cinema, and has brought to our city hundreds of local and foreign filmmakers. It also is responsible for the annual International Film Festival Cinema Jove. They manage over 1200 deposits, legacies and donations, including movies, documents and valuable artwork, from the personal archives of filmmakers, writers, film scholars and individuals who have relied on the prestige of the Cinematheque and on the good practice of its professionals. With the disappearance of IVAC, this confidence may disappear, both by the loss of its legal personality and identity, and the dispersion and dismissals of part of its personnel.

Five years before the creation of the Film Archive, in 1980, UNESCO drafted the "Recommendation for the safeguarding and preservation of moving images." In that document, UNESCO states that moving images are part of the cultural heritage of a nation and are part of the World Heritage as a whole. Recognizes the physical weakness of the moving images and the need to keep them in proper technical condition and considers the loss of these images as an impoverishment of the cultural heritage. Therefore recommends that the authorities ensure the safeguard of this heritage as they do with other forms of culture, creating nonprofit archives to prevent the loss of domestic production and where access is assured to the citizenship. That is the commitment of the IVAC and its reason to be: to preserve the audiovisual heritage and ensure the dissemination and citizen access to media culture.

The management of safeguarding heritage and visual culture by trained personnel, highly specialized and guarantor of the quality of service from the administrative tasks to the development of activities, has approved the IVAC to film archives and institutions engaged with cultural heritage worldwide. These duties, in better or worse circumstances, have been performed since the beginning, but now, with the cuttings, the loss of identity and the danger of disintegration and disappearance of their services and their employees, may be severely threatened.

This is a public service. We work for you and share your interest in film. Therefore, we notify you this situation, because we believe that affects everyone: workers, professionals, users and audiences. Be aware that damage to the heritage and culture will be irreparable.
                                                                                                    WORKERS OF IVAC


Next piece of dark news, this time not about film. There's a report from the Congressional Research Service about the effect of tax rates on economic growth that the  great apostles of "freedom" on the Republican side of the aisle in the Senate don't want you to read. I feel it is my civic duty to make sure you can find it.
It's here (thank you, New York Times):  


It might seem almost frivolous after those two items to mention one of my day jobs, as artistic director of the Washington Heights Film Class, but even a film critic has to eat.

We have two more regularly scheduled programs coming up and a special fund-raising event. In addition, we have our 2013 schedule completed and read for your perusal. I direct your attention to our website, and urge you to come by next Thursday, November 8 for our next class. I think you'll be glad you did, if you are really interested in film.

And you can find my review of three recent films on the Jewish Week website here. There should be another two-film piece up shortly and I'll link to it when it appears.

Finally, a lot of the NYC downtown and Brooklyn independent film venues are taking a severe beating thanks to the power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy; I urge you to support them even more avidly when they re-open. 

And don't forget to vote on Tuesday. If you don't, you'd better not show your face around me, pal.