Bachchan will be the first Indian actor to be bestowed with the FIAF Award for his “dedication and contribution to the preservation of, and access to, the world’s film heritage for the benefit of present and future generations” the press release noted.
Hollywood filmmakers and previous recipients of the FIAF Award — Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan — will present the award to Bachchan during a virtual showcase scheduled to take place on March 19.
Frederic Maire, FIAF president, said in the statement that this year the organisation is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its annual award, and thus to mark this milestone, “there could be no better recipient than one of the world’s greatest movie stars”.
“By presenting our prestigious FIAF Award to Amitabh Bachchan, we want to show the world how rich and diverse, but also how fragile, this unique film heritage is, and we want to publicly thank Mr. Bachchan for his role as a high-profile advocate for the rescue of this heritage, in India and beyond,” he added.
Bachchan’s name was nominated by the FIAF affiliate Film Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by filmmaker and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. The organisation is dedicated to the preservation, restoration, documentation, exhibition, and study of India’s film heritage.
Talking about the award, Bachchan said that he is honoured to receive the award for a cause he is “deeply committed to”.
“It was when I became the ambassador of Film Heritage Foundation in 2015, that I realised the extent of the neglect and colossal loss of our precious film heritage and how we continue to lose more of our legacy every day. Recognising the urgency of the situation, I have been working closely with Film Heritage Foundation since its inception to do everything in our power to save our films and to build a movement for film preservation in our part of the world,” he added in the statement.
The Film Foundation, set up in 1990, has helped to restore over 900 films from 25 countries, which are available to the public once again through festivals, museums, and educational institutions.
Scorsese, one of the Film Foundation’s board of directors, said in the statement that Bachchan’s “advocacy for preserving India’s film legacy has been exceptional”.
Nolan, who is a member of the American National Film Preservation Board, said it is imperative that representatives of the film industry come together to ensure the preservation of film heritage. “I want to congratulate Amitabh Bachchan on receiving the 2021 honour. As the ambassador for Film Heritage Foundation, he has played an essential role in putting the cause of film preservation on the map in India and the subcontinent,” he said.
The statement mentioned that Bachchan has helped in preserving celluloid prints of his own productions and the ones he has acted in “immaculately in an air-conditioned vault at his residence over the years to frequently appealing to the government and film fraternity to come forward to contribute in saving India’s film legacy”.
Previous recipients include legends of world cinema such as Scorsese (2001), Manoel de Oliveira (2002), Ingmar Bergman (2003), Geraldine Chaplin (2004), Mike Leigh (2005), Hou Hsiao-hsien (2006), Peter Bogdanovich (2007), Nelson Pereira dos Santos (2008), Rithy Panh (2009), Liv Ullmann (2010), Kyoko Kagawa (2011), Agnès Varda (2013), Jan Švankmajer (2014), Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi (2015), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (2016), Christopher Nolan (2017), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2018), Jean-Luc Godard (2019), and Walter Salles (2020).