George Eastman Museum logoGrant funds will be used to preserve three severely endangered nitrate feature films

Rochester, N.Y., December 3, 2020—The George Eastman Museum recently received a grant award for $65,350 from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve three severely endangered nitrate feature films from the museum’s collection. The prints of His Last Race (US 1923), Payroll Pirates (US 1920), and When Betty Bets (US 1917) are likely the only versions of the films that still exist. Due to severe nitrate decomposition in all three films, this is the last chance to save these unique prints.

His Last Race (US 1923), Payroll Pirates (US 1920), and When Betty Bets (US 1917) are all currently housed at the George Eastman Museum in optimal conditions, but are nevertheless deteriorating. The films are fragile and while decomposition is present in them, they are still viable for photochemical film preservation, and ultimately, digital access.

The grant funds will be used for laboratory preservation work at Cinema Arts Laboratory in Newfoundland, PA, and at Eastman Film Preservation Services in Rochester, NY, including digital scanning and creating a new 35mm negative, a 35mm print, and a DCP version of each film. Upon completion of the project, the films will be available in 35mm prints and digital copies for both research and public screenings through the museum. The project will be overseen by Anthony L’Abbate, preservation manager at the George Eastman Museum.

About the National Film Preservation Foundation

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Since its creation in 1996, the NFPF has provided preservation support to 315 institutions and saved 2,547 films through grants and collaborative projects. The grants are made possible by funds authorized through The Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2016, secured through the leadership of the Library of Congress, and the contributions of public-spirited donors.

The NFPF preservation grants target newsreels, silent-era films, culturally important home movies, avant-garde films, and endangered independent productions that fall under the radar of commercial preservation programs. The awards provide support to create a film preservation master and two access copies of each work. Films saved through the NFPF programs are used in education and seen widely through screenings, exhibits, DVDs, television broadcasts, and the Internet. A curated selection of the preserved films is available for viewing on the NFPF website, and more than 250 additional titles have been made accessible by our grant recipients. For a complete list of projects supported by the NFPF, visit the NFPF website:

About the George Eastman Museum
Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located on the historic Rochester estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. Its holdings comprise more than 400,000 photographs, 28,000 motion picture films and three million archival objects related to cinema, the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology, one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema, and extensive holdings of documents and other objects related to George Eastman. As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active book publishing program, and its L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation’s graduate program (in collaboration with the University of Rochester) makes critical contributions to film preservation. For more information, visit

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