Area Activity Guide: 5th Nitrate Picture Show


Elevating Film Conservation

May 3rd through 5th, film and movie novices and experts alike will find a special treat at the 5th Nitrate Picture Show, the world’s first festival of film conservation. The festival at the George Eastman Museum includes featured screenings of vintage nitrate prints from international collections, as well as lectures, workshops, and other opportunities to experience the art and science of film preservation, from print conservation to archival projection.

The Nature of Nitrate

Nitrate processing provided luminous, high-contrast images due to being rich in silver and particularly transparent. The highly flammable method, however, was phased out quickly when alternatives were found. The Nitrate Picture Show is intended to give cinema audiences an authentic experience of nitrate film, as well as to highlight the lasting value of the film and artistic works.

A Unique Initiative

Film preservation is an ongoing special initiative at The George Eastman Museum, and selections from its own collection will also be featured. The Museum is one of the major collecting institutions in the world actively preserving moving images in all media and formats. Its skilled archivists are able to preserve and restore cinematic works that would otherwise be destroyed through chemical decomposition. This year, there is a guided tour of the nitrate vault at the Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center. Advanced registration is required and one session has already sold out! The workshop, How to Make Nitrate Film, is also limited and expected to fill quickly.

Festival Details

The 2019 Nitrate Picture Show takes place at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY, May 3 -5, with events throughout each day. Participants who purchase The Patron Pass will receive free lunch passes for Saturday and Sunday, plus a special registration gift. Patrons Pass holders are able to attend all screenings and lectures, the George Eastman Museum during the festival, as well as tours of the nitrate projection booth on the morning of Monday, May 6. Full ticket and registration information is available on the Eastman Museum’s website.