Our PR consultancy anna fang public relations is pleased to be assisting the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center in their endeavours to help preserve the films of Satyajit Ray.

A master storyteller, Ray's cinema is known for its humanism and keen observation of society and life. Although his films are made in Bengali, they possess a universality that transcends cultural and national barriers, making him one of the most beloved filmmakers around the world. The great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa said that "not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun and the moon".

Satyajit Ray left a "luminous legacy" of some 39 features, documentaries and shorts. These are noted for "his complete mastery of the art of motion pictures and his profound humanism which made an indelible impact on audiences throughout the world," said Audrey Hepburn at the 64th Academy Awards on March 30, 1992 where Ray was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Special Oscar. He passed away three weeks later.

While preparing the Oscar honor for Ray, Ms Hepburn found much to her dismay that no good viewable elements of Ray films were available that could be presented at the Oscar night. She persuaded Professor Dilip Basu, who was asked by the Academy to take the Oscar to a critically ill Ray to his hospital room and help produce his acceptance speech, to coordinate the restoration of the Satyajit Ray films.

Since 1993, Basu has helped coordinate the restoration project undertaken at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Archives (AMPASA) in Los Angeles. To date, twenty one of Ray's 39 films have been restored and preserved at AMPASA.

The vision of the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center (the Ray Center) has been dissemination, not just restoration and preservation, which are of course the first and foremost importance. As an auteur, Ray used to write the screenplays often based on his own stories but mostly based on classics of modern Bengali literature, sketched each frame before shooting it, handled the camera scored the music, edited the film, and post-production, and producing the posters. In addition, Ray was an immensely popular detective and science fiction writer, book cover designer, illustrator and a world class graphic artist and calligrapher. There is a treasure trove of some 75,000 manuscript pages of Ray's story boards, screenplays, music notations, some 5000 stills, production stills, posters, books and magazine articles on Ray and by Ray in several world languages including Chinese and Japanese. These have been assembled, archived and digitized at the Ray Center.

The Center's vision is to make these accessible to film students, scholars, critics and the public. To a significant extent, the Ray Center has accomplished aspects of this VISION. It has curated screenings of Ray films at major festivals including complete retrospectives at the National Public Theatre in London, The Smithsonian, MOMA in NYC, the Lincoln Center, NYC, Cannes Film Festival, at Nantes, at the Louvre in France, the Stanford Theatre, Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley and the LA County Museum among many others.

The Center has been publicized in the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, in major Indian newspapers in Kolkata, in India and around the world. To see the list of Ray movies which have won awards, go to this link: http://satyajitray.ucsc.edu/awards.html

To read some of the past news coverage since 1992, go to this link:

Information on the Ray Film and Study Center - English version

Information on the Ray Film and Study Center - Chinese version

Please find two articles from Daily News Analysis in Mumbai on Professor Dilip Basu and the preservation and archiving of Ray's films. Satyajit Ray Film Restoration, Daily News Analysis, March 28, 2010