Association of European Film Archives and Cinematheques

The Association of European Film Archives and Cinematheques (French: Association des Cinémathèques Européennes - ACE ) is an affiliation of 44 European national and regional film archives founded in 1991. Its role is to safeguard the European film heritage and make this rich audiovisual records collected and preserved by the various film archives accessible to the public. ACE is a regional branch of FIAF Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film / International Federation of Film Archives. ACE members are non-profit institutions committed to the FIAF Code of Ethics.


European film archives have been collecting, preserving, and restoring films and other materials relating to films since the 1930s. The collections range from pre-cinema apparatus to digital cinema files, all of which require specific methods, techniques and an extensive knowledge of film history for preservation.

In 1991, representatives of the most important European film archives came together to create LUMIERE, a pan-European film restoration project.[1] It was the first large-scale film restoration project funded by the MEDIA I Programme of the European community. The LUMIERE project lasted between 1991 and 1996, during which more than 1000 film titles were preserved and restored, 700 films were re-discovered and identified and a Joint European Filmography (JEF) was established.[2]

ACE started in 1991 as the Association des Cinémathèques de la Communauté Européenne (ACE). After the end of the LUMIERE project in 1996, ACE began its active role in raising awareness of the cultural and economic value of European film heritage among policy makers and the audiovisual industry. Operating on the European level, ACE represents the interest of its members to the European Union. It works to support and improve the economic and legal conditions, as well as technical and scientific research for digitization and long-term film preservation.[3]

ACE members

Arhiva Națională de Filme (Bucharest), British Film Institute (London), Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv (Berlin), Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale (Rome), Cinemateca Portuguesa (Lisbon), Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique/Koninklijk Belgisch Filmarchief (Brussels), Cinémathèque suisse (Lausanne), CNC - Archives Françaises du Film / National Center of Cinematography and the moving image (Bois d'Arcy), Crnogorska Kinoteka (Podgorica), CulturArts Generalitat - Unidad de Audiovisual y Cinematografía (Valencia), Det Danske Filminstitut (Copenhagen), Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Berlin), Deutsches Filminstitut (Frankfurt), Eye Film Institute Netherlands (Amsterdam), Filmarchiv Austria (Vienna), Filmmuseum München (Germany), Filmoteca de Catalunya (Barcelona), Filmoteca Española (Madrid), Filmoteca Vaticana /Vatican Film Library (Vatican City), Filmoteka Narodowa (Warsaw), Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna (Bologna), Fondazione Cineteca Italiana (Milan), Gosfilmofond (Moscow), Hrvatska kinoteka / Croatian Film Archive (Zagreb), Imperial War