David Shepard (film preservationist)

David Haspel Shepard (October 22, 1940 – January 31, 2017)[1] was a film preservationist whose company, Film Preservation Associates, is responsible for many high-quality video versions of silent films.[1] Some come from the Blackhawk Films library (also owned by Shepard)[1] and others from materials owned by private collectors and film archives around the world.

David Shepard
BornOctober 22, 1940
DiedJanuary 31, 2017 (aged 76)
OccupationFilm preservationist
Known forResponsible for many high quality video versions of silent films


Shepard was born in Manhattan, New York City, the son of Marjorie (née Haspel) and Bertram Shepard.[1] His father was an executive with the Grand Union grocery-store chain, and his mother a homemaker.[1] When he was 11 years old his family moved to Tenafly, New Jersey.[1]

As a teenager he filmed school football games for the coaches to study, and in the off-season began to make his own films with student actors.[1] He graduated from Hamilton College, in Upstate New York, in 1962, with a BA in philosophy, and completed a master's degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in 1963.[1]

Shepard began restoring films when he joined the American Film Institute in 1968 as one of their first staff members. In 1987, he bought the Blackhawk Films library.

In December 2016 he suffered pneumonia and kidney disease and was hospitalized. Doctors discovered cancer in his chest and he died on January 31, 2017 in Medford, Oregon.


  • Film Preservation Associates, Serge Bromberg (Lobster Films)
  • Film Preservation Associates, Benjamin Scott Baker (Assistant to Producer)

Partial list of restored films


Year Award Category Result
1989 International Documentary Association Preservation and Scholarship Award Won
1999 Saturn Award The President's Memorial Award Won
2000 San Francisco International Film Festival Mel Novikoff Award Won
2005 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Special Citation Won
2006 National Society of Film Critics Special Award Won
2011 Denver Silent Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Won


  1. Grimes, William (February 5, 2017). "David Shepard, Film Preservationist, Dies at 76". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
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