NFA Opens Depository for 100 Million Metres of Film

On 19 June 2017, the new National Film Archive (NFA) depository was officially opened. Minister of Culture Daniel Herman, Central Bohemian Region Governor Jaroslava Pokorná Jermanová and representatives of the municipality of Hradištko attended the official opening.

The technologically advanced, 1 820 sqm building with a storage capacity of 21 500 cbm is located in the municipality of Hradištko in the district of Prague-West on the site of the existing depositories built in the 1970s and 1990s. It is located outside flood zones and flight corridors and can hold up to 100 million metres of film.

Film needs to be protected from the elements, and the design of the new building meets this requirement. The relative air humidity of 35% will prevent drying out and shrinkage, and a constant temperature of -5 °C will stop any chemical processes that shorten film life. Before being moved into the new building, each film will pass through an acclimatisation chamber, where it will remain for 24 hours. The process will be applied to 10 000 feature films and 21 000 non-feature films, 4 000 duplicate feature films and 10 000 duplicate non-feature films and 15 000 copies.

With its collections, the National Film Archive ranks among the oldest and most important film archives in the world. The new depository will mainly house all colour productions of Czechoslovak and Czech cinema on non-flammable, colour film, i.e., from the 1950s to the present, as well as safety stock of older films, which the NFA copied from a highly flammable nitrate film base to a non-flammable base. These include films by Hermína Týrlová, Jiří Trnka and Karel Zeman. Even some valuable black-and-white films will be move to the new depository, however. For example: the collection of the work of Jan Kříženecký, a pioneer of Czech cinema at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries; the first scientific films; collections of Czech avant-garde films (e.g., films by Alexander Hackenschmied); documentaries and commercials by Baťa; and a collection of films by Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund. The recording of the Milada Horáková trial, an archival cultural moment, will be stored here as well.

The new building will also include depositories for storing archival collections of contemporary documentation. These depositories will contain key documents for understanding the history of promotion of domestic cinema, including 1500 valuable examples of large-scale film posters. Glass photographic negatives capturing the portraits of film personalities, footage from filming or film advertisements that used to be screened prior to the start of feature films will also be kept in special storage.

The building will also serve as the headquarters for the NFA Library. Screenplays, clipping archive, collection of microfilms, multiplicates of books and periodicals and, last but not least, original card indexes and catalogues will be stored in the right atmospheric conditions. The film library will, for the first time in its history, have storage space made to order.

The depository will also contain a modern digital laboratory for checking and archiving native audio-visual, digital works (i.e., predominantly contemporary cinema). The digital laboratory will be responsible for transferring older strips and optical digital media to standardised files more suitable for making cultural heritage accessible in this day and age.

The depository will also provide a new, modern facility for a host of professional archive employees.

The depository, which cost CZK 155 million to build, was designed by architect Martin Kotík. The blueprints were drawn up by Arch.Design and the construction was executed by HOCHTIEF CZ. It was finance from the Czech Ministry of Culture project “Care for National Cultural Treasures” (Péče o národní kulturní poklad).


NFA depozitar Hradistko_Foto Ivan Svoboda_NFA (10)

NFA depozitar Hradistko_Foto Ivan Svoboda_NFA

NFA depozitar Hradistko_Foto Ivan Svoboda_NFA (8)

NFA depozitar Hradistko_Foto Ivan Svoboda_NFA (3)