By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, Sept. 12: Chiranjibi Guragain is an archivist and a restorer currently working as the Film Archive Information Relations Officer at the Film Development Board.
He has been actively engaged in preserving and digitising both feature films and documentaries at the FDB.
According to Guragain, the Film Development Board's film archive contained prints of feature films produced by the Nepal government, but sadly, they were in critical condition and unsuitable for projection.
“To address this, I had an opportunity to access the tape library archive of Nepal Television, which housed materials in formats such as UMATIC, Beta SP, mini DV, and VHS. After careful consideration, we selected 'Sindoor,' 'Kumari,' and 'Basudev' for the festival,” he said.
Guragain also received a scholarship from the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) to attend the 'Film Preservation and Restoration Workshop in India in 2017.
This workshop proved to be a turning point in his career, as it paved the way for him to work as a film archivist and preservationist in Nepal.
He said, “Over the two years, we have successfully digitised 10 feature films and approximately 100 documentaries and newsreels, all in 4K resolution. Subsequent restoration work was carried out in 2K format for final preview in theatres. Additionally, the content was digitally mastered in DCI DCP 2K format for screenings and subtitled in English.”
The restoration process for these films was exceptionally challenging, requiring nearly two years of meticulous manual work, he said.
“This was primarily due to the poor condition of the multiple source film elements. Countless hours were dedicated to digital restoration, clean-up, grain management, and colour correction of each film,” he said.
“We faced the challenge of sourcing alternative materials from the Film Development Board archive, where some materials were mixed up without proper titles. Another hurdle was finding sound sources for the films, as most of the sound negatives had suffered damages,”
“The restored versions of 'Aama,' 'Kumari,' and 'Ke Ghar Ke Dera' have been showcased at various venues and festivals,” said Guragain.
Guragain and his team are currently engaged in several restoration projects, which encompass digitisation and restoration of significant Nepali cinema milestones such as ‘Maitighar,’ ‘Basudev,’ ‘Mukundo,’ ‘Numafung,’ and ‘Silu’.
Additionally, they are actively engaged in collecting films from the Nepal Film Development Company, Balaju, which houses an extensive collection of over 200 feature film negatives and sound negatives.
“In my role as the Film Archive Information and International Relations Officer at the Film Development Board, I am dedicated to establishing a dedicated National Film Storage vault in Nepal,” said Guragain.