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Image: The Magic Shoes (1935). NFSA ID: 683091
Our curators are continually searching for key works that are needed for the NFSA collection.
Here is the current list of works we are seeking. If you can help us please contact collection [at] nfsa.gov.au or phone 02 6248 2000 and ask to speak to a senior curator about the NFSA’s Most Wanted.
Search current NFSA collections using title numbers or keywords.
Scene from 'Red Sky at Morning’ (1944)
Scene from 'Two Minutes Silence’ (1933)
The NFSA aims to acquire original image and sound negatives, or their more recent digital equivalents, of Australian feature films, documentaries and short films. These components can be used for preservation and any necessary restoration, allowing the creation of new duplicate image and sound negatives in the lead-up to a new print.
The many copies of a film that are screened in cinemas are printed, photochemically, from a 35mm or 16mm negative, usually itself a duplicate made from the original edited camera negative. Prints over time become scratched, faded, shrunken and fragmented, and their soundtrack worn. Even if a print is in perfect condition it is unsuitable for copying or for preservation, and when a battered print is the sole survivor of a feature film, this is far from ideal. Sometimes negatives are re-edited to shorter versions of the film for later release or for use overseas, and the original full-length version is hard to reproduce.
More than 90 per cent of all Australian films made during the pre-1930 silent era are now missing. Chances of their survival diminish with each passing year unless they are held by an archive, distributor or collector. The survival options for films made since 1951 are far better. Not only have these films been made on safety stock, but many of their filmmakers, or people who knew them, are still around to provide valuable leads.
If a film has not been kept under stable storage conditions (in vaults with customised temperature and humidity controls), even films several years old can be in jeopardy. This applies to films shot digitally too. With digital production, projection and archiving now a reality, archives face the increasing challenge of deciding what to preserve, how to preserve it, and how to migrate digital-born material in the face of rapid format change.
The NFSA’s Collection Policy requires the NFSA to preserve a film in its original form for as long as the technology of that form can be supported. While a film might turn up regularly on television or DVD, this does not guarantee that it is being preserved.