FILM ARCHIVE UK’s European representation at INEDITS AGM, Strasbourg
Film Archive UK representatives contribute to the INEDITS Association Annual General Meeting in Strasbourg, 23 – 25th November
Earlier this year FAUK were invited to attend the Annual General meeting and conference of INEDITS – the European association created in 1991 to encourage the collection, preservation, study and showcasing of amateur films: http://www.inedits-europe.org/
For their 2017 AGM in Strasbourg, the chosen focus for the conference was the contribution of European Universities to the gathering, preservation and the promotion of amateur film/cinema, with various research initiatives and regional programmes and partnerships discussed throughout the two days, interspersed with a series of curated screenings in venues at the University of Strasbourg and L’Odysee Cinema de Strasbourg, the sumptuously restored 1913 movie theatre in the centre of the City
The invitation extended from INEDITS asked FAUK to speak about the support of British Universities working in partnership, particularly with the English Regional Film Archives, on the preservation and promotion of amateur film collections, and how that ‘model’ had been developed.
Whilst there is no doubt about the support from our various host Universities, our discussions with INEDITS, and the presentation that was given, argued that there was no ‘one model’ as such, certainly not one that had been developed as a UK initiative. Instead, many of the positive associations for those RFAs within Universities were born out of happenstance – small, quite random community projects, which through various routes have developed, professionalised and flourished as the regional film archives of today, and created the partnerships that are now firmly in place with their host Universities.
To present the case, Will McTaggart from the North West Film Archive, and Sue Howard from the Yorkshire/North East Film Archive presented two very different case studies, with the NWFA firmly embedded ( and funded ) as one of Manchester Metropolitan University’s special Collections, and the Yorkshire Film Archive following a more independent route as a registered charity working to an appointed Board of Trustees drawn from across the region, with premises contracted on long term leases with both York St John University ( for YFA ) and Teesside University ( for NEFA ).
The discussions and debates were, in the main, lively and informative – mostly in French, but for those whose French could be better ( me! ), for the most part the translation facilities were good, and what was striking was that many of the films screened shared so many familiar themes – amateur footage, a lot of home movie content, and one debate that ensued after our presentation was the importance of the wider collective European memory that is revealed, and should be explored in more detail ( though for us, having worked on UK-wide projects such as SHUK and UFH, I think we were able to make a strong case that the significance of these films to the more general public audience is about location – people, place and sense of identity is hugely valued ).
On the final evening we were invited to a screening of Magali Magne’s ‘Journal Filme d’un Exile’ – Diary of an Exile, based on footage shot by Robert Bernas, living in Vienna at the time, who bought a camera to film his family and new born son, but in recording his ‘home movies’ over the coming years, documents their lives as a Franco-Austrian Jewish family, forced to flee Vienna and Paris, seek exile in the United States and finally to return to France in 1947 . The story is told by Harry Bernas, the new born son of Robert, and equally fascinating is the relationship that has developed between raconteur and filmmaker – and the parallels they both draw on life in France today.