About the Shabistan Film Archive

The Shabistan Film Archive is a nonprofit organization, staffed by volunteers and devoted to preserving the cinema of India and South Asia. With support from the India Foundation for the Arts, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and a network of individual donors, we have assembled a large collection of prints and negatives, as well as posters and other ephemera. The films span genres, from art films and newsreels to romances and action films, in a multitude of languages—Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bhojpuri, Tulu, and more.

We are always looking for donations of films and money. We also welcome volunteers and institutional partnerships. If you would like to offer your support, please write to Executive Director David Farris at farris(at)shabistan.org, or fill out the form below.

Write to us

Captcha Code

What does Shabistan mean?

In Urdu, a shabistan is a place to spend the night, or as one dictionary more poetically puts it, “an elaborately decorated place to pass the night; a chamber of dreams.” In the early days of film in India, the word came to refer to a cinema. Although it has since fallen out of usage, we think it sounds beautiful. At the Shabistan Film Archive, we are building a chamber of dreams where films and film lovers will be able to spend many nights and days.