BFI National Archive
The BFI National Archive is the national collection of film and television, allowing access through their public programme, in venue and online resources.
The BFI’s vast collections include moving image and associated material relating to Jewish life in Britain since the early 1900s, work by Jewish writers, directors and actors, and dramatic representations of Jewish people on screen.
These include collection such as ‘Oy Britannia’, a curated collection of 70 titles about Jews in Britain is available from the BFI National Archive for free public viewing in the Mediatheque at BFI Southbank. It brings together documentary records of Jewish life in the UK and artists’ work confronting the 20th century Jewish experience, while recognising the vibrant contribution of Jewish writers, directors and actors to film and TV culture in this country. The earliest surviving depictions of Jewish characters in British cinema offer a disturbing insight into anti-Semitic representation, yet prejudice was later tackled head-on in features like Loyalties (1933) and newsreels documenting the anti-fascist movement of the 1930s.
The archive itself is not open to the general public but access to archive material is possible in venue and online. The archives can be accessed in person at the BFI Reuben Library & BFI Mediatheque(both located at BFI Southbank). A Research Viewings service is also available for access to titles not available commercially, online or via BFI Reuben Library & BFI Mediatheque – more about this can be found here.
The BFI National Archive holds more than a million films and television programmes, tens of thousands of which have been digitised from their original film and videotape formats with more in progress. It also holds digitised stills, posters, designs and other documents preserved in BFI Special Collections. The collection can be searched online here.
The Archive also holds a free curated collection of films from the BFI National Archive and partner archives around the UK entitled ‘Jewish Britain on Film’. The collection spans more than a century and includes newsreel items, home movies, early fiction shorts, feature films, TV drama and documentaries with 80 titles free to view and further titles available to rent. This collection is accessible from the UK only. A Jewish Britain playlist is available to international viewers via the BFI YouTube channel.
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