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'Jazz on a Summer's Day:' Restoring A Classic

The 1959 classic Jazz on a Summer's Day is considered one of the most extraordinary and possibly the first concert film ever made.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sandra Schulberg, President and Executive Director of IndieCollect, the company responsible for the stunning restoration and re-release of the now-classic music documentary Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1959), being released on August 12.

While many of us are aware that movies from the past are being restored and re-released, few of us are aware of the process involved.

Schulberg talks about the restoration in Bert Stern’s classic jazz concert documentary in great detail, including the digital equipment required as well as the team of experts needed.

She also talks about the mission of the non-profit organization IndieCollect, in her words, “to rescue, restore and reactivate” independently produced films.

In many cases, these forgotten film canisters sit in warehouses where they deteriorate from neglect, dampness and mold and the ravages of time itself.

One such location is here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, formerly known as the WRS Lab where as many as 10,000 films are slowly deteriorating to the point of being lost forever.

There's an attempt to raise the funds necessary to move the films to a safe storage area and begin the process of identifying and preserving them.

It’s a monumental task on the part of a small army of dedicated film lovers with a special interest in the genre of independent films that began in the years following WWII.

Funding for the restoration of Jazz on a Summer’s Day was provided by the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress in time to celebrate the film's 60th Anniversary.

Jazz on a Summer’s Day opens in virtual cinemas nationwide on August 12 and will be available to rent online here in Pittsburgh through Carnegie Science Center's Rangos Giant Theater, beginning August 14.

Indie film lovers can support IndieCollect's campaign to preserve American independent films by donating now.

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