Since its inception in 1947, the Academy’s prime focus has been celebrating excellence in the art forms of the moving image. Over more than 60 years, from the early days of the British Film Academy, through our later incarnation as the Society of Film and Television Arts, to our BAFTA activities today, we have quietly amassed a wealth of material that documents the history of our industry, our Awards ceremonies and inspirational events. However, due to a lack of resources and funding, we have been unable to catalogue or digitise these treasures, let alone share them with the public. Thankfully, that is all now changing.
The past two years have been spent analysing the holdings in our Archive, which comprises a mix of black and white and colour photographs, in-house journals, award and events publications, moving image clips, digital images, audio files and webcasts. We have established an Archive Steering Group to discuss strategy, funding, resources and implementation. The Group has also been looking at formats for digitising items in various media and an infrastructure which is as ‘future-proof’ as possible. This will enable us for the first time to share this BAFTA archive widely with our members and the public .
Our first and very helpful grant, from the David Lean BAFTA Foundation, has gone towards the digitisation of some 1100 historic photographs in the BAFTA Archive, which chart the organisation’s visual history. On 12 June 2008 we shared the first 100 of those digitised images online in the 100 Collection. As part of our initial launch, we also showcased and celebrated the work of two extraordinary filmmakers but even more outstanding Academy contributors: Sir David Lean, one of our founding fathers, and Lord Attenborough, our current President.
The reasons are twofold: we’re aiming to preserve past, present and future BAFTA Archive holdings and to make them available for broader public access. We hope you enjoy it.