The history of the Irish Film Archive

The history of the Irish Film Archive

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Credit: Charles Byrne

The Republic of Ireland Centre was given an insight into the wonders of the Irish Film Archive at its early October event at RTÉ Television in Dublin.

Archive head Kasandra O’Connell explained that the Irish Film Institute’s archive collection is a unique cultural and historical resource that spans from 1897 to the present day.

Amateur films, and newsreels are preserved, alongside feature films and documentaries by leading directors such as Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan.

The collection provides a wealth of material for those interested in Ireland’s moving image heritage, some of which O’Connell screened at the event.

It includes more than 30,000 cans of film, 10,000 broadcast tapes and an extensive document collection with original film scripts, production notes and publicity material.

“The archive collects material made in or about Ireland or with a strong Irish connection, and depositors include individuals, production companies, professional bodies and government departments,” explained O’Connell.

“The archive has a non-purchase acquisition policy and acquires material from those eager to see Ireland’s moving image heritage preserved and centralised. Over 700 donors have entrusted their material to our care over the years.”

Collections also include the Radharc Collection of documentaries and the Amharc Éireann newsreels, as well as films from a large number of religious and missionary organisations.

Recent indigenous production comes to the archive via preservation agreements with the two largest state funders of film and television works, the Irish Film Board and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.