The European Film Gateway 1914 (EFG1914) plans to digitise up to 650 hours of footage and make it freely accessible via europeana.eu, Europe’s digital library, museum and archive. It will also appear on the film portal www.europeanfilmgateway.eu.
The 2-year project was launched during a meeting of more than 40 representatives from 25 partner institutions at the German Film Museum in Frankfurt am Main.
The footage, which includes newsreels, documentary films and footage as well as fiction films from and about World War 1, is being digitised by archives across Europe, including the Imperial War Museum in London – which has one of the largest institutional World War 1 related collections – along with partners in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands.
Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana, said, “This is an enormously valuable project for historians, schools, researchers and film buffs, and will provide a remarkable resource in time for the 2014 centenary, when public interest will really peak.”
“It’s important too because although a considerable amount of film material covering the Great War was produced, but experts estimate about 80% of that footage has been lost forever. Surviving films remain in analogue format, but access to them can be difficult, cumbersome and costly. But through digitisation, the material can be accessible to all on the web.”
Project organisers are sharing hundreds of hours of film material and expertise from a number of individual European archives in order to highlight the benefits of film digitisation and digital preservation of historical films across the sector.