The Conservation: International film archives are streaming up a storm during lockdown. Australia’s movie trove isn’t even online

The Conservation: International film archives are streaming up a storm during lockdown. Australia’s movie trove isn’t even online. “Film archives began to be established in 1933 as archivists realised films needed to be safeguarded for their own sake, rather than for military or religious purposes. Nitrate film used from the early 1890s through the mid-1950s, and magnetic tape used from the mid-1940s to the early 2000s, cannot survive the test of time. So, in addition to managing storage environments, archives preserve films digitally. Commercial streaming services offer access to films, but they do not ensure this content is stored, saved and contextualised. They are not custodians of history or culture. Archives ensure recordings of the past remain meaningfully embedded in our contemporary life. In a time when the audiovisual is our primary mode of communication, the archive as an institution protecting and championing our shared history is more important than ever.”