This is the success story of cross-border collaboration between organisations working in the field of film heritage to preserve and promote cinema culture. The Slovenian Cinematheque, the Austrian Film Museum, the Croatian State Archive – Croatian Cinematheque, and the Sarajevo Film Center united forces to digitise and restore Slike iz života udarnika (Life of a Shock Force Worker, 1972, Yugoslavia, Bahrudin ‘Bato’ Čengić). The project was carried out from May 2022 to April 2023 in the context of the 2022 edition of A Season of Classic Films, by the Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE) with the support of Creative Europe MEDIA programme – the EU programme supporting the audiovisual and film sectors – and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.
Connecting European film heritage with new audiences
The film was censored and withdrawn from distribution since its national and international premieres at the Pula Film Festival and Venice Film Festival in 1972. After half a century, this project has given the film a new life and audience.
In addition to the premiere during the 80th Venice International Film Festival, the film has already been presented in several events across Europe.
- Premiere in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Film Center Sarajevo in collaboration with Sarajevo Film Festival organised an open-air screening in Sarajevo with an attendance of around 2.000 people.
- Premiere in Slovenia: The Slovenian Cinematheque organised a screening in Cankarjev dom (Slovenia’s largest Cultural and Congress centre) with members of the original crew.
- Premiere in Austria, in the Austrian Film Museum and at the Viennale, Vienna International Film Festival.
- Premiere in Croatia, during the Zagreb Film Festival.
The film was also available to online audiences via the ArteKino Classics programme. For three months, film-lovers across Europe could enjoy it free of charge with subtitles in six languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Polish).
ICOM Award in the field of international cooperation
The International Council of Museums (Slovenian branch) has recognised the collaborative efforts with its 2023 Award in the field of international cooperation. This award is given to individuals, groups or organisations that establish a dialogue at the international level and promote the development and importance of museums as institutions and bring new ideas and contribute to the development of consciousness.
In the award justification, ICOM pointed out that “the value of the project is also reflected in the successful cooperation of experts from the wider international domain for the preservation of film heritage. The digital restoration process itself has improved the knowledge and establishment of best practices for film restoration in Slovenia.”
For dates and access links of the upcoming free screenings of A Season of Classic Films in cinemas across Europe and online, please follow ACE’s website and social media pages on Instagram | Facebook | X-Twitter.