BFI Unveils State-Of-The-Art Film Archiving

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The BFI has opened a new state-of-the-art £12m Master Film Store in Gaydon, Warwickshire. The Store, which complements the BFI’s existing archive site in Berkhamsted, will house film prints and negatives from the extraordinary Edwardian works of Mitchell and Kenyon to Hitchcock's masterpieces and, much more recently, The King's Speech.

The facility has been built on a disused military site and will use green technologies to keep the films at a temperature of minus 5 degrees and 35% relative humidity, the optimum for preserving films. It is a key part of the Screen Heritage UK programme, which launched on Sept 5 at the BFI Southbank.

With a total of £22.8 million in funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), SHUK is a major collaboration between the BFI and regional film archives which will ensure Britain's film history is safe for future generations. It will also enable everyone in Britain to find out about their film heritage for free via a new cataloguing and online access drive – Search Your Film Archives. The national and regional film archives have created this resource to give the public online access to information about film archives across the UK.

The project is launching with a BFI and BBC co-production The Reel History of Britain, presented by Melvyn Bragg, which brings the archive to life in a 20 part series. Commenting, Heather Stewart, SHUK Programme Director and Creative Director BFI, said: "The film archives of Britain have joined forces to take film archiving to the next level. Film is an integral part of British culture and SHUK will ensure we not only safe-guard our film heritage but that everyone in the UK gets to benefit from it."