The Film Prayer: Save This Moment

If you had to choose one moment in cinema history to save for all eternity, what would it be?

A couple of weeks ago, the Toronto International Film Festival debuted a short film, narrated by fellow Canadian Keanu Reeves, which was used to help their campaign to help with the preservation and protection of film.

Now, we aren’t just talking about movie moments figuratively, we are talking about actual film, celluloid!

TIFF is currently, and has always been, one of the few organizations in the world committing to protecting projected movie moments on film. Just before December, TIFF announced that it was embarking on an extraordinary project of acquiring the tree film print collections from:  NBC Universal, Mongrel Media and eOne Entertainment.

In the process of acquiring these collection, TIFF has also housed over 1,300 35mm prints, of classic films in world cinema, to newer, contemporary favourites and cult classics. TIFF goes on to include the following films in their collection: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954), Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958), Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978), John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985), The Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski (1992), Duncan Jones’ Moon (2009), Brian Glazer’s Under The Skin (2013) and so many more.

In addition for your help, TIFF’s short film, titled The Film Prayer, narrated by Canadian icon actor Keanu Reeves, is such a beautiful tribute to projection films, the very antique and rare celluloid circulating the world today and most of all, is just a wonderful reminder why film and the power of cinema is so important to each and every one of us. If you haven’t seen this short, its only two short minutes and I encourage EVERYONE to watch it. Its beautiful! Even if you haven’t watched it, you should watch it again…its just THAT wonderful.

Fire it up below!

I am film. Not steel. 

Oh user have mercy, I front dangers whenever I travel the whirling wheels of mechanism. Over the sprocket wheels held tight by the idlers, I am forced by the motor’s magic might. 

If a careless hands miss-threads me, I have no alternative but to go to my death. If the pull on the take up wheel is too violent, I am torn to shreds. 

If dirt collects in the aperture, my film of beauty is streaked and marred and I must face my beholders; a thing ashamed and then spoiled. 

Please, if I break, never fasten me with pins which lacerate the fingers of my inspectors. 

I travel many miles in tin cans. I am tossed on heavy trucks, sideways and upside down. 

Speed me on my way. 

Others are waiting to see me. The next day, is the last day, I should be held. 

Have a heart for the other fellow who is waiting, and for my owner, who will get the blame. 

I am a delicate ribbon of film, misuse me and I disappoint thousands; cherish me and I delight, and instruct, the world!

The text was supposedly written by A.P. Hollis in the 1920s, a projectionist who apparently wrote the poem to caution fellow projectionist on the precise art and care for film projectionists world wide. This poem was made available to all non-theatrical film distributors to promote better handling of film and could be found inside film cans for many years.

TIFF is raising vital funds to support the acquisition of incredible 35mm film prints. A diverse collection of acclaimed homegrown and international cinema, these prints are now being revised, frame-by-frame, by the TIFF staff, then stored and archived with the utmost care.

If you are an avid film-goer, enthusiast, or just someone who cannot bear to see these amazing prints get in the wrong hands, TIFF need your support. Anything helps! Your generosity and donations help.

Help “Save This Moment” and visit:

To make this possible, please consider the following donation amounts:

  • $1750 helps care for five prints for four years
  • $350 covers the cost to store and take care of one film print for four years;
  • $163 allows a projectionist to carefully review an entire print, frame-by-frame;
  • $62 pays for the archival supplies needed in order to make a print presentable for audiences;
  • $15 covers the cost to have a film librarian receive, catalogue, and archive one print

Music by Menalon
Produced by TIFF

This effort, along with TIFF as a whole, is one of the MANY reasons I am PROUD to be a Canadian, Torontonian, and most of all, a student and admirer of the wonderful world of cinema.

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