Archivist Rick Prelinger to receive lifetime achievement award

The author, filmmaker and footage expert will be honored at this year's edition of the FOCAL International Awards, to be held in London this May.
February 21, 2012

Archivist, author and filmmaker Rick Prelinger will receive a lifetime achievement award at the FOCAL International Awards in London on May 2.

Prelinger’s lifelong interest in archive began when he served as director of research on Obie Benz’s documentary Heavy Petting. He began collecting what he called “ephemeral films,” tracking down educational, industrial and advertising films and forming the Prelinger Archives.

In 1989, Prelinger published Footage 89: North American Film & Video Sources, the first directory of moving image sources in North America, and followed it up with Footage 91. In 1994, he entered into a partnership with Getty Images which made high-resolution versions of his films available to media companies worldwide.

In 2002, his collection of 60,000 films and 40,000 cans of unedited footage was passed on to the Library of Congress.

“Rick Prelinger and Getty Images’ combined history dates back to 1994,” said Josh Rucci, senior director, media and broadcast, Getty Images. “Since then, Getty Images has represented industrial, educational and home movie video from the Prelinger Archives in all media, pushing many thousands of archival shots and clips back into the contemporary media stream.”

“Rick is truly a worthy winner of the lifetime achievement award,” added Lord Puttnam, chair of patrons for FOCAL International. “He has dedicated his life to the discovery and preservation of a vast amount of precious footage that documents myriad aspects of American history, and has enabled thousands of filmmakers to explore that history further.”

Final nominations for the FOCAL International Awards’ best use of footage and best restorations categories will be announced in March. Tickets for the May 2 ceremony are available at the FOCAL International website.

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