Film archive catalogues, previously Japan Foundation 16mm prints

Roger Macy macyroger at
Fri Sep 5 05:22:11 EDT 2008

Thank you for the continuing thread 'Japanese governmental agencies/film culture promotional policies', but can I confine myself to clarifying the position on film archive catalogues?

On Sep 4, 2008, at 1:56 AM, Mark Nornes wrote:
> They won't show you a list—neither will any archive out there—but  
> they're happy to tell you know if they've got prints of the films  
> you are interested in.

Mark Roberts said:-
The situation in Japan strikes me as the exception, not the norm.  
Every archive and film library that I've visited in America and Europe  
has a catalog, most are on-line, and they didn't vet each inquiry that  
I made. Have I just been lucky?

Eija Niskanen said :-
Places like national film archives (say the Finnish National
Audio-visual Archive) operate on public tax payers' money, so they
have to have a certain openness, including their catalogues.

My experience has been that very few film catalogues are available online - but I would be delighted to receive corrections or more counter-examples.  For example the Cinémathèque française, when you look up 'collections', you see a picture of their redoubt, but no catalogue.  The same in the less picturesque UK.  But a good example to consider, because they hold both objets d'art and films is MoMA, (NY).  Just as for all the major art galleries I know (except the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo), they have a full on-line catalog of their art collection, completely illustrated, but show no catalog of their films.
If this were mainly to do with rights, you might expect the reverse to be the case - most of the art collection of MoMA and other modern art museums have unexpired rights and their commercial divisions are frequently in the business of maximising their revenue from those rights.  Whereas no one is yet advocating illustrated, let alone playable, film catalogues of these archives.
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