Colourful graphic of three arrrows

Sharing the NFSA collection

How can I access the NFSA collection?

Our collection is at your fingertips
 Miguel Gonzalez

Discover the many ways you can access our collection. You might be surprised by how much is available – onsite, online and elsewhere.

The NFSA collection includes more than 4 million items. A large number of these were created using the analogue technologies of the 20th century – such as film and tape. We’re always working hard on our digitisation program so that more of the collection is available to use and reuse by the public, creatives, students, academics and others.  

It’s a huge task because of the volume, resources and specialised skills required. The collection also keeps growing every day with the arrival of contemporary digital-born content, including new media such as virtual reality and video games. We will never stop collecting and preserving the work of Australia’s creative minds.

Providing access to this huge collection is a priority for the NFSA. We may never be able to publish everything in our collection online, because we don’t own copyright for most of it (including the best-known films, TV and radio programs, or music), but we are constantly expanding the ways in which you can explore a curated selection. 

We welcome you in person

We can’t wait until we can receive visitors to our heritage building in Canberra, once we reopen to the public on 1 August 2020. We’ve missed you in the months since we had to close our doors. 

On 1 August we are opening a new interactive space – Hive – where you can discover more of our collection and the people who look after it.  

Since August 2018 we’ve hosted popular exhibitions such as Heath Ledger: A Life in Pictures, The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition, Carriberrie, Game Masters: The Exhibition and Australians & Hollywood. Some of these exhibitions also go on to tour, taking our collection out on the road to new audiences around metropolitan and regional Australia. 

And in the past 12 months to July 2020, an additional 17,183 people have attended a special screening in Arc cinema or an event at the NFSA. Thousands more every year visit our site to learn about the collection as part of school groups. 

Highlights from the opening night of the Heath Ledger: A Life in Pictures exhibition on 10 August 2018, featuring special guests Abbie Cornish, Ryan Corr, Asher Keddie and Vincent Fantauzzo.

We are always open online

Have you explored all of the NFSA's online platforms? They include: 

In the past 12 months, these websites received almost 1.5 million visits. Check out some of our most popular content: 

We’ve also launched NFSA Live, a series of free live-streamed events including a virtual edition of our monthly music night Vinyl Lounge, expert talks, and screenings followed by filmmaker Q&As. The first six sessions were joined by almost 5,000 people from around Australia and the world. 

We get social with you

We engage with audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and SoundCloud. Across these platforms, we’ve brought the NFSA collection to over 10 million users in the last 12 months. And we love your likes, comments and shares.

Make sure you join our 58,796 subscribers on YouTube. Our two channels – NFSA and NFSA Films – have 58,796 subscribers. You can watch 1,228 videos, including full-length documentaries covering almost 100 years of Australian government productions, as well as interviews with actors and filmmakers, and even highlights from several editions of our Digital Directions symposium. 

Our YouTube content has been viewed 5,292,582 times in the past 12 months. During this time, people around the world watched 24 million minutes’ worth of NFSA video. That’s over 45 years’ worth of viewing.

Life in Australia: Brisbane, Episode 1, 1964. Made by the Commonwealth Film Unit. Film Australia Collection.

We're in other people's movies...

The NFSA collection is also constantly being reused to create or inspire new works, or for research purposes.  

You have probably seen footage from the NFSA in award-winning productions such as The Queen or Ladies in Black, without even knowing.

In the past 12 months, we’ve had 2,840 customers requesting access to our collection – ranging from professional content makers, independent creatives and academics, to members of the public researching their own family history, or trying to find themselves or a relative in an old film or TV show. You can find out how to make an enquiry here

In this period, our collection was featured in 729 projects or events – including documentaries, exhibitions, publishing, online, feature films, news and current affairs, corporate and government productions, and film screenings in Australia and around the world. This includes the new Slim Dusty documentary Slim & I, releasing in 2020. 

... And on a screen/streaming platform near you

We also lend films from our collection for screenings in cinemas large and small, and Australian and international film festivals. We provide films to Indigenous communities through our Black Screen program, and to film societies and non-profit organisations through the Non-Theatrical Lending Collection

A number of our titles are also available to stream or purchase digitally, including 13 films on Ozflix, plus hundreds on the education platforms Kanopy (which can be accessed free with your library card) and The Education Shop. We also sell digital titles on our online shop.  

The NFSA collection is always close to you, one way or another. Please enjoy it; it’s yours!