NEWS ARTICLESReprinted from: The Hollywood Reporter
World's Pre-eminent Film Archive of the Middle East Goes to King Faisal Center
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Franklin Film Archive of the Middle East, the pre-eminent assemblage of Middle East film footage in the world, has donated a copy of the Archives to the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.
Valued by experts at $45 million, the 120 hour film archive (never before available to the public) has been lauded as an invaluable and unique historical asset. Dr. Carney Gavin, former Director of the Harvard University Semetic Museum, now Curator of the Archives of Historical Documentation, stated, "It is almost impossible to exaggerate the long-term value of the Franklin Film Archive of the Middle East. Ms. Franklin traveled to places a camera had never been before and opened up the Middle East with an unerring journalist's eye. There is scarcely an aspect of regional life not illustrated by Ms. Franklin and it is unlikely that anyone will be able to do this type of reportage in these areas anytime soon."
The Franklin Film Archive of the Middle East was created as Jo Franklin filmed throughout the area from 1980 through 1994 for several acclaimed documentaries which aired on PBS: "Saudi Arabia" (1981), "The Oil Kingdoms" (1983), "Days of Rage: The Young Palestinians" (1989) and "Islam: A Civilization and its Art" (1994).
U.S. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf said of "Days of Rage," "This film helped change the course of history." Entertainment Tonight hailed the program as "the most controversial film of the decade" while USA Today called it, "A compelling chronicle of conditions among Palestinians that resulted in the ongoing intifada/uprising..."
"The Oil Kingdoms," covering Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, was nominated for an Emmy Award and received top prize at New York's International Film and Television Festival.
The three-part series "Saudi Arabia" called "...a stroke of genius" by Los Angeles Times reviewer Kenneth Clark, aired to rave reviews, unprecedented audience numbers, and repeated worldwide broadcasts. Throughout Operation Desert Storm, Franklin's films were used by the U.S. military and State Department to train personnel for deployment to the Gulf.
In addition to the broadcast documentaries, the Franklin Film Archive contains 111 hours of unaired footage obtained as the filmmaker took cameras to never before filmed Middle Eastern cities, villages and deserts- unprecedented access during a brief time of relative openness post-1970s oil embargo and pre-1990s Desert Shield/Storm. She documented the landscapes and interviewed kings, presidents, women, children, businessmen, Bedouins, historians and religious leaders about their lifestyle, politics, history, art, religion, defense, and economics.
Franklin's breadth of knowledge of the Middle East was noted by former press secretary to former U.S. President Carter, Jody Powell as he summed up her films and Gulf War novel, The Wing of the Falcon, "The author knows the Middle East as few do, and tells a story as few can." Gen. Schwarzkopf concurred, praising the "vivid portrayal of the history, culture, society, politics and challenges of the Arab world. Jo Franklin understands the subtleties of these forces and can write about them better than anyone."
Franklin served as Senior Producer of the "MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour," covering the White House, Congress, the Middle East and the Defense Department and was named "One of the Top 50 Film Producers in the U.S." by Millimeter Magazine. Now president of SeaCastle Films, a Los Angeles-based motion picture and television company, she is directing the movie, "The Wing of the Falcon" based on the novel. She will subsequently direct a new documentary series on the Gulf region.
"The Collection is a unique cache of film that provides an unparalleled in-depth look at the Middle East," said Timothy Kittleson, Director of UCLA Film & Television Archive which recently had the Franklin Archive on loan and is internationally renowned for preservation of historically important film. "Only nine hours of the 120 hour Franklin Film Archive have ever been telecast. We hope that you will eventually decide to donate the collection. It is a unique asset and should be made available."
Ms. Franklin explained the choice of the King Faisal Center as the only recipient of a copy of the Archives. "It is their history and should reside with them. It is my deepest hope that the different cultures of the world come to better understand and appreciate their differences and similarities in an effort toward peace. I have always felt that the King Faisal Center in the Islamic world, headed by Ambassador Turki Al Faisal, shares that vision and goal."
The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Saudi Arabia, with more than one million books, rare manuscripts, and audio visual material throughout its four different libraries is now considered the principal resource in the world on Islamic civilization. The Center provides comprehensive logistical support to students and researchers free of charge, its goal to train a new generation of scholars specialized in the fields of Islamic studies, Arabic languages, and the social sciences. Using top state of the art preservation methods for its collections, it fosters scholarship starting with the children's library up to translations of the world's rarest manuscripts and scientific treatise. Said Ms. Franklin: "The greatest libraries of the ancient Muslim world at Baghdad, Alexandria and Cordoba have disappeared, but fortunately this important tradition continues with the King Faisal Center."
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