With the long history of moving image collection and preservation, materials await handling are still vast, though much-needed resources for these efforts are limited. In Hong Kong we face great obstacles in collecting these materials and presenting film heritage to the public, and little light is shed on the collection and preservation of moving images besides feature films. In Asia, a number of non-governmental organisations, for instance those in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore have been founded to contribute to various aspects of audio-visual heritage preservation, complementing existing efforts in this regard. Founded by practitioners of film restoration and programming in 2018, Reel to Reel Institute, a non-profit arts organisation, sets out to learn from the experience of these regional counterparts in our efforts to promote preservation of audio-visual heritage.

Our Missions

To cover and promote activities for the preservation of cinematic and audio-visual heritage around the world.

To support research on, and preservation, restoration and collection of local and regional moving image works, in particular shorts, experimental films, documentaries, music videos, home videos, commercials and television programmes.

To advocate the materiality of cinema and the importance of conserving and restoring the original source material of any moving image works.

To diffuse film culture and expand the audience base, with a historical, educational and artistic approach, by presenting programmes including screenings and exhibitions as well as film distribution, publications, seminars, workshops or other activities related to audio-visual heritage preservation.

To partner with different organisations ensuring that overlooked but important historical audio-visual works receive the proper treatment they deserve.

To facilitate skill development for local film practitioners in moving image collection, exhibition and preservation.

Reel to Reel Institute’s logo is a model of carbon arc lamp, light source of the earliest film projectors, which had been used until the late 1960s. In a carbon arc lamp, the electrodes are carbon rods in free air. To ignite the lamp, the rods are touched together, thus allowing a relatively low voltage to strike the arc. The rods are then slowly drawn apart, and electric current heats and maintains an arc across the gap. The tips of the carbon rods are heated and the carbon vaporises. The carbon vapour in the arc is highly luminous, which is what produces the bright light. The rods are slowly burnt away in use, and the distance between them needs to be regularly adjusted in order to maintain the arc. The length of those carbons was about 20 minutes which also dictated the length of the reel. Prior to the 1960s, projectionists used a ‘change over system’. The carbons and film reels in one machine would be refreshed while the other machine was running. It is also the meaning behind ‘Reel to Reel’, in the notion of impetus, preservation and inheritance.

If you support our mission, donations are welcome to offset our operating expenses.
Should you have any questions, please contact us at info@reeltoreel.org.