Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna is an internationally recognised film archive with a multi-faceted mission ranging from film preservation and dissemination, film distribution of classics, training and research.
In the late Nineties, under the aegis of the Association Chaplin/Roy Export, Cineteca launched the Chaplin Project to restore Charlie Chaplin’s immense filmography (over 80 titles) with the double aim of allowing old and new generations of film-goers to re-discover this timeless master as well as ensuringe a long lasting preservation of his films. In particular, for all the medium and long features produced by First National and United Artists between 1918 and 1966, special attention was devoted to the films’ different reissues and distribution history to ensure that the restored version would match with Chaplin’s final cut. As for the short comedies produced by the Keystone, Essanay and Mutual companies (1914-1917) which have been in public domain for half a century, an extremely time-consuming and painstaking process has led to the identification, inspection and comparison of hundreds of different film materials from archives world-wide. Restoration work was mostly carried at Cineteca’s laboratory L’Immagine Ritrovata in collaboration with other individuals, entities and institutions like Kevin Brownlow/Photoplay Productions, the British Film Institute, Lobster Films and The Criterion Collection.
Over the course of twenty years, our restorations of films like Modern Times, The Kid, City Lights, and The Gold Rush have been made available world-wide for theatrical release, screenings with live orchestra and home video distribution.
The digitisation and cataloguing of the Chaplin archives has been the other main raison d'être of the Chaplin Project. Under the invaluable guidance of Kate Guyonvarch on behalf of the Chaplin family, and the valuable contribution of several scholars and historians, such as David Robinson and Lisa Stein Haven, the Chaplin Project created an on-line archive which currently allows access to close to 30,000 records (over 180,000 pages) ranging from the late 1800s to the 1990s. Over the last decade, this precious documentation has been consulted by students, documentary-makers, exhibit curators, historians and scholars alike and enormously contributed to expand the narrative and understanding of Chaplin’s art and life. Within this framework, the Chaplin Project continues its mission of disseminating the Chaplin archives through its own initiatives and publications and in partnership with other organisations world-wide.
The digitisation, cataloguing of the Chaplin archives was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of Bologna’s Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio.