The central tasks of the Film Archive are the collection, preservation and restoration of films. The archive’s 20,000 or so film works include feature films, short films and documentaries, as well as amateur and experimental films. The collection includes films from early cinema, the German avant-garde film of the 1920s and 1930s, classics from the cinema of the Weimar Republic, New German Cinema and European auteur cinema.
DFF’s collection of historical German films before 1945 is of international importance. The same is true for the animation film collection with works by Lotte Reiniger, Oskar Fischinger and the Diehl brothers. A special focus of DFF’s archive is on advertising and industrial films. The collection of the Munich production company Insel Film, for example, comprises more than 5,000 advertising films from the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.
DFF’s film holdings include not only film works in the classic 35mm and 16mm cinema format, but also amateur film formats such as 8mm, 9.5mm or 17.5mm. In addition there are films in the rare 28mm format, in the wide screen format 70mm as well as various video and digital formats.
The holdings continue to expand by means of purchases, deposits and donations as well as through cooperations with filmmakers, production and distribution companies, collectors and private individuals.
DFF regularly restores film in a complex analogue and digital process. Restoration projects include HAMLET (D 1920/21) with Asta Nielsen and DIE HOCHBAHNKATASTROPHE (D 1921) by Valy Arnheim.
As films should not only be preserved, but also shown, a significant part of DFF’s holdings is available for international film distribution. Cinemas, festivals and similar institutions can choose from currently around 6,500 titles from the silent film era to current productions. They include German classics like NOSFERATU (D 1922) or METROPOLIS (D 1927), but also domestic and foreign titles such as HIGH NOON (USA 1952), SISSI (AT 1955) or WIR WUNDERKINDER (D 1958). The distribution programme is constantly being expanded.
The film archive is located in Wiesbaden-Biebrich and is open to scientific researchers as well as private users by appointment.