Acquisition of Screen Australia Library
It is with pride that I write this ‘open letter’ to confirm the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) will be assuming management of the Screen Australia Library (formerly known as the Film Australia Library) and associated Sales and Distribution program from 1 July 2011. The high standard of current services provided by the staff managing these two programs will continue with minimal disruption as these staff and the associated production facilities are transferring to the NFSA’s Sydney Office located at 45 Murray Street, Pyrmont.
This transfer means the incoming collection of approximately 5000 film titles will become part of the NFSA national audiovisual collection of over 1.6 million items which is managed and cared for in the interests of all Australians. As part of this transfer, the NFSA has decided to formally reinstate the ‘Film Australia’ identity of the incoming collection which from 1 July 2011 will be known as the ‘Film Australia Collection’. This transfer follows on from the successful migration of the former Screen Australia Digital Learning websites to the NFSA in 2010.
The transfer of the Film Australia Collection and the Sales and Distribution programs has been effected by legislation named the Screen Australia (Transfer of Assets) Act 2011. In addition, legislation also established a change in name for the NFSA, with the addition of the words ‘of Australia’ at the end of our name. This action brings the NFSA in to line with the majority of the Australian Government collecting institutions and from 1 July 2011 we will be known as the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
At the time of introducing the transfer legislation to the Australian Parliament on 17 November 2010, The Hon. Simon Crean, Minister for the Arts, said, “This (the Screen Australia film library) is a substantial archival resource and the government considers the NFSA, as Australia’s premier collecting institution for audiovisual material, should be responsible for preserving and supporting the development of this resource. The transfer of this film library and digital learning functions will also enhance and complement the NFSA’s new direction of providing greater online content and improving access to its collection of audiovisual materials.”
During the Second Reading of the Bill in the Australian Senate on 3 March 2011, the Hon. Senator George Brandis, former Minister for the Arts said, “The opposition are very pleased to support this bill, as we have and will continue to provide our very strong support to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, as we should now call it …”. The NFSA is very appreciative of the bi-partisan political support for this move. The NFSA is intensely committed to increasing the enjoyment and appreciation of Australia’s audiovisual heritage and to provide easier and more engaging pathways to the national collection. The Film Australia Collection is of immense historical significance, offering a diverse range of quality Australian documentary and education programs spanning a century of the nation’s film production. It includes associated teaching resources produced under the National Interest Program and ‘Making History’ initiative in addition to the digital learning websites referred to earlier.
I am excited about the future prospects to evolve and expand access opportunities through the Film Australia Collection and all our staff look forward to working with a wide range of sectors in pursuit of this goal.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the staff of the NFSA that have worked hard to ensure a smooth transition and welcome the incoming staff associated with the Film Australia Collection and the associated Sales and Distribution program.
Further information in relation to the arrangements for these programs will be posted on the NFSA website. In addition we will shortly be sending out correspondence to producers and other stakeholders confirming all future contact details and associated business operational arrangements.