LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Franklin Film Collection of the Middle East, the preeminent assemblage of Middle East film footage in the world, has been donated to the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The Collection has been jointly given by First Reserve, PFC Energy; Jo Franklin, acclaimed documentarian and producer/director of the donated footage; and Ms. Franklin's two children: Ashley Franklin Trout and Hugh H. Trout IV.
The Franklin Film Collection of the Middle East was created as Jo Franklin filmed throughout the area from 1980 through 1994 for several lauded documentaries which aired on PBS: "Saudi Arabia" (1981), "The Oil Kingdoms" (1983), "Days of Rage: The Young Palestinians" (1989) and "Islam: A Civilization and its Art" (1994).
U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf said of "Days of Rage: The Young Palestinians," "this film helped change the course of history." Entertainment Tonight hailed the program as "the most controversial film of the decade" while USA Today noted, "A compelling chronicle of conditions among Palestinians that resulted in the ongoing intifada/uprising..."
"The Oil Kingdoms" -- with footage from Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates -- was nominated for an Emmy Award and received the top prize at New York's International Film and Television Festival. The three-part series entitled "Saudi Arabia" was called " ... a stroke of genius" by Los Angeles Times reviewer Kenneth Clark and aired to rave reviews, unprecedented audience numbers, and repeated worldwide broadcasts.
In addition to the documentaries seen on television, the Franklin Film Collection contains 111 hours of unaired footage obtained as the filmmaker took cameras to never before filmed Middle Eastern cities, villages and deserts. Franklin was granted unprecedented access during a brief time of relative openness-post-1970s oil embargo and pre-1990s Desert Shield/Storm-in the region. She documented the landscapes and spoke to kings, presidents, women, children, businessmen, Bedouins, historians and religious leaders about their lifestyle, politics, history, religion, defense, economics and art.
C.E.S. Gavin, Ph.D., former Executive Director of the Semitic Museum at Harvard University and current President and Curator of the Archives for Historical Documentation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said, "It is almost impossible to exaggerate the long-term value of the Franklin Film Collection of the Middle East. Ms. Franklin didn't just record history -- she made history. She traveled to places a camera had never been before and opened up the Middle East with an unerring journalist's eye. There is scarcely an aspect of regional life not illustrated by Ms. Franklin and it is unlikely that anyone will be able to do this type of reportage in these areas anytime soon."
Franklin's breadth of knowledge of the Middle East has been noted by many. Testimonials from the cover of her Gulf War novel "The Wing of the Falcon" include former Carter administration press secretary Jody Powell who said, "The author knows the Middle East as few do, and tells a story as few can." U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf stated, "Should be read for its vivid portrayal of the history, culture, society, politics and challenges of the Arab world. Jo Franklin understands the subtleties of these forces and can write about them better than anyone."
Throughout Operation Desert Storm, Franklin's films were used by the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines -- along with the State and Defense Departments -- to train their personnel for deployment to the Persian Gulf. The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Saudi Arabia has called the Franklin Film Collection "unrivaled" and has requested a copy of the footage for research and study purposes.
Franklin served as a producer of the "MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour," covering the White House, Congress, the Middle East and the Defense Department and was named "One of the Top 50 Film Producers in the US" by Millimeter Magazine. She is now President of SeaCastle Films, a Los Angeles-based motion picture and television company and is directing a film, "The Wing of the Falcon," based on her Gulf War novel of the same title. Shortly thereafter, Franklin will begin directing a new documentary series focusing on the Gulf region.
Said Franklin, "Current events have convinced me that now is the time to make this Collection accessible to the public. It is my hope to contribute to a better understanding between the West and the Islamic world and ultimately to the search for peace."
"The Collection is a unique cache of film that provides an unparalleled in-depth look at the Middle East," said UCLA Film & Television Archive Director Timothy Kittleson. "Only 9 hours of the 120 hour Franklin Film Collection have ever been telecast. We hope to provide wide access to all the material for scholars and journalists."
The donation includes the copyright to the material, which eventually will be available for licensing through the Archive's Commercial Services Department. Kittleson noted, "Given the current interest in the Middle East, this footage will be of great interest to documentary filmmakers and news journalists who need footage to illustrate their stories."
The UCLA Film & Television Archive is internationally renowned for its pioneering efforts to preserve and showcase not only classic but also current and innovative film and television. Additionally, the Archive is a unique resource for media study, with one of the largest collections of media materials in the United States -- second only to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. -- and the largest of any university in the world. Its vaults hold more than 270,000 motion picture and television titles and 27 million feet of newsreel footage. The combined collections represent an all-encompassing documentation of the 20th century.
Source: The UCLA Film & Television Archive