On September 19th a terrible 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook Mexico City, Puebla and Tepoztlán (Tepoztlán, home of the archive, was right on the epicenter.) We are a small town, our buildings are heavily damaged and we lack the money, means, and manpower to repair the extensive damage wrought by the earthquake.
In the days following an engineer confirmed that the space where the archive is collated and its microcinema, our Baticine, are safe to rebuild. By order of the local government we cannot access the second floor of the archive, as a window and part of the wall are completely damaged. It will be inaccessible until we bring an engineer and a construction team to start rebuilding. This upper level of the archive houses not only hundreds more films, but the projection booth, two computers (one of which was destroyed with no recoverable data), hundreds of 1/4" master tapes of original Calderon productions' musical scores, scripts and posters and much more. To date we are unable to take photos and access the damage to the second floor. This is especially worrying because we’re entering the raining season and every passing day we will be at a risk of extensive water damage if we do not work to repair this area quickly. We need emergency assistance.
Another big concern is that a major water line has been compromised at this location. The pipe is not currently leaking as Tepoztlán has no running water, but when the city manages to resume water services our archive will flood. We cannot wait for the government to assist us in preventing water damage, and we currently do not have the resources to fix the crack. This is particularly alarming as 80% of our storage racks were damaged in the earthquake, and most of our artifacts ware littered on the ground at extreme risk. With the proper assistance we will be able to move the films and purchase the necessary hardware and protective materials to keep them safe. We cannot underestimate the severity of this situation. As you know, these antique film reels are irreplaceable and priceless, and with every passing moment we are at risk of losing everything.
Our Baticine, the community movie theater that we manage which showcases the works of local filmmakers and popular films for all audiences, has also been destroyed. We have months of work ahead of us to fix this beloved community space, but our priority is the restoration of the archive. The devastating earthquake not only destroyed the roof of the archive, but it damaged the films, which will need additional long-term assistance to be rehoused and cleaned, and has undone most of our cataloging and organizational efforts.