Editor’s note: This page was updated on Feb. 27, 2024, to reflect the number of new titles that have been added to the lineup. 

The UCLA Film & Television Archive continues the longstanding tradition of sharing its latest preservation and restoration work with Los Angeles audiences in the highly anticipated biennial UCLA Festival of Preservation. This year’s event, the festival’s 21st edition, will run from April 5–7, at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum at UCLA. The diverse lineup from film and television history will feature beloved classics and seldom-seen titles ripe for rediscovery, along with special guests for introductions and Q&A conversations.

The festival’s 35 titles, including 10 features, four television programs and over a dozen shorts, showcase the breadth of moving image history in the Archive’s collections, which are second in size only to those held by the U.S. Library of Congress.

The opening night of the festival will celebrate the 80th birthday of renowned writer-director Charles Burnett. He will join film critic Elvis Mitchell, host of KCRW’s “The Treatment” radio show, in conversation before the screening of the West Coast restoration premiere of “The Annihilation of Fish” (1999). Following this unsung film will be the groundbreaking “The Richard Pryor Special?” (1977), featuring a dramatic soliloquy by poet and activist Maya Angelou.

“I am thrilled to present this year’s festival, highlighting treasures of the past that bring an exciting mix of documentary, animation, music, comedy and drama to the Wilder, including ‘The Lighter Side of Hearst Newsreels: Innovations and Inventions’ (1932–1967) collection, and the provocative horror-tinged dramas presented in the ‘Atomic Television’ program,” said May Hong HaDuong, director of the Archive, a division of UCLA Library. “It’s a pleasure to host an event where audiences can come together to experience the enduring impact of film and television through the Archive’s dedication to preserving and making accessible the history of moving images.”

Among the festival’s highlights are the restoration world premiere of comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s “Pack Up Your Troubles” (1932) and the Los Angeles premiere of the Archive’s restoration of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (“Ein Sommernachtstraum,” Germany, 1925). The latter is one of the last Shakespeare adaptations of the silent film era and was previously thought to be lost.

“One of the great loves of my professional life: UCLA Film & Television Archive’s Festival of Preservation ... not only showcases the restoration of classic films to pristine condition, it delights in shining a light on hidden gems and unexpected corners of the cinematic universe, items you had no idea existed, let alone expected to ever see on a big screen,” former L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan wrote of the flagship event in 2022.

The festival will also feature the Los Angeles restoration premiere of “Man and Wife” (1923), which has been inaccessible for most of a century. Following the screenings of UCLA student activist films “Chicana” (1979) and “Requiem-29” (1971), filmmaker Sylvia Morales and film producer Moctesuma Esparza will join for a Q&A conversation; TCM host and film noir champion Eddie Muller will introduce the restoration of the Film Noir Foundation’s latest discovery from Argentina, “Never Open That Door” (“No abras nunca esa puerta,” Argentina, 1952); and filmmaker Marc Levin will join the Archive for a conversation following the Los Angeles restoration premiere of “SLAM” (1998). The festival will conclude with the Los Angeles restoration premiere of director Franco Rossi’s “Smog” (Italy, 1962), featuring 12 minutes unseen in the United States until this recent restoration. After opening the Venice Film Festival in 1962, “Smog” nearly disappeared until the Archive and Cineteca di Bologna collaborated to restore it to its original Italian release.

All of the Archive’s public programs — including the UCLA Festival of Preservation — are free through June 2024, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor.

For more details and the latest health guidelines, please visit cinema.ucla.edu.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Ein Sommernachtstraum, Germany, 1925 / U.S., 1928) Before and after restoration clips Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation from a 35mm nitrate silent tinted print. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Laboratory services by Roundabout Entertainment, Inc., FotoKem. Special thanks to Oliver Hanley, Henry Esau.