Unlocking Film Heritage
Unlocking Film Heritage is one of the most significant film digitisation projects ever undertaken and encompasses the British Film Institute National Archive and the UK regional and national screen archives.
With its Digital Film Archive recognised by the BFI as a significant collection of moving image material, Northern Ireland Screen – working alongside a host of organisations including National Museums Northern Ireland, UTV, Tourism NI and the Irish Film Archive – has ensured that Northern Ireland is represented amongst the cine material selected and digitised as part of the project.
The goal of the programme is to ensure that the public – be they filmmakers, educationalists, researchers, or other users – can access and enjoy the full range of our rich screen heritage. The cine films digitised as part of the Unlocking Film Heritage programme includes a wealth of undiscovered content about Northern Ireland; stories of local areas and people that make the ordinary extraordinary and uncover a hidden history of the region on film, from urban architecture to rural landscapes, festivals to famous visitors.
To date more than 200 pieces of cine film have been digitised and preserved through the project. All the material that is digitised will be made free-to-access in a variety of ways, including online via the Digital Film Archive and BFI Player, and through incorporation into the Digital Film Archive partner network and associated education and outreach programmes.
Aiming to build upon the success of Unlocking Film Heritage (2013-17), Northern Ireland Screen will seek to expand its digitisation programme, to work with new partners and continue preserving film on endangered and near obsolete media, such as cine and various tape formats.
Adding your films to the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive
Whether amateur or professional, we’re always keen to hear from anyone who has film, or video, made in, or about Northern Ireland.
Please email Digital Film Archive staff with details of the material you own, providing as much information as possible, including the format of the film, quantity, date and subject matter. We will contact you as soon as possible to inform you if the material is relevant to our collection.
If the films are of interest to Northern Ireland Screen, we’ll discuss a Permissions Agreement which sets out terms and conditions. This allows you to agree the terms under which we would incorporate your material into the Digital Film Archive. All such uses would be non-commercial – we do ask your permission to add the material to our website and to use the films as part of our ongoing education and outreach programmes.
However, Northern Ireland Screen will never ask you to relinquish copyright of your films and any commercial enquiries relating to films in the Digital Film Archive will be referred back to you as the rights holder.
Where material requires digitisation, we may be able to offer you a DVD copy of your footage, free-of-charge. However, as Northern Ireland Screen does not have a physical archive, all master tapes will be returned to you.