Media Release

The National Film and Sound Archive’s Chief Curator Gayle Lake has announced she will retire from the organisation next year, after a career as one of Australia’s leading screen industry executives.

Lake, who joined the NFSA in 2012 and became its Chief Curator in 2018, has guided the national audio-visual collection through a period of immense growth, during which it has almost doubled from 2.3 million items to more than 4 million items in 2023, representing diverse stories from across Australia.

She established and still oversees the NFSA Restores program, which digitises, restores and preserves Australian films so they can be seen in today’s digital cinemas, and has led the NFSA’s relationships with screen bodies and production companies. She has been instrumental in the NFSA’s ambition to collect and preserve Australian games – a collection which has grown to 500 games in under two years – and to diversify its collecting remit to include new platforms such as social media.

Following the Australian Government’s announcement earlier this year of increased funding for the National Collecting Institutions, including the NFSA, Lake redesigned and substantially increased the NFSA’s curatorial and accessioning workforce, enabling it to bolster signature programs like NFSA Restores and to deepen and broaden collecting activity to ensure that the collection is truly representative of ever-evolving Australian creativity and cultural diversity.

Lake has held a variety of senior roles in the Australian screen industry, including as the Director of the Sydney Film Festival and as General Manager at Canberra based distributor Ronin Films. She held several roles at Screen Australia and at the Australian Film Institute and has worked as a consultant to many branches of the screen industry. She began her career at the Sydney Filmmakers Co-operative.

Patrick McIntyre, the NFSA’s CEO, said ‘It’s hard to overstate Gayle’s contribution to the NFSA and the national audiovisual collection. The remarkable breadth of her career prior to joining the institution means that she was as adept at teasing out the nuances of a forgotten silent classic as she was hammering out a commercial deal with a hardnosed studio exec. Her commitment to the continuing preservation, collection and interpretation of Australia’s audiovisual collection has been extraordinary and is reflected in the strength of the institution. She will be very much missed by us, and not least by me, but has chosen to retire on an unequivocal high.’

‘The national audiovisual collection is not only a record of our past, but also a signpost to our future,’ said Gayle Lake. ‘The joy of this role has lain not only in exploring the enormous diversity of material we acquire and preserve, but also in working with such a dedicated, smart and talented group of people, not only in my team but right across the NFSA. Honouring our responsibility not only to the collection but to the people who have entrusted it to us has been a been a privilege and a pleasure.’

Gayle Lake will leave the NFSA in mid-2024. The NFSA will commence a recruitment process before the end of 2023 and will announce further details in coming months.

Images here.

Media Enquiries:
Louise Alley | Communications Manager | 0422 348 652 |