The NFA acquires its materials of permanent archival value from producers of cinematic works; private persons and film amateurs as a donation; purchase or exchange with other state members pertaining to FIAF (the International Federation of Film Archives) and in cases of data and the collection of audio recordings in the Department of Oral History also through their own creations.
The key acquisition activity is a so called bid obligation. In accordance with the Act no. 496/2012 on Collections each manufacturer of Czech cinema is required to offer the National Film Archive two intact prints, a copy of a literary scenario and promotional materials.
On the basis of a contract, individual producers can store duplicate materials in the NFA’s depositories (the so called contractual deposits). Temperature and humidity are controlled in these vaults and producers therefore reduce the risk of damage to their material due to improper storage.
In a similar manner, the Department of Special Collections is able to store written and pictorial documents connected with the creation of cinematic works.
After the Film Archive was established (1943), it acquired among its collections mainly films from private producers and distributors, and thus managed to save a high percentage of silent feature and non-feature films and almost all of the sound feature and non-feature works.
In the time period of the state monopoly (1945 – 1993) all duplicates and other film materials of Czech films were successfully transferred into the collections of archives on the basis of the existing directives and regulations governing Czechoslovak State Film. As a result, we managed to gather nearly 100% of Czech production from this time. The same applies to photographs from Czech feature films, film posters and promotional materials.
Changes in society after 1989 meant, among other things, an unprecedented increase in the number of acquisitions, since as a result of the changes or closing down of certain institutions and enterprises of Czechoslovak State Film, the NFA took over their collections of film materials. To name just a few: Filmexport, Short Film (Krátký Film a. s.), Czechoslovak Army Film, the Gottwaldov Film Studio, FAMU Archive, Czech embassies.
With the demise of Czechoslovak State Film (CSF) in the early 1990s, it seemed inevitable that it would also lead to the liquidation of the company archives, which contained not only materials documenting the activities of individual film enterprises (the Czechoslovak Film Company, Czechoslovak State Film, Czechoslovak Filmexport, Film Industry, etc.) but also historical documents from the activities of film production and distribution companies in before the nationalization of cinema in 1945. After the demise of the CSF’s archive the National Film Archive took custody of these documents and rescued unique sources of information before the probable destruction.