From the 1920s through the 1990s, analog amateur films were produced in various small-gauge formats. The rise of video technology spelled the end of these formats. In the digital era, the analog small-gauge films have gradually fallen into oblivion. In spite of the fact that this kind of ephemeral filmmaking dominated the cultural practice of producing private film documents for more than three quarters of a century, this part of our visual heritage was unjustly neglected in the past. Since there is a very real danger that these films may soon be lost for good, an active collecting and archival policy is urgently called for.
Since 2012, the FAA has initiated three strategic pilot projects for the collection of private film documents. By means of systematic, province-wide search calls – in Burgenland (2012), Lower Austria (2013–2016) and Salzburg (2017–2018) – the FAA succeeded in saving, archiving and digitizing more than 100,000 amateur films to date. Today, the FAA holds Europe’s largest collection of small-gauge films. The search calls are moreover internationally regarded as reference projects for the preservation of everyday film culture.
In the coming years, various research and publishing projects will gradually explore the FAA’s collection of amateur films, which add such a crucial dimension to Austria’s audio-visual heritage. Selections are regularly being made available on DVD in our ongoing series “Austria in Film Documents.” Starting in 2018, selected amateur films will also be made accessible via the FAA’s digital online archive.
Mag. Anna Dobringer
AMATEURAUFNAHME IM THERESIANUM, A 1904