UNESCO honours Thai National Film Archives


MUMBAI: On 21 October, at the occasion of The Phuket Film Festival in Thailand, UNESCO presented the Minister of Culture, H.E. Mrs. Si-Arun Khaisi, with a Fellini Silver Medal Award and a certificate of commendation for the Thai National Film Archives’ excellent work within UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme.

The award was given to Thai National Film Archives in recognition for its preservation and access work over the years. The Fellini Silver Medal is given for outstanding achievements. When Italian director Federico Fellini died in 1993, UNESCO’s Member States had just adopted a General Conference resolution calling for the safeguarding of the cinematographic heritage. An appeal was launched to the international community inviting governments, industry and the public to participate in a campaign to keep the seventh art alive. The Fellini medal, unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1994, therefore had a dual significance: to honour the director’s tremendous contribution to film as an art form and to commemorate the centenary of the birth of cinema (1895-1995).

The award was presented at the Phuket Film Festival where one of the objectives was to raise awareness amongst Asian film makers for the need for preservation and proper archiving of audiovisual cultural and historical attributes. The film festival was initiated by the Thai epic ‘The King of the White Elephant’ preserved by the Thai National Film Archive under the Ministry of Culture.

The Memory of the World programme is concerned with the preservation of documentary heritage which is the written word on paper, palm leaves or stone and audiovisual materials including films. These documents may reflect a period of momentous change in world affairs or make an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the world at a particularly important time in history. In Asia and the Pacific, the regional body, Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific (MOWCAP), emphasizes to governments the importance of the Memory of the World programme.