|Established||5 April 1984|
|Location||McCoy Circuit, Acton, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|Collection size||3 million works|
|CEO||Nancy Eyers (Acting)|
|Chairperson||Gabrielle Trainor AO|
|Owner||Government of Australia|
|Employees||162 (at June 2019)|
|Nearest parking||Free parking surrounding the building on Liversidge Street|
The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), known as ScreenSound Australia from 1999 to 2004, is Australia's audiovisual archive, responsible for developing, preserving, maintaining, promoting and providing access to a national collection of film, television, sound, radio, video games, new media, and related documents and artefacts. The collection ranges from works created in the late nineteenth century when the recorded sound and film industries were in their infancy, to those made in the present day.
The NFSA collection first started as the National Historical Film and Speaking Record Library (within the then Commonwealth National Library) in 1935, becoming an independent cultural organisation in 1984. On 3 October, Prime Minister Bob Hawke officially opened the NFSA's headquarters in Canberra.
The work of the Archive can be officially dated to the establishment of the National Historical Film and Speaking Record Library (part of the then Commonwealth National Library, precursor to the National Library of Australia) by a Cabinet decision on 11 December 1935.
After being part of the National Library of Australia (NLA) and its predecessors for nearly 50 years, the National Film and Sound Archive was created as a separate Commonwealth collecting institution through an announcement in Parliament on 5 April 1984 that took immediate effect.At that time, an Advisory Committee was established to guide the institution.
On 21 June 1999, the name was changed to ScreenSound Australia, the National Collection of Screen and Sound, and changed again in early 2000 to ScreenSound Australia, National Screen and Sound Archive. It reverted to its original name, National Film and Sound Archive, in December 2004.
In 2000, Screensound joined the PANDORA Archive, the web archiving project started by the NLA in 1996, as a collaborating partner.
Meanwhile, consequent on amendments to the Australian Film Commission Act which took effect on 1 July 2003, it ceased to be a semi-autonomous entity within the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and became an integrated branch, later a division, of the Australian Film Commission, a funding and promotional body.
In 2007, the Liberal Government announced the creation of a new agency to be called Screen Australia which would incorporate the main functions of the Film Finance Corporation, the Australian Film Commission (including the Archive), and Film Australia. Following elections in November 2007, however, the new Labor Government implemented an election promise to allow the NFSA to become a statutory authority, similar to other major cultural institutions including the National Library of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Museum of Australia. The NFSA Act became law on 20 March 2008 and came into effect on 1 July 2008, with celebrations held that day.
The Archive's first Board as a statutory authority comprised:
The building to which the Archive moved in 1984 was the home of the Australian Institute of Anatomy from 1931-84. Originally it held the anatomy collection of Sir Colin MacKenzie.[ citation needed ]
The building is often classified as art deco, though its overall architectural style is technically "Late 20th Century Stripped Classical", the style of ancient Greece and Rome but simplified and modernised. It features a symmetrical façade, a horizontal skyline, classical columns and a central entrance. The decorative foyer features images of native flora, fauna and Aboriginal art and motifs. Face masks of well-known scientists from the late 19th century and early 20th century are featured on the foyer’s walls as a reminder of its previous incarnation as the Institute of Anatomy.[ citation needed ]
The building also features a landscaped courtyard, theatre and research centre. In 1999, the building was extended to accommodate the Archive's growth. The new wing’s design is in keeping with the Art Deco style of the main structure with details and finishes to match the original look.[ citation needed ]
The NFSA collection includes more than 3 million items, encompassing sound recordings, radio, television, film, video games and new media. In addition to discs, films, videos, audio tapes, phonograph cylinders and wire recordings, the collection includes supporting documents and artefacts, such as personal papers and organisational records, photographs, posters, lobby cards, publicity, scripts, costumes, props, memorabilia, and sound, video and film equipment.[ citation needed ]
Notable holdings include:[ citation needed ]
A 2010 study compared the curatorial practices of accessioning and cataloging for NFSA collections and for YouTube with regard to access to older Australian television programs. It found the NFSA to be stronger in current affairs and older programs, and YouTube stronger in game shows, lifestyle programs, and "human interest" material (births, marriages, and deaths). YouTube cataloging was found to have fewer broken links than the NFSA collection, and YouTube metadata could be searched more intuitively. The NFSA was found to generally provide more useful reference information about production and broadcast dates.
The NFSA announced plans to collect Australian-developed video games as part of its collection starting in 2019, with new titles to be added on an annual basis.
