Martin Scorsese

For my money, the Martin Scorsese-backed World Cinema Project boxsets are the best work Criterion’s done in recent years, making it all the more exciting that they’re finally following up 2013’s sole entry with a set that includes the likes of Edward Yang and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and still offering more than the (considerable) promise tied to those two names. It’s thanks to the careful eye of his Film Foundation, whose restorations, preservations, and releases do more to expand the scope on contemporary cinephilia than any existing organization.

And they’re only going further: a partnership’s been struck with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) and UNESCO to create the African Film Heritage Project, which will combine the expertise of filmmakers, scholars, and archivists to restore, preserve, and release 50 African pictures “with historic, artistic and cultural significance.” [Deadline]

Said Scorsese:

“There are so many films in need of restoration from all over the world. We created the World Cinema Project to ensure that the most vulnerable titles don’t disappear forever. Over the past 10 years the WCP has helped to restore films from Egypt, India, Cuba, the Philippines, Brazil, Armenia, Turkey, Senegal, and many other countries. Along the way, we’ve come to understand the urgent need to locate and preserve African films title by title in order to ensure that new generations of filmgoer — African filmgoers in particular — can actually see these works and appreciate them.”

This as he prepares to shoot The Irishman, whose Netflix deal has caused a bit of problems with international rights, per THR. Red tape aside, they also tell us the gangster picture will run to $125 million because of the need to make De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino “appear at ages 30, 50 and 70.” Let’s hope it doesn’t have the unsettling effect of so much digital de-aging, but we’re mostly just hoping it can be seen in a theater — and we’re sure Scorsese agrees.

Watch him discuss the restoration project: