The International Federation of Film Archives (French: Fédération internationale des archives du film, FIAF) was founded in Paris in 1938 by the Cinémathèque Française, the Reichsfilmarchiv in Berlin, the British Film Institute and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
FIAF brings together the world's leading institutions in the field of moving picture heritage. Its affiliates describe themselves as "the defenders of the twentieth century's own art form". They are dedicated to the rescue, collection, preservation and screening of moving images, which are valued both as works of art and culture and as historical documents. As of May 2017, it comprises 164 film heritage institutions in 75 countries - a reflection of the extent to which preservation of moving image heritage has become a world-wide concern.
- to uphold a code of ethics for film preservation and practical standards for all areas of film archive work
- to promote the creation of moving image archives in countries which lack them
- to seek the improvement of the legal context within which film archives carry out their work
- to promote film culture and facilitate historical research on both a national and international level
- to foster training and expertise in preservation and other archive techniques
- to ensure the permanent availability of material from the collections for study and research by the wider community
- to encourage the collection and preservation of documents and materials relating to the cinema
- to develop cooperation between members and "to ensure the international availability of films and documents".
FIAF's members are archives that are actively engaged in the activities and fully committed to the ideals described earlier. Current members reflect a wide range of non-profit institutions, including government archives, independent foundations and trusts, self-contained cinematheques, and museum or university departments.
FIAF's Associates are non-profit institutions that support the goals of the Federation but are not involved in film preservation per se. In this way, FIAF is joined by moving image museums, videotheques, documentation centres, and so on.
Much of the work of FIAF takes the form of active cooperation between members on projects of mutual benefit or interest - for example, the careful restoration of a particular film, or the compilation of a national or international filmography. The more visible activities include the annual congress, publications and the work of the specialist commissions.
The Annual Congress FIAF meets every year in a different country. The Congress combines a General Assembly at which the formal business of the Federation is transacted with a programme of symposia and workshops on technical or legal aspects of film archive work and on aspects of film history and culture.
The Specialized Commissions The Commissions are groups of individual experts from affiliated archives who meet regularly to pursue work programmes that promote and assist in the development and maintenance of standards at both the theoretical and the practical level. The three FIAF Commissions are the Cataloguing and Documentation Commission, the Technical Commission, and the Programming and Access to Collections Commission.
FIAF publishes the Journal of Film Preservation twice a year. A special office compiles and publishes the International Index to Film Periodicals and the FIAF International FilmArchive Database. Publications also include an annual bibliography of members' publications, the proceedings of symposia or workshops, the results of surveys and reports, manuals and discussion papers prepared by the specialist Commissions and the results of other FIAF projects.
- Journal of Film Preservation
- International Index to Film Periodicals
- FIAF Databases
- FIAF Bulletin Online
Relations with international organisations
FIAF has always had an active international profile. It was closely involved in the preparatory work for the UNESCO Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images, approved in Belgrade in 1980. In pursuit of the goals of the Recommendation, the Federation facilitates contacts between developing archives and older archives to make sure that experience is passed on. The Federation is a member of the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA).
Training of archive personnel takes place at FIAF Summer Schools and Technical Symposia that have been held several times in various countries. Their aim is to introduce participants to the necessary skills of preservation, cataloguing, documentation and even administration.
The FIAF Award celebrates a personality – external to the FIAF archival community – whose experience in the field of cinema underlines the objectives and goals of the Federation.
The FIAF Award was created in 2001, and has since then been presented to the following personalities:
- Martin Scorsese (2001)
- Manoel de Oliveira (2002)
- Ingmar Bergman (2003)
- Geraldine Chaplin (2004)
- Mike Leigh (2005)
- Hou Hsiao-hsien (2006)
- Peter Bogdanovich (2007)
- Nelson Pereira dos Santos (2008)
- Rithy Panh (2009)
- Liv Ullmann (2010)
- Kyōko Kagawa (2011)
- Agnès Varda (2013)
- Jan Švankmajer (2014)
- Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi (2015)
- Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (2016)
- Christopher Nolan (2017)
- Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2018)
- Jean-Luc Godard (2019)
- List of film archives
- Association of European Film Archives and Cinematheques
- Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Association
- COURAGE Registry, Wikidata Q64784883
- See, for example, Laurent Mannoni, Histoire de la Cinémathèque française (Paris: Gallimard, 2006); Haidee Wasson, Museum movies: The Museum of Modern Art and the birth of art cinema (Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005); Christophe Dupin, "The origins and early development of the National Film Library: 1929-1936", Journal of Media Practice, 7.3, 2006; Rolf Aurich, "Cinéaste, collector, National Socialist: Frank Hensel and the Reichsfilmarchiv", Journal of Film Preservation, 64, April 2002; Christophe Dupin: The origins of FIAF, 1936-1938.
- FIAF's Mission.