The Handmade Film Institute was started in 2003 in recognition of the the value of motion picture film as an artistic medium whose existence, given the changing landscape of moving image technology, can no longer be taken for granted. The Institute’s mission is to preserve the knowledge and technical ability necessary for working with the medium of film, and to promote both the aesthetics of film and experimentation that further expands the techniques used with and within the medium. To this end, the Institute is pursuing several courses of action:
1) to collect any and all information about film chemistry and make this information available to artists who would work with film;
2) to offer regular workshops, retreats, and classes that convey this information and how to use it safely, as well as to provide time and place for groups of like-minded filmmakers to share and create;
3) to collect the physical resources necessary to the production of film, as these resources may soon be commercially unavailable;
4) to be a focal point in the community of artists who choose to work with film in times to come.
The Handmade Film Institute makes only the assertion that film is a beautiful medium in its own right, and as such warrants preserving as a viable artistic medium. It represents an enormous technical and aesthetic achievement, and is in many ways a crowning glory of industrialism and science up to the late twentieth century. Like oil painting in the age of photography, it offers the artist a creative possibilities which cannot be fully duplicated by any other means, particularly in its unique combination of the tactile and the ephemeral. We make no claims as to the relative merits of this or any other imaging technology; all media have their place, and precisely that insight underlies our formation.