Guide to the Streaming Sites of International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) Affiliates
As the new coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to wreak havoc all over the world, people are doing what they can to keep the damage to a minimum by staying home. The vast majority of film screenings at the cinematheques, archives and film festivals of the world have thus either been postponed or cancelled altogether.
The International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), which the National Film Archive of Japan also belongs to, is consequently recommending and welcoming access to the websites of its member organizations. The below page on the website of FIAF provides a portal to the online film collections of approximately 60 film archives from around the world. The websites that the portal takes you to are manifold, ranging from independently operated purpose-built sites to ones that utilize existing streaming platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, but all of them allow you to view numerous collections of films and other media for free, anytime and anywhere. We urge you to try going on a “virtual trip”, using archival moving image media to delve into research in history in general and film history in particular (note that some restrictions may apply; the ❖ symbol marks external sites).
The archives have made available exceedingly rare moving images, produced in various countries in various languages. Some have fallen into public domain, some were never intended for commercial release, some are considered exceptionally important works in their countries of origin, some serve as documents on culture and life in the 20th century — the works included are truly manifold, but what all of them have in common is, surely, the fact that they are the fruit of many years’ worth of collection and preservation efforts by film archives, and that they constitute priceless audiovisual cultural properties that capture world history of the past 120 or so years using the technology of film. Below are but a few examples.
❖ Eye Filmmuseum (Netherlands): numerous works from the Desmet Collection, one of the world’s most important silent film collections.
❖ UCLA Film & Television Archive: the legendary USS-sponsored television series Steel Hour featuring James Dean, etc.
❖ EFG (European Film Gateway): a portal that makes available footage from 38 film archives in Europe. Of particular importance is their World War I footage.
❖ New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision): showcases various cultural and historical documentaries from New Zealand.
❖ Film Archive, Thailand: Amazing Incidents a.k.a. Miracle Happens (เหตุมหัศจรรย์ / Het Mahatsachan) from 1955, considered Thailand’s first animation, etc.
Furthermore, FIAF has also started arranging this multitude of works into thematic programmes such as ‘Massimo’s Tour of Italy from His Living Room’, ‘(G)rêve Générale – General Strike’, ‘Dance dance dance’, ‘Football!’, ‘Here is looking at you – KIDS!’, ‘Booze and Us’, etc.
❖ Thematic programmes: Programming FIAF Affiliates’ Online Film Collections
The Online Services of the National Film Archive of Japan
NFAJ’s two streaming sites, also listed on the web page, are very popular and keep attracting new visitors from all over the world. Please take a look if you have not already.
❖ The Meiji Period on Film (in Japanese)
Additionally, there is the still image site NFAJ Digital Gallery that showcases material related to Japanese film history. Carefully selected from our non-film collection, the material is arranged around themes and presented with explanations (mostly in Japanese only, but some English notes are included as well) that situate it in the context of film history. The aim of this virtual gallery is to contribute to research into early Japanese films that have been lost and the history of the nation’s movie theatres. We are looking forward to your visit.
National Film Archive of Japan