Saving Parajanov’s Legacy

At Fixafilm, we have a special relationship with Sergei Parajanov’s works – we have restored his films and organized special exhibitions featuring his filmmaking. As 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of Sergei Parajanov’s birth, the Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna planned a significant retrospective of his work. However, the lack of high-quality digital copies of many of his films, especially those from Ukraine, presented a major challenge. The ongoing war with Russia further complicated the creation of new copies, as moving the original materials out of Ukraine became impossible. 

Faced with this challenge, we decided to take action. At the start of 2024, it became clear that the films could not leave Ukraine for digitization. Łukasz Ceranka, our co-founder, who supervised this project,  proposed transporting our film scanner to the Dovzhenko Centre in Kyiv to digitize on-site Ukraine’s most treasured cinematic works, including Parajanov’s films. This proposal was met with enthusiasm and a determination to overcome the logistical and safety hurdles involved. 

In early May 2024, amidst ongoing conflict, we successfully installed the scanner at the Dovzhenko Centre. Our team conducted comprehensive training sessions for the local staff, who demonstrated remarkable resilience and dedication to preserving their cultural heritage. The collaboration between our team in Warsaw and the professionals at the Dovzhenko Centre has been instrumental in navigating this complex project. 

Currently, the digitization process is underway, remotely supervised from Warsaw. This endeavour is particularly challenging due to the war, with daily air raid alarms and frequent power outages disrupting the workflow. Despite these difficulties, the project is progressing thanks to the unwavering commitment of everyone involved. 

Remarkably, we have achieved this almost without any external funding. This project is a testament to what can be accomplished through sheer determination and a shared passion for cultural preservation. We are proud to play a role in safeguarding the legacy of Sergei Parajanov and Ukrainian cinema, ensuring that these invaluable works can be appreciated by future generations. 

This project underscores the importance of international collaboration in the arts, especially in times of crisis. It highlights how the global film community can come together to protect and celebrate cultural heritage. We remain committed to this mission, inspired by the resilience and creativity of those we work with.