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Regional Film History in Post-Independence India | Shabistan Film Archive

A collection of celluloid ephemera from India

Project Abstract

This project aims to explore a collection of celluloid film reels dating from the 20th century that are at great risk of destruction: lost to dereliction at labs, out of use due to obsolete technology, and prone to recyclability for their scrap value. The content of this material includes narrative cinema from regional film industries, documentary reels and home movies, along with less well represented and traditionally undervalued matter such as film trailers, commercials and advertisements. This project aims to bring to light the diverse regional histories of film in post-independence India and to systematically explore digitization of film reels.

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Highlighting the Diversity of Indian Film

During their survey work, the Shabistan team idenified a wide range of film cultures, including films from different regions, in numerous languages, and spanning a host of genres. The collection includes films from the Children's Film Society of India, a state funded institute that creates films to stimulate a child's creativity, compassion and critical thinking. Awareness and access to the collection through Shabistan has opened up research opportunities for scholars.

Read these scholarly reflections to learn more about the CFSI Collection and the importance of Shabistan's work to preserve and catalogue the films: