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As a young boy, Martin Scorsese was immediately spellbound by the dazzling Technicolor film The Red Shoes (1948). “It expresses so much about the burning need for art, and I identified with that feeling the very first time I saw the picture,” recalled the filmmaker. As the founder and chair of The Film Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to saving motion picture history, Scorsese chose the UCLA Film & Television Archive to help undertake the restoration of the beloved classic in 2006.

Much of what survived was in poor condition — mold had attacked the original negatives, leaving thousands of cracks and fissures. When the painstaking, two-and-a-half year-long project was completed, it was celebrated as a major technical achievement that revealed a cinematic masterpiece more resplendent and richer in detail than what had existed before. Today, The Red Shoes restoration is widely available to film lovers, students and researchers through streaming, home video, revival screenings and onsite viewing at the UCLA Library.

The Red Shoes is among over 100 Film & Television Archive restoration and preservation projects made possible so far thanks to the support of The Film Foundation. These projects range from silent treasures and studio-era classics to landmark independent works. A current Film Foundation-funded project is The Burning Cross (1947), one of the first narrative features of its era to directly address the racist violence of the Ku Klux Klan against Black Americans. “The Film & Television Archive has been so fortunate to partner with the Foundation from their very inception in the 1990s,” said Jillian Borders, the head of Preservation at the Archive. “Their continuous support has enabled the Archive to preserve a wide range of historically and culturally significant works — including experimental shorts, Technicolor features and international titles — to be discovered by audiences now and in the future.”