We are so honored to be nominated for the prestigious FOCAL International “Footage Library of the Year” award. We were nominated in 2017 but sadly lost so hopefully we won’t become the Susan Lucci of this category.
FOCAL International (The Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries International) is a specialist, professional, trade association that helps its members facilitate the use of library footage, images, stills and audio in all forms of media production. For the past 18 years FOCAL International has held their award ceremony which honors various companies and individuals in the media who have contributed to the creative and cultural industries.
The following is the submission that was sent in and due to COVID, the ceremony will be virtual, so in October we will find out if the following was enough to impress the judges.
Reelin’ in the Years Productions (founded by David Peck) has spent the last 30 years finding, preserving and cataloging unique and historically significant archival footage. They’ve built a world-class footage company from the ground up, and proven that an independent archive can thrive in today’s hyper-competitive footage marketplace. And they’ve done it by focusing on the fundamentals: dedication to the archival craft; a keen nose for relevant, in-demand content; a deep knowledge of their collections; and stellar customer service.
From the beginning, their love of music and entertainment footage has been the cornerstone of their archival work, and their passion and focus have made them a go-to source for licensing footage of musical artists, entertainers and history makers.
They care deeply about the collections they take on, and are willing to invest both time and money in the preservation of these irreplaceable archives.
They’re known throughout the production industry for their dedication to and deep knowledge of the collections they represent, and have shown up time and again as a true partner to their clients, offering deep subject matter expertise in addition to world-class footage.
Their work in all these areas reached new heights in 2019 and the Reelin in the Years Archive (RITY) now includes over 30,000 hours of music footage and 10,000 hours of in-depth interviews with the 20th century’s most recognizable personalities.
Over the last few years, RITY has added four new collections to their portfolio, all of which were either lost or scattered across many locations, including The David Frost Show; Brian Linehan’s City Lights; Countdown, Europe’s legendary music show; and the footage archive of the seminal rock band the Doors. Prior to RITY taking them on, all four collections were for all intents and purposes unmarketable, either because they were completely uncatalogued or stored on outdated formats. All four are now fully cataloged, preserved and available for licensing.
Their work on the Doors archive, which they took on in 2019, is a case study in their commitment to the preservation and cataloging of historically significant footage archives. Because the original film reels were spooled in no particular order when the Doors archive was transferred to HD in 2008, all the pertinent location info was lost, and the archive required a massive effort in historical sleuthing to catalog and prepare for licensing — a project that Peck and his team took to with zeal.
In 2017, RITY began exclusively representing ITV’s vast musical holdings, which were formerly handled by ITN, adding many thousands of performances and interviews with the world’s most influential artists to their footage inventory. Over the last two years, RITY has worked closely with ITV and co-financed a project to transfer and catalogue their unique music footage holdings, which yielded many new discoveries this past year.
Throughout their existence, Reelin’ in the Years has also directed and produced over 70 historical music documentaries and programs focused primarily on the giants of jazz, blues and rock & roll. This past August they took their production work to the next level, entering a non-exclusive production partnership with Nigel Sinclair of White Horse Pictures, whose production credits include The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years (directed by Ron Howard); Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World; No Direction Home: Bob Dylan; Undefeated; and Foo Fighters: Back and Forth.
RITY’s passion for music and entertainment footage, as well as their depth of subject matter expertise, were a big draw for Sinclair, who approached Peck and his team at RITY this past summer about collaborating on original productions, a meeting which ultimately led to a deal between White Horse and Reelin’ in the Years to develop and produce documentary feature film and television projects, relying heavily on the unique material housed within the RITY archive. This deal, the first of its kind, pairs a major, award-winning production company with a leading footage library to develop archive-based documentary projects.
Lastly, Reelin’ in the Years Productions have always been huge supporters of the footage industry, and they’ve made many contributions to its health and well-being over the years. It would be a great honor to have their tireless work and dedication recognized by this prestigious award.
The following three people wrote these testimonials to FOCAL as to why RITY should be honored with FOCAL’s “Footage Library of the Year” award.
Jeff Jampol owner and founder of Jampol Artist Management:
“The Doors chose David Peck and Reelin’ in the Years to represent The Doors archive for two reasons. First, they have a stellar reputation in the footage licensing business, especially in the area of music and entertainment footage. Second, they seemed up to the challenge of sorting out our archival collection and getting it ready for market. They did not disappoint us in either area, somewhat miraculously, if the truth be told.
A big chunk of the footage in The Doors archive comes from a film called “Feast of Friends,” which was shot by friends of the band members in 1968. The film crew consisted of one cameraman filming in 16mm and one person with a Nagra reel-to-reel recorder to capture audio, and they followed The Doors around on tour in America from April to September 1968, capturing snippets of the band in concert, backstage, in the studio, on vacation and in airports. We had all of the existing raw footage transferred to Hi-Def in 2008, and in the process the lab re-spooled the shorter film reels containing the location information onto a new larger reel in no particular order, thus losing all the pertinent location info. Ergo, we essentially gave RITY 50 hours of footage and told them to “figure it out”. And, almost unbelievably, they did.
The first thing they did was find out all of the dates that The Doors played on that tour, and which shows were filmed. RITY then had to figure out the rest, using whatever visual clues were available in the footage itself, including, so I am told, street signs and local advertising to identify particular cities, and even the tiles on the floor and ceiling at LAX to decipher what airport they were in. Their dedication to historical accuracy was maybe a bit insane, but that kind of authenticity & accuracy is what we require. And the results so far have been extremely impressive. As a result of their tenacity, for the first time in 52 years our archive is cataloged and ready for use by producers. Clips from our archive will appear in the upcoming Laurel Canyon documentary, which will be released in 2020.
We are more convinced than ever that RITY is the right home for this irreplaceable collection, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.”
Nigel Sinclair Of White Horse Pictures:
“Of course, David runs this amazing library, but he also brings to the table the passion and commitment of a true archivist who cares deeply about the historical importance of footage and the need to preserve it. His invaluable advice to us on projects has gone way beyond just curating the footage he represents, and this new partnership is a chance for us to utilize his extraordinary knowledge to create some very high-level, archive-driven projects on subjects we all love. The main benefits are that David Peck’s skill, which is normally available to his customers through his ability to supply high quality material and advice is now actually harnessed with us to develop high quality archive-heavy projects. David not only knows his own enormous archive like the back of his hand but he also has a producer and a storyteller’s point of view on how to use archive. When you look at the way Reelin’ in the Years is organized, the scope of its library, and its sense that these are treasures, that vision is David’s.”
Sam Epstein one of the primary researchers for the recent doc on Laurel Canyon:
“Working on an almost completely archival film about Laurel Canyon (Jigsaw Productions) was quite the challenge, but David Peck and Reelin’ in the Years Productions made this daunting task so much easier. Not only was their library teeming with amazing, music-related archival footage and photos, but David was always just a phone call away if and when any new themes were introduced into the film. Usually, I was the one picking up the phone to call archive houses, but David never hesitated to let me know about new and exciting material that he found. When he discovered never-before-seen home movie footage of Joni Mitchell painting from 1969, I was the first person he called and we fell in love with the material so much that we added the footage directly into the film (even though we essentially had locked the cut). I am excited to work with Reelin’ again on my next project.”