Margaret Pomeranz heads up bid to restore Weaving-Crowe breakout ‘Proof’
The National Film and Sound Archive’s (NFSA) crowdfunding campaign to restore Proof, Jocelyn Moorhouse’s 1991 film, is in its final days.
Written and directed by Moorhouse, Proof is the story of Martin (Hugo Weaving), a blind photographer. Andy, played by Russell Crowe, is the only friend Martin trusts to describe his photos to him.
The film launched both Weaving and Crowe’s careers onto the international stage, and was also Moorhouse’s breakout as a director. Proof premiered at Cannes, where it won the Golden Camera award, and has also won a host of AFI awards, including best film, director, screenplay, lead actor and supporting actor.
Since mid-May, the NFSA has been asking Australians to pitch in $25,000 through a Pozible campaign to help restore the fim into a pristine digital format that can be shown in modern cinemas.
Funds raised by the campaign, now in its final days, will partially cover the total restoration cost of between $50,000 – $150,000.
What is involved in the time-consuming process of restoration varies, but generally includes digitising, colour-grading, cleaning and audio-syncing.
The campaign to restore Proof has been spearheaded by NFSA ambassador Margaret Pomeranz.
Speaking to IF, Pomeranz said Proof was the beginning of “a grand new wave” of Australian cinema in the 1990s.
“It was completely different to anything we’d done before,” she said.
“I think it was such an original idea. Quite bizarre in a way, in its concept, but it explored quite significant issues.”
Pomeranz said many of Proof’s themes, such as disability and relationships with parents, are timeless, which allow the film to continue to stand up today.
Having recently rewatched the film for the campaign, Pomeranz spoke of being charmed all over again.
“I was so impressed, particularly by Russell. I think it’s a most extraordinary performance. It’s unlike anything he’s done since. There’s a lovely gentleness to his character. It’s a very delicate performance,” she said.
“Hugo’s wonderful too. Hugo had done quite a bit of television before this, but not a lot of film. I think the two of them together are really quite extraordinary.”
Beyond raising funds for the restoration, Pomeranz said she hoped the campaign would also raise Australian’s awareness of the NFSA, a “treasure trove” of our audiovisual history.
“I want them to have a sense of ownership of what the archive has. It belongs to all of us,” she said.
Overall, the veteran critic said it was important we preserve our film history just like that of any art.
“I think that our film culture is a gorgeous reflection of our evolution as a nation,” says Pomeranz.
Restoring its archives – which contains thousands of films – forms an ongoing project for the NFSA. It has already restored several films, including Storm Boy (1976), Starstruck (1982), Bliss (1985) and Howling III: The Marsupials (1987).
Bliss was recently rescreened at the Sydney Film Festival, where it was attended by screenwriter Ray Lawrence, producer Anthony Buckley and stars Barry Otto and Lynette Curran. Pomeranz called the event a “celebration.”
“That was a ground-breaking film in the mid-80s. It’s lovely to look back at these films that were significant in themselves,” she said.
As of time of writing, the campaign to restore Proof was at $22,645. Donations close June 30, and any money raised over the target will be invested in new restorations.
If you are interested in donating, visit: https://pozible.com/project/205542
All donations over $2 are tax deductible.