For immediate release
Gatineau, Québec, October 26, 2011 – In order to mark the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (www.pia.gov.ph/wdavh2011/?m=1), Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to launch the Canadian Feature Film Index database. This is one component of how LAC wishes to acknowledge this international day of recognition of audiovisual documents and their importance in society’s evolution.
The Canadian Feature Film Index, created as a printed index in 1972, is now available as an online database. This research tool provides information on over 4,300 Canadian feature films produced from 1913 to 2009. Selected entries include images of movie posters from LAC’s holdings. Additions to the database will include entries for post-2009 films. Funding of this project was received through the Preservation and Access Component of the Canadian Feature Film Policy which is administered by Canadian Heritage.
“This database is an important resource for filmmakers, students and researchers, as well as those who are interested in Canada’s cinematic history. It ensures that this key part of Canada’s documentary and cultural heritage is accessible to everyone,” said Daniel J. Caron, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
LAC has realized a number of other accomplishments in the past year in preserving Canada’s audiovisual documentary heritage, including:
In September 2009, LAC began the implementation of an Audiovisual Migration Strategy to preserve at-risk audio and video recordings in its holdings. This strategy is LAC's response to facing the preservation crisis for audiovisual recordings resulting from aging, unreliable and obsolete playback equipment, disappearing expertise in analogue audio and video technologies, and the deterioration of physical formats (such as tapes and discs). For more information on LAC’s audiovisual migration work, visit the Preservation pages on our website.
Nitrate Film Preservation Facility
On June 21, 2011, the Nitrate Film Preservation Facility was officially opened. This "state-of-the-art" facility features a range of technical innovations that meet the current standards for preservation environments and provides the required fire prevention and protection measures. The building is also equipped with small individual vaults, specialized monitoring and an exterior buffer zone of land for added security. The eco-designed building houses over 5,500 reels of film, dating from as early as 1912, and close to 600,000 photographic negatives. For more information see the News Release and a series of photos of the building.
Audiovisual documents have transformed society by becoming a permanent complement to the traditional written record. However, they are extremely vulnerable and it is estimated that we have no more than 10 to 15 years to transfer audiovisual records to digital formats to prevent their loss. Much of the world's audiovisual heritage has already been irrevocably lost through neglect, destruction, decay and the lack of resources, skills, and structures, thus impoverishing the memory of humanity. Much more will be lost if stronger and concerted international action is not taken.
It was in this context, that the General Conference of UNESCO in 2005 approved the commemoration of a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage as a mechanism to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity.
UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is on October 27.
The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
- 30 -
For media inquiries, please contact:
Pauline M. Portelance
A/Chief, Media Relations
Library and Archives Canada