Australian Screen Online (ASO), also known as Australian Screen or australianscreen, is an online database operated by the Australian National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA). It has both a promotional and educational function, providing free worldwide online access to information about Australian cinema and the television industry in Australia.
It provides information about and excerpts from a wide selection of Australian feature films, documentaries, television programs, newsreels, short films, animations, and home movies, provided by a collaboration of the NFSA with the National Archives of Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, SBS, and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).The educational content is designed for teachers and students, and includes a collection of film clips accompanied by teachers’ notes and urators’ notes written by experts.
Since the initial launch of the website on 18 July 2007, with more than 1500 Australian film and TV clips,it has won numerous awards as an educational resource and for its website design. The website was revamped and re-launched in 2009, including new features such as exclusive interviews with filmmakers, a news section, forums, games, detailed profiles of producers, directors, screenwriters, film score composers and actors. At the time, it reported about 90,000 visitors per month to the website, with 25 per cent coming from outside Australia.
The Ken G Hall Film Preservation Award was established in 1995 as a tribute to producer/director Ken G Hall. It is presented in recognition of an individual, group, or organisation, for their outstanding contribution to the art of moving image and its preservation. It is presented to candidates where there is a significant link between their work and its impact or relationship to the Australian film industry. Examples of this contribution include technical innovation, scholarship in the field, involvement with the survival of film as an art form and as a cultural experience, advocacy, sponsorship and fundraising.
The NFSA National Folk Recording Award was established in 2001 to encourage and reward excellence in Australian folk music recording. Award entrants are selected from recordings submitted each year to the National Folk Festival in Canberra. The judging panel comprises representatives from the National Folk Festival, ABC Radio and the Archive.
The Cochrane-Smith Award for Sound Heritagerecognises the achievements of a person who has made a substantial contribution to the preservation, survival and recognition of sound heritage. It is named for Fanny Cochrane Smith, who features on the only known recording of Tasmanian Aboriginal songs and language.
The Orlando Short Film Award is an annual celebration of Australia’s best lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex short films. It recognises the nation’s cultural diversity and the role screen culture plays within the broader community.
First presented in 2010, the NFSA Australian Cinematographers Society John Leake OAM Award for an Emerging Cinematographer is designed to enable emerging cinematographers to develop their craft, and is presented annually at the Australian Cinematographers Society Awards. The Award is named in honour of Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) co-founder and industry icon John Leake(1927–2009). The judging panel comprises the Federal President of the Australian Cinematographers Society, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Film and Sound Archive, and two other executive members of the ACS.
The South East Asia Pacific Audiovisual Archives Association (SEAPAVAA) NFSA Preservation Award recognises the extraordinary efforts of individuals or organisations within the South East Asia and Pacific region in preserving or promoting audiovisual archiving in the region. It is presented at the annual SEAPAVAA conference.
The following exhibitions have been developed by the NFSA:
From August 2018, the NFSA re-opened its exhibition gallery to present temporary exhibitions, including:
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), established as the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (AIAS) in 1964, is an independent Australian Government statutory authority. It is a collecting, publishing and research institute and is considered to be Australia's premier resource for information about the cultures and societies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Institute is a leader in ethical research and the handling of culturally sensitive material and holds in its collections many unique and irreplaceable items of cultural, historical and spiritual significance. The collection at AIATSIS has been built through over 50 years of research and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is now a source of language and culture revitalisation, native title research and family and community history. AIATSIS is located on Acton Peninsula in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
Vincent Lingiari AM was an Australian Aboriginal rights activist and member of the Gurindji people. In his early life he started as a stockman at Wave Hill Station, where the Aboriginal workers were given no more than rations, tobacco and clothing as their payment. After the owners of the station refused to improve pay and working conditions at the cattle station and hand back some of Gurindji land, Lingiari was elected and became the leader of the workers in August 1966. He led his people in the Wave Hill walk-off, also known as the Gurindji strike.
The Queensland Museum is the state museum of Queensland, dedicated to natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement. The museum currently operates from its headquarters and general museum in South Brisbane with specialist museums located in North Ipswich in Ipswich, East Toowoomba in Toowoomba, and in Townsville City in Townsville.
The Athenaeum or Melbourne Athenaeum is an art and cultural hub in the central business district of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1839, it is the city's oldest cultural institution.
