Into Archive Film: Past Present Future

Lotte Reiniger
Lotte Reiniger

At Into Film we're committed to championing all forms of film. Taking inspiration from the BFIs Britain on Film project*, we aim to encourage teachers, educators, children and young people to learn more about the fascinating world of archive films and film archives.

What is archive film?

Archive film does not simply mean 'black and white'. Archive film embraces many different types of film because it refers to material held and preserved in an archive. Depending on the archive, this material can span the history of cinema (and TV) and might include fiction, documentary, newsreel, industrial, educational and charity films, government films, artists film and video, political and campaign films, advertising, travel and anthropological films and amateur film/home movies.

Find out more about the UK's national and regional film archives here.

What kind of archive film will you find on the Into Film catalogue?

There are three examples of archive film that you will find on the Into Film catalogue:

  • Films made before 1929, including largely silent early forms of fiction, animation and documentary film.
  • Films made by amateur filmmakers or home videos from throughout the years, including our vast catalogue of Into Film youth-made films.
  • Newsreels and documentation of past events or people.

An invaluable source of social and cultural history, these films capture key moments in time whilst documenting traditions, people and movements across the years.

*What is Britain on Film?

Britain on Film is a major five-year project from the BFI National Archive and the UKs regional and national archives. It comprises a collection of 1,000s of newly digitised archive films, tagged by location, with the aim of giving everyone in the UK free access to film (and TV) titles showing where they live, grew up, holidayed, or any place of interest in Britain.

Taken together, these films provide a powerful record of the changing face of society across the 20th century, as well as a fascinating insight into the particular identity of the UK's diverse regions and localities.

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Browse all of our resources and film lists that support archive film below.

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