Department Film Archives (Department FA)
It is the concern of every cultured nation to maintain, care for, make accessible to the public and continually supplement its stock of moving pictures. The Federal Republic of Germany primarily fulfils this responsibility through the Federal Archives.
The Federal Film Archive in Berlin is one the largest archives of its kind in the world. In 1990, the state Film Archive of the GDR was integrated into the film section of the Federal Archives.
The Film Archive has been collecting German newsreels, documentary films and feature films since the 1950s. Films made by the Federal Administration and its functional predecessors come into the possession of the Federal Archives on the grounds of the Federal Archives Law. The Federal film subsidy law and guidelines make provision for a copy of any film to be given to the Federal Archives that has received the German film prize, a short film prize, production funding for a full-length film or short film, or any other film that receives copy or hire funding. This also applies to films that the Filmfoerderungsanstalt (Federal Film Board) has sponsored. Alternatively, the negatives may be handed over and ownership retained.
The Kuratorium Junger Deutscher Film (Board of Trustees for Modern German Film), the only sponsorship institution jointly supported by the German states, uses the Federal Archives to keep children's films and films by young artists as cultural material. The Federal Archives have been named as the archives of choice by a voluntary agreement between the film sponsorship authorities of the German states.
The Film Archive Department is thus the most important German partner in the efforts by the European Council and the European Union to ensure a legacy of films by mandatorily depositing these.
For all other productions, the Film Archive asks for films to be deposited on a voluntary basis. It also collects documents on film history that portray the artistic and technical development of the medium of film. A unique feature is the collection of censorship and certification records, which are often the last remaining witnesses of forgotten films. In addition, much associated film material such as programmes, photographs, posters and scripts may be inspected. Old films and their accompanying material are threatened by deterioration. The main task of the Film Archive is to preserve such films and conserve them by copying these onto new durable materials and subsequently make them accessible.
The Film Archive Department has its own highly specialised technical film workshops and storage facilities in which German film heritage is conserved, restored and preserved for posterity. In 2005, the Film Archive Department moved into a new purpose-built structure in Hoppegarten. Around 70,000 rolls of cellulose nitrate film are preserved here in ultramodern special stacking centres. In addition, it contains modern workshops for the restoration and copying of all film material in the Film Archive.
The film archive material is accessible and may be used if its condition permits. Film Archive employees inform, advise and support research carried out by film producers, scientists, journalists and interested citizens. Literature on the subject is also available to users in a specialised library.