ACMI, formerly the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, is Australia's national museum of film, television, videogames, and art. ACMI was established in 2002 and is based at Federation Square in Melbourne, Victoria.
Joseph Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski AM, FRSA was best known for his ground-breaking work in chromasonics, laser kinetics and 'sound and image' productions. He earned recognition in Australia and overseas for his pioneering work in laser sound and image technology. His work included painting, photography, film-making, theatre design, fabric design, murals, kinetic and static sculpture, stained glass, vitreous enamel murals, op-collages, computer graphics, and laser art. Ostoja flourished between 1940 and 1994.
The Australian Film Commission (AFC) was an Australian government agency was founded in 1975 with a mandate to promote the creation and distribution of films in Australia as well as to preserve the country's film history. It also had a production arm responsible for production and commissioning of films for the government. It was superseded by Screen Australia from 1 July 2008.
Film Australia was a company established by the Government of Australia to produce films about Australia in 1973. Its predecessors were the Cinema and Photographic Branch (1913–38), the Australian National Film Board, and the Commonwealth Film Unit (1956–72). Film Australia became Film Australia Limited in 1988 and was consolidated into Screen Australia in 2008.
Vivienne Joyce Binns is an Australian artist known for her contribution to the Women's Art Movement in Australia, her engagement with feminism in her artwork, and her active advocacy within community arts. She works predominantly in painting.
The Australian Institute of Anatomy was a natural history museum and medical research institute that was founded in 1931 and disbanded in 1985. The institute's heritage-listed building, located in, Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia, has been occupied by the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) since October 1984. The building was added to the Commonwealth Heritage List on 22 June 2004.
The National Gallery of Australia Research Library is the pre-eminent art library in Australia, located in Canberra. The second Chief Librarian, Margaret Shaw, was appointed in 1978 ca. 3 years before the Gallery opened and retired in 2004.
The Sounds of Australia, formerly the National Registry of Recorded Sound, is the National Film and Sound Archive's selection of sound recordings which are deemed to have cultural, historical and aesthetic significance and relevance for Australia. It was founded in 2007.
Martha Ansara is a documentary filmmaker whose films on social issues have won international prizes and been screened in Australia, the UK, Europe and North America. Ansara was one of the first women in Australia to work as a cinematographer, is a full member of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) and was inducted into the ACS Hall of Fame in 2015. Martha is a Life Member of the Australian Directors Guild and a founding member of Ozdox, the Australian Documentary Forum. She has also worked as a film lecturer and film writer and has been active in the trade union, women's and peace movements.
Dr. Andrew Pike, OAM is an Australian film historian, film distributor and exhibitor, and documentary producer and director. Pike formed Ronin Films, an Australian film distribution company, with his first wife, Dr Merrilyn Fitzpatrick, in 1974. With Ross Cooper, he co-authored the book, Reference Guide to Australian Films 1906–1969 and has produced and directed many documentaries since 1982. Pike has been honoured with numerous awards including a plaque on the ACT Honour Walk in Canberra City, appointed of the Order of Australia (OAM) and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Canberra.
The Art of Sound is an exhibition which was developed in 2013 by the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) in collaboration with art galleries in Australia to explore the use of sound in the visual arts.
Ann Foster Newmarch, known as "Annie", was a South Australian painter, printmaker, sculptor and academic, with an international reputation, known for her community service to art, social activism and feminism. She co-founded the Progressive Art and the Women's Art Movement (WAM) in Adelaide, and is especially known for her iconic 1978 colour screenprint piece titled Women Hold Up Half the Sky!.
Lina Bryans, was an Australian modernist painter.
Judy Watson is an Australian Waanyi multi-media artist who works in print-making, painting, video and installation. Her work often examines Indigenous Australian histories, and she has received a number of high profile commissions for public spaces.
Raymond Charles Argall is best known as a cinematographer and director for both film and television. He has also worked as an editor. His multi-award-winning feature film Return Home (1990) is regarded by many critics as an Australian cinema classic. Argall served on the board of the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) for sixteen years, holding the position of president from 2006 to 2015 and secretary from 2015 to 2017. In 2016, Argall launched a business restoring archival films through his production company Piccolo Films. In 2018 the ADG presented him with its prestigious Cecil Holmes Award.
Ludwik Dutkiewicz, was a Ukrainian born Australian artist. He was born in Stara Sil, Ukraine on 2 February 1921. He won the 1953 and 1954 Cornell Prize.
Published online: 28 Oct 2013 [Routledge]