About the SAFC collection
Moving house seems to trigger the need to get things in order. We sort, cull and pack our possessions in preparation; it’s a daunting task at the best of times. When the SAFC relocated to its new state-of-the-art facilities in Glenside, the task of moving was truly mammoth.
The establishment of the SAFC in 1972 by the Dunstan government helped revitalise an almost dormant Australian film industry. For 40 years, the SAFC has created a culturally significant body of work , producing critically and commercially successful films that brought Australian stories to the world. The organisation helped to propel the careers of well-known talents including Peter Weir, Bruce Beresford, Scott Hicks, Rolf De Heer, Jack Thompson, Sam Neil and Bryan Brown. Though the old Hendon Studios had served the SAFC well, a move to a new facility was needed to fulfil their production slate into the 21st century.
The entirety of the SAFC film archives had to move as part of the relocation, fortunately Melissa Juhanson contacted the NFSA well ahead of the pending deadline. Together we planned to preserve the SAFC’s archives in Canberra.
Initial scouting by our curators to determine the complexity and size of the job confirmed the significance of the collection, vital to preserve and share with all Australians. The SAFC storage room was filled with film and video masters from many of their key productions. The extensive documentation in the archives included thousands of photographic images, over 1400 film scripts, numerous festival and industry awards, original concept artworks, company papers, posters, publicity and rare film memorabilia including a flag used in Bruce Breaker Morant.
NFSA curators Simon Smith, Tara Marynowsky and Itzell Tazzyman spent weeks comparing SAFC film title listings with our existing catalogue holdings, researching the logistics of planning the packing and relocation of thousands of items. Everything was moved in several consignments to the NFSA climate-controlled facilities in Canberra, and the film curatorial team began the task of cataloguing thousands of SAFC items into the NFSA database.
With acquisition and cataloguing now completed, these newly acquired films, videos and documentation, complementing existing holdings, represents one of the NFSA’s most diverse and culturally significant collections, held within the national collection of audiovisual works.
The NFSA would like to thank the South Australian Film Corporation for their support and assistance throughout this project, with special thanks in particular to Melissa Juhanson.