More than 60 hours of rushes of Agnes Varda’s 2000 documentary feature The Gleaners and I will now be available for the next generation of international filmmakers thanks to a new educational initiative from France’s National Audiovisual Institute (INA) and Cine-Tamaris.
The project was unveiled in Cannes at the beachside hub of the CNC by Rosalie Varda, the filmmaker’s daughter and CEO of Cine-Tamaris and INA’s deputy general eirector Agnes Chauveau, complete with a surprise visit from Martin Scorsese, who has been closely involved from the start.
“Agnes was the real spirit of cinema and she could make a film out of anything at any time,” said Scorsese. “I thought there must be more footage in all of this footage.” Others might find a way to have their point of view based on her footage.”
Scorsese had asked Varda what would happen to the late filmmaker’s digital footage after her death and the project grew from there.
La Femis’ Pierre-Yves Jourdain and mk2’s Nathanael Karmitz were also present to unveil the five-year project that offers students a bilingual platform available 24/7 where they can view and download the complete collection of rushes in addition to the edited film in addition to educational materials like photos and press kits from the period of the film’s release.
The innovative indexing technique uses artificial intelligence and documentary engineering techniques, applied for the first time to film footage. Students will be able to search for words and pull footage with specific images or merge unused interviews with footage that did make it into the film to create their own spin.
Columbia University and New York University in the US are joining la Femis for a September launch before the project is deployed on all five continents in the coming years. Villa Albertine has been tasked with spearheading the project in the US alongside universities and film schools.
The project is supported by the CNC, Netflix, the Institut Lumiere, la Cinematheque Francaise, La Femis, mk2 Films, Chanel, Ola Stromm and Yggdrasil, the Margaret Herrick Library, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Criterion Collection, Janus Films and the Villa Albertine.
“This bridge between the generations, this constant dialogue is essential,” said CNC president Dominique Boutonnat of the pioneering project bringing French heritage into a new era of filmmaking.
Varda is notably the only female filmmaker to have won a Palme d’Or, Oscar and Cesar award. The Gleaners and I competed in Cannes in 2000 and went on to win awards around the world before Varda released a follow-up film in 2002: The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later.
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