Screening loans

Screening loans

The NFSA offers film and video for loan to cinemas, film festivals, film societies and educational, cultural and community organisations. Access is through two separate catalogues: NFSA search the collection (theatrical loans) and the NFSA Screen Lending Collection . Borrowers are encouraged to search both catalogues.

NFSA Screen Lending Collection update – 8 December 2014

Between May and November this year the NFSA has been consulting widely with Film Societies, user groups and other stakeholders to look at how the service can be delivered differently.

Part of this process was to survey film society members, user groups and stakeholders. We are grateful for the 150 responses received and a summary of the results is now available (see Screen Lending Collection Bulletins, right).

As the consultation process is not yet complete NFSA CEO Michael Loebenstein has announced that the interim Screening Loans services will now be extended to the non-theatrical sector until 31 December 2015 under the following conditions:

  • Existing screening loans commitments and bookings in all formats will be honoured for screening dates until 30 June 2015.
  • New bookings for screenings of non-film formats (DVD/BluRay/VHS) will be accepted under the current system from Wednesday 10 December 2014 for screenings up to 31 December 2015 to enable program planning for clients for the full 2015 period while consultation on a new business model for the sector continues.
  • As flagged in May this year, the NFSA is reviewing and condition checking 16mm and 35mm films in the collection. Because of their fragility and rarity bookings for screenings of the 16mm collection from 1 July 2015 onwards will be limited to entities that have the projection facilities and skills to handle these unique and irreplaceable prints.
  • From Wednesday 10 December to 31 December 2015 all new bookings for 16mm and 35mm films can only be made by contacting NFSA staff via email to or by phoning 1800 012 175 so condition checks can be made on the films before bookings are confirmed.

Jane Cruickshank, Senior Manager Access and Commercial

NFSA Screen Lending Collection update – 28 May 2014

This information is to clarify the confusion about the future of the NFSA’s Screen Lending Collection service that has been reported in the media and online recently. The questions below have been asked of the NFSA.

What is the new business model and system and why the change?

The current Screen Lending collection’s database and booking system came to the NFSA from ACMI in 2004. It is outdated, not sustainable and not compatible with our main system. We are therefore integrating it over the next 12 months.

The NFSA has never received funding to deliver this program and during the business review process the CEO reviewed all services. As a result, some will be delivered differently, some on a cost recovery basis, some will be phased out.

The Screen Lending Collection service is one that will be delivered differently. We do not have the budget for the licence renewals of this service but we are still committed to offer it in the best way we can. To that end we have one staff member dedicated to this.

What happens after mid 2015?

As we have previously announced, existing screening loan commitments and new bookings under the current system will continue unchanged until June 2015 by which stage the new system will be in place.

Once the Screening Loans collection is transferred to our integrated system all accessible titles will be searchable and ordered and invoiced through a new e commerce system.

How will current rights be renewed and new ones purchased?

The majority (90%) of the Screen Lending Collection is licenced as ‘Life of Print’ limited to the original format. This includes some 8,500 titles on 16mm, 150 on DVD and over 5,000 on VHS. These licences do not require renewing but are limited to the originally acquired format.

There are a number of 5-10 year non-exclusive licences covering about 950 titles. (Note: expiry dates, where applicable, are listed with each title on our online catalogue, called the ‘Withdrawal date’)

As users of the service will know from the Bulletins we issue, the NFSA has moved to concentrate on acquiring Australian films. This is to better align with our core mission to collect, preserve and share Australia’s audiovisual heritage.

It is true that some titles will have their licences lapse this calendar year and the NFSA will not have the budget to renew them. We therefore need to find ways to continue the service and would welcome the opportunity to consult on this in an effort to have support for the new model.

How is the consultation going to take place?

The NFSA would like to canvas Screen Lending Collection views via an online survey, so we can determine the best way forward in this tight fiscal environment. The data will be fed back to you. We will issue this survey in July this year. We welcome feedback on the survey.

What is the future of 16mm film hire?

This issue has been on the NFSA horizon for quite some time as film becomes increasingly fragile, rare and at risk. This year we will begin reviewing and condition checking these 16mm (and 35mm) films. We need to flag that it is inevitable that some may have to be withdrawn from the service to protect them for the future or until they can be digitised. We will of course let you know as we do.

NFSA Screen Lending Collection update – 6 May 2014

Our CEO Michael Loebenstein recently announced major changes at the NFSA, including the introduction of a new business model and structure for the organisation, to make our operations more sustainable and ensure ongoing currency and relevance.

It has been reported that, as part of these changes, the NFSA will no longer offer access to its collection to Australia’s film societies and other community organisations. This information is incorrect, and the NFSA remains committed to sharing its national audiovisual collection with the public.

We will continue to support screenings of quality films, and this service will be delivered as part of a new integrated model. The Screen Lending collection service (non-theatrical) will be part of a new ‘Collection Reference Service’, and will continue to provide research and lending services to the public.

Existing screening loan commitments and new bookings under the current system will continue unchanged until June 2015, by which stage a new system will be in place.  

Details about this new system will be announced following consultation over the coming months. As part of this consultation process, a senior NFSA manager will be attending the Australian Council of Film Societies (ACOFS) AGM in May.

NFSA Screen Lending Collection

The majority of titles in the NFSA Screen Lending Collection have been pre-licensed for non-theatrical and educational screenings. This catalogue contains thousands of Australian and international features, shorts, animations, documentaries, television shows, experimental, educational and training films, available on 16mm film, DVD and VHS formats. Registered borrowers may book directly online. Theatrical screenings from this catalogue are available subject to copyright clearance.

Non-theatrical screenings are those where titles are exhibited on a non-commercial basis (where no direct admission charge is levied) to the following organisations: educational, cultural, social and religious institutions, community groups, churches, film societies, government bodies, hospitals, libraries, museums and galleries.

Search the NFSA Screen Lending Collection


Theatrical loans

Feature films, documentaries, shorts, cinema advertisements and other materials are available for theatrical screenings subject to approval from the rights holder and NFSA conditions of use. Titles are primarily Australian and are available on 35mm and 16mm film, with limited titles on high quality Betacam video. Images for many titles are also available. Search the collection to find materials that have access copies.

Theatrical screenings generally refer to those:

  • which are open to the public
  • for which admission is charged
  • which are conducted by an individual or organisation that falls outside of the non-theatrical definition (see above).

Search the collection


Contact us

Tel: 02 6248 2217
Fax: 02 6249 8159
Toll free: 1800 012 175 (only available within Australia)

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