Argentina’s Instituto Nacional de Cinematografia y las Artes Audiovisuals (INCAA) and the Ministry of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires will partner to build Argentina’s first laboratory of film preservation.

Minister of Culture Enrique Avogadro and INCAA president Ralph Haiek signed the agreement which will see Buenos Aires’ Pablo Ducrós Hicken Film Museum in collaboration with the Cinemateca del Archivo y de la Imagen Nacional – CINAIN (National Film Archives and Cinematheque) finance the completion of the laboratory.

Construction has already begun on the low-profile laboratory, which will work to assure the conservation of the film collection of the museum as well as the national audiovisual archives.

The laboratory will employ the very latest in film processing and restoration technologies to restore the archives to international quality standards, assuring an autonomy in the treatment and restoration process of Argentina’s rich audiovisual heritage.

The laboratory will include facilities for dealing with wet and dry materials, an optical laboratory, space for chemical experimentation with images, copying facilities and equipment for transferring the work to other AV formats.

Pablo Mazzolo, an Argentine independent technician, Alberto Acevedo and Inés Cullen of Cinecolor Argentina, Thiago Ganhao of the Portuguese Cinemateca and Albino Álvarez of the Film Library of Mexico’s UNAM all consulted on the laboratory’s plans, which borrow heavily from other similar institutions in Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Mexico and others.

Additionally, the facility will feature state-of-the-art climate control systems to safely store nitrate film material, which is fragile and highly flammable.

“Thanks to the cooperation of various international institutions that maintain audiovisual archives, we’ve managed to take a huge step towards safeguarding our nitrate films. This work is unprecedented here and will allow us to fulfill the mission of conserving and restoring the national film collection,” said Cinain’s Carolina Konstantinovsky in a statement.

Museum director Paula Felix Didier added: “We are very proud of this very important agreement, both for the audiovisual preservation in our country and for the process of setting up a national cinematheque. In preserving these works according to international standards for nitrate film collections and establishing an analog/digital laboratory, we ensure a lasting future for our moving images, fundamental components of our history and collective memory.”