Amitabh Bachchan shared this image. (courtesy amitabhbachchan)
- The virtual ceremony scheduled to take place on March 19
- The FIAF Award was introduced in 2001
- Big B was last seen in 'Gulabo Sitabo'
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan will be conferred with the 2021 FIAF Award by The International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), the organisation of film archives and museums from across the world, at a virtual ceremony scheduled to take place on March 19. As per Variety, iconic filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan, who have been previous recipients, will give the award to Big B for his contribution to the preservation of and access to the world's film heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.
At the opening ceremony of the 2018 Kolkata Film Festival, Amitabh Bachchan had delivered an impassioned speech on film preservation, saying that most films of Indian filmmaking legends have "gone up in flames or have been discarded on the scrap heap."
"Very little of this great film heritage survives, and if we do not take urgent steps to save what remains, in another hundred years there will be no memory of these films and nothing left to celebrate," the actor had said.
Amitabh Bachchan was nominated by the FIAF-affiliate Film Heritage Foundation, an Indian film archival organisation founded by filmmaker and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. He pointed out that India's track record in film preservation is dismal. By 1950, India had lost almost 70 per cent of its films, and of the 1,338 silent films made in India, some 29 survive, many only in fragments.
He said that Amitabh Bachchan "constructively wielded his influence to amplify the cause on a war footing," in South Asia and that he was the unanimous choice of the 172 FIAF-affiliated archives for the award. Martin Scorsese also commented on Big B and said, "Amitabh Bachchan's advocacy for preserving India's film legacy has been exceptional."
Christopher Nolan, who is a staunch supporter of celluloid over digital, said, "As a past recipient of the FIAF Award, I know how imperative it is that representatives of the film industry around the world come together to ensure that we preserve our film heritage. Congratulating Amitabh Bachchan, Nolan said, "he has played an essential role in putting the cause of film preservation on the map in India and the subcontinent."
The FIAF Award was introduced in 2001 when it was presented to Scorsese for his film archival efforts. It has since recognised personalities from outside the archival scene who have worked to advocate the cause of film preservation.
Past winners of the award include Ingmar Bergman (2003), Mike Leigh (2005), Hou Hsiao-hsien (2006), Peter Bogdanovich (2007), Rithy Panh (2009), Agnes Varda (2013), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (2016), Christopher Nolan (2017), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2018), Jean-Luc Godard (2019), and Walter Salles (2020).
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