To commemorate King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 80th birthday in 2007, a project has been initiated by the Royal Palace and Thai government to restore the personal film collection of the king — one of the most valuable anthologies of film in the country.
More than 6,000 rolls of film have been shot by the palace’s Film Dept. since 1950 and serve as records of various state ceremonies presided over by the king as well as travelogues of his trips around the world. Among the highlights of the collection are footage of the royal wedding and the royal coronation ceremonies in 1950.
The king also shot a number of 16mm films that captured the activities of the royal family. They represent the rarest kind of “home movies.”
At the moment, the Royal Palace, the Thai government and the National Film Archive are preparing to launch the complete restoration and preservation effort of the king’s personal collection, with the aim to save a number of film rolls that have deteriorated. The scope of the project looks to be immense, but it’s hoped that the first batch of the restored films could be ready in time for the king’s birthday on Dec. 5.