Legendary filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard made a rare personal appearance to accept the 2019 FIAF Award in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 11.
FIAF, the International Federation of Film Archives, a global network of film archivists and cinematists, held its 75th international congress along with members of the worldwide film preservation community. Godard dedicated the award to the memory of Iris Barry (1895-1969), the first curator of the Museum of Modern Art Film Library in New York City, and one of the founders of FIAF.
The FIAF Award was introduced in 2001, when it was presented to Martin Scorcese in honour of his advocacy for film preservation. Since then, the award has branched out to include anyone who has worked to promote filmmaking or film preservation. Past recipients include Ingmar Bergman, Agnes Varda, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Peter Bogdanavich, and Christopher Nolan. Each year’s recipient is chosen from a list of nominations submitted by FIAF-affiliated archives from around the world.
Godard is considered one of the world’s leading directors and the last surviving proponent of the style known as French New Wave. He continued to experiment with new approaches to filmmaking throughout his long career, and has been a powerful influence on later directors. Much of Godard’s work relates to film history and pays tribute to its classics.
Frédéric Maire, president of FIAF and director of the Cinématheque Suisse, explained this year’s choice: “Jean-Luc Godard’s creativity is deeply rooted in his vast knowledge of film history and his years as a film critic…. He has also been always greatly interested in filming techniques, from light cameras to state-of-the-art digital equipment, helping to develop new 35mm small, light cameras…and experimenting with 3D and 7.1 sound. In the early 1970s, he was also one of the first French filmmakers, together with Carole Roussopoulos, to explore the possibilities of the portable Sony video system.”
FIAF, the International Federation of Film Archives, is a global organization dedicated to the preservation of, and access to, the world’s film heritage. Founded in June 1938 with four members (the British Film Institute in London, the Cinémathèque française in Paris, MoMA in New York, and the Reichsfilmarchiv in Berlin), as of 2018 FIAF brings together 166 institutions in 75 countries – reflecting the growth of film heritage as a worldwide concern. FIAF fosters solidarity, exchange and cooperation between the most prominent cinematheques and film archives worldwide. FIAF’s mission comprises the rescue, collection, preservation, screening, and promotion of films, which are valued both as works of art and culture and as historical documents.
FIAF also oversees an ambitious Training and Outreach program, which runs or takes part in training events for professionals of the film archiving field all over the world, and provides assistance to archives in difficulty. FIAF is in official partnership with UNESCO (with consultative status) and is an active member of the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA), which represents the interests of worldwide professional archive organisations having interests in audiovisual materials and coordinates the celebrations of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage each year on 27 October.