22 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
First film restored through the IFI & Screen Ireland digitisation project to be exhibited at the IFI
17 May 2023 : News Desk
Reefer and The Model
Joe Comerford's Reefer and the Model screens in the IFI on Saturday, May 20th. This is the first screening of a film digitally restored through the Screen Ireland-funded Irish film Cataloguing, Digitisation and Exhibition project.

This unique archiving partnership between the IFI and Screen Ireland, the initial phase running 2022 - 2026, features a three-phased strategic approach to cataloguing, digitising, and making available films funded by the Irish Film Board (IFB)/ Screen Ireland.

Enabling IFI and Screen Ireland to address the backlog of uncatalogued 35mm film produced before the introduction of digital cinema prints, the project will produce newly digitised versions of these older IFB/ Screen Ireland titles, which will then be made widely available in cinemas and online. IFI and Screen Ireland are delighted to present Joe Comerford's 1988 feature in its new restoration for Irish audiences, in-cinema in May and later in 2023 online on IFI@Home for audiences nationwide.

Speaking about the scope of the project, IFI Director/ CEO Ross Keane said, 

“This is a critically important project that will add greatly to the accessibility of the national moving image archive held at the IFI,” said IFI Director/ CEO Ross Keane, speaking about the scope of the project. “Not only will this project address a backlog of uncatalogued, important State-funded film, but it will also produce newly digitised versions of older IFB/Screen Ireland-funded titles which will then be made widely available in cinemas and online, bringing these important titles to a whole new generation of film lovers. 

“We are particularly pleased that the first of these restored films will come from Joe Comerford, one of Ireland’s most important and influential filmmakers, whose work is distinguished by its cinematic subversion and social commentary.”

Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive, FÍs Eireann/Screen Ireland added “It is vitally important to us that Irish films produced over the last several decades are preserved, restored and made widely available to audiences at home and abroad.”

“At Screen Ireland, we're incredibly proud to support this ongoing restoration project with the IFI, showcasing the significant and enduring contribution Irish storytelling on screen has made to our national cultural heritage. We are delighted the first restored film screening is now taking place and look forward to seeing many more beloved Irish films in cinema and online publicly once again, for a new generation to discover.”

Comerford's drama follows Reefer (Ian McElhinney), an ex-IRA man who picks up hitchhiker Teresa (Carol Scanlan), a pregnant woman trying to overcome a drug addiction. They head to the trawler where he lives with friends Spider (Sean Lawlor) and Badger (Ray McBride), and where they are forced to turn to crime to make a living.

The digital restoration of Reefer and the Model has been created from 35mm interpositive and sound negatives. Following a 4K scan at R3store Studios in London, the image was stabilised and a colour grade applied. After automated scratch removal, IFI Irish Film Archive staff identified further stains and scratches, blotches and emulsion sparkle, which were then corrected with digital restoration tools at R3store. Sound treatment, the cleaning of clicks, crackle and hiss, was applied at Avatar Audio Post Production in Greystones.

Tickets for the premiere screening of this new restoration of the Director's Cut, presented with short film Emtigon, are now on sale here.

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