Crisis times have become petition times for a range of moving image archives. Especially in Southern Europe it appears. In a period where subsidies to moving image archiving are considered increasingly easy to eliminate with the excuse of an austere economic climate this development has been particularly serious in the countries which have been affected most profoundly by the crisis and for a range of regional institutions which belong to the circuit outside of the mainstream film and audiovisual archives. Perhaps the most surprising case has been the looming closure of La Cinemateca Portuguesa in Lisbon which as of September last year only expected to have funding to keep up its activities for the rest of the year (at least this is what Cahiers du cinéma could report in its October issue of 2013 based on an interview with head of programming Luis Miguel Oliveira).
In France, smaller institutions such as Marseille’s Cinémémoire – Cinémathèque de films amateur de Marseille was facing cuts in June last year: an institution which holds a unique and important collection of amateur films from the former French colonies. Equally, La Cinemathèque de Bourgogne was to be relocated May 2013, without an offer to be hosted elsewhere.
Latest addition to this list of unfortunate institutions is the Spanish Filmoteca de Navarra in Pamplona. Earlier today a plea was sent out via the list-serv of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) to sign a petition explaining and creating awareness of the institution’s situation, which faces closure. I strongly encourage to sign and support this petition to create awareness of this important cause and to make it clear that audiovisual archives are irreplaceable and that audiovisual heritage – both as an art form and as a source of history and collective memory – is something which must be recognized on a par with other types of collecting institutions. I have copy-pasted the e-mail which was sent by film the Filmoteca’s archivist Silvia Casagrande below to accompany the plea. The petition can be signed here.
Filmoteca de Navarra
“Dear AMIA Community,
I am Silvia Casagrande and I’ m working as archivist at the Filmoteca de Navarra, in Spain. It is the first time that I write to the AMIA Listserv, normally I prefer to read the important suggestions that the members give regarding film’s conservation and restoration. But today I decided to write to ask the help of the entire archivist’s community.
Since its creation in 2011, the Filmoteca worked with enthusiasm trying to conserve the cinematographic and audiovisual heritage of the navarrian community. Now, the Government of Navarra decided to close the Fundation INAAC (Navarra’s institution of audiovisual arts and cinematography) that created and owned the Filmoteca! This implies that any kind of conservation and protection of the films (for the majority Home Movies) stored in the archive will be abruptly stopped. Unfortunately they don’t want to invest on their own (audiovisual) memory of the last century.
In these 3 years, as Filmoteca, we collected more than 120.000 meters of films from 80 donations; we conserve home movies from the 30’s to the 80’s, images of the Spanish Civil War, all the traditions of the region (both public and private)… all these films are historical documents of the Navarrian community.
The directors of the majors Spanish Film Archives wrote a public note to the government, but to be more effective we need the support of everybody.
We still have the possibility to send a last message to the Government of Navarra, and this can be done by signing a petition. Please consider this possibility by clicking on this link. Also, we would be grateful if you can disseminate our situation with your colleagues in order to collect more signatures supporting our petition to survive.
Thank you for what you will do! If you want to have more information regarding this email please do not hesitate in contacting me directly (on or off list)