Amitabh Bachchan to be honoured with 2021 FIAF Award
Mumbai/IBNS: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan will be honoured with the prestigious 2021 FIAF Award by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), the worldwide organization of film archives and museums from across the world, at a virtual showcase scheduled to take place on March 19.
Bachchan’s name was nominated by the FIAF affiliate Film Heritage Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded by filmmaker and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, dedicated to the preservation, restoration, documentation, exhibition, and study of India’s film heritage.
In a landmark moment for Indian cinema, icons of world cinema and film directors Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan, who also share a long-standing relationship with India through their affiliation with the Film Heritage Foundation, will bestow the award on Bachchan for his dedication and contribution to the preservation of the world’s film heritage for the benefit of present and future generations at a virtual presentation.
The highly regarded National Award-winning film superstar will be the very first Indian to receive this esteemed global award.
Previous recipients include legends of world cinema such as Martin Scorsese (2001), Manoel de Oliveira (2002), Ingmar Bergman (2003), Geraldine Chaplin (2004), Mike Leigh (2005), Hou Hsiao-hsien (2006), Peter Bogdanovich (2007), Nelson Pereira dos Santos (2008), Rithy Panh (2009), Liv Ullmann (2010), Kyoko Kagawa (2011), Agnès Varda (2013), Jan Švankmajer (2014), Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi (2015), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (2016), Christopher Nolan (2017), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2018), Jean-Luc Godard (2019), and Walter Salles (2020).
The FIAF Award was introduced in 2001, when it was presented to Martin Scorsese. Since then, the award has branched out to include personalities from outside the archival world who have worked to advocate the cause of film preservation.
Acknowledging the global recognition, which also spotlights India on the world stage, Bachchan stated, “I am greatly honoured to receive the FIAF Award for the year 2021 for a cause that I am deeply committed to. It was when I became the ambassador of Film Heritage Foundation in 2015, that I realized the extent of the neglect and colossal loss of our precious film heritage and how we continue to lose more of our legacy every day."
"Recognizing the urgency of the situation, I have been working closely with Film Heritage Foundation since its inception to do everything in our power to save our films and to build a movement for film preservation in our part of the world."
"We must strengthen the idea that film archiving is as essential as filmmaking, and I do hope that we are able to garner further support for this most essential cause from my colleagues in the film industry and the government, to enable us to realize our dream for building a centre that will preserve and showcase our magnificent film heritage,” said the superstar.
Frédéric Maire, President of FIAF, explained this year’s choice: “This year FIAF celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its annual Award. To mark this momentous occasion, there could be no better recipient than one of the world's greatest movie stars, and one who has understood, embraced, and publicized the cause of film preservation for years."
"FIAF has been been active in India and South Asia, thanks to its close collaboration with Film Heritage Foundation, since 2015. By presenting our prestigious FIAF Award to Amitabh Bachchan, we want to show the world how rich and diverse, but also how fragile, this unique film heritage is, and we want to publicly thank Mr. Bachchan for his role as a high-profile advocate for the rescue of this heritage, in India and beyond," said he.
Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Founder, Film Heritage Foundation, who was instrumental in nominating Amitabh Bachchan for the award, said, “India's record in film preservation is dismal. By 1950, India lost almost 70 percent of its films, and of the 1338 silent films made in India, just about 29 survive, many only in fragments. Our foundation has been working relentlessly to preserve what remains of our endangered film heritage not just in India, but in the subcontinent."
"This has been a cause that has been much neglected in our part of the world, and we have been fortunate enough to enjoy the unstinting support of our ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan, who has championed the cause of saving our film heritage and constructively wielded his influence to amplify the cause on a war footing in our part of the world. This is the reason we nominated him for the award, and he was unanimously voted by all FIAF Executive Committee members to be given the award,” said he.
The Film Foundation’s board of directors includes Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Robert Redford, Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Curtis Hanson, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, and Alexander Payne.
Renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese stated, “Safeguarding cinema is a global cause with champions all over the world. Amitabh Bachchan’s advocacy for preserving India’s film legacy has been exceptional. With a career spanning over five decades, he is a celebrated actor who has put the considerable weight of his reputation behind the cause of film preservation in India and the entire subcontinent."
"I would like to thank Shivendra Singh Dungarpur and Film Heritage Foundation for nominating Amitabh Bachchan for the 2021 FIAF Award and the FIAF Executive Committee for unanimously backing this nomination. They could not have chosen a more deserving individual to recognize this year."
A member of the American National Film Preservation Board, renowned filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who has always promoted the consumption of celluloid films in an age of digital formats stated, “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."
"I want to congratulate Amitabh Bachchan on receiving the 2021 honour. As the ambassador for Film Heritage Foundation, he has played an essential role in putting the cause of film preservation on the map in India and the subcontinent,” he said.