An Amusement Fit for Half-wits: Partial Histories of Film Archives

Posted on January 10, 2016

Rachael Stoeltje, Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive
Christophe Dupin, International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF)
David Walsh, Imperial War Museum

The notion of preserving for the future such a low form of entertainment as film (‘an amusement fit for children and half-wits’) was once dismissed as pointless and unrealistic. In this panel Christophe Dupin looks at the beginnings of the archive movement with the founding of FIAF. He will address the four founding FIAF film archives and their early beginnings. Following that, Rachael Stoeltje considers the phenomenon of accidental archives with the recent growth of the newly established almost unintentional archives. And, then David Walsh examines how and why many film archives get things wrong….starting historically in the early days from duplicating and throwing out nitrate to more recent actions and choices that compromise collections and preservation. The three panelists together form a historical timeline of oldest and newest archives, their histories and mistakes made along the way.