Apr 10, 2008


you should know the ONLY reason Ms. Anke Mebold was not in New York to introduce the screening of Helen La Belle is that Artemis (right) came along on 1/1/08.

But mother Mebold did keep an eye on the Helen project. Fortunately, she/we had the state-of-the-art, perfectionist restorers at Haghefilm in Amsterdam doing the restoration of this sweet animated film, made by one of the masters of world cinema, Lotte Reiniger.

And Haghefilm did this marvelous work pro bono, for debut at the Orphan Film Symposium. Another gift came from the Deutsches Filminstitut in the form of this title put onto the new print of Reiniger's film.

This gesture made the screening of HELEN at the tribute to animator Helen Hill all the more special.

And the work that went into preserving and restoring this color-faded film was extensive. Here's some idea of what Haghefilm did.

Source Material:
• 35mm positive “master material” (two reels) from British Film Institute (serious color fading) – Picture 1, below
• 35mm positive (reel 1 only) from Deutsches Filminstitut Frankfurt
• 35mm positive (reel 2 only) from British Film Institute
• 35mm rushes from British Film Institute – Picture 2
Despite serious color fading the two-reel print from the BFI was chosen as source material for the photochemical restoration since it was the most complete source. The rushes were used as color reference. Extensive color timing was required to match the colors to the reference. The sound was recorded from the BFI print and digitally restored (noise, tick and pop removal). •

Now the newly restored 35mm print of HELEN LA BELLE is on its way back to Amsterdam, where Anke will at last get to see it for herself. Perhaps Artemisia will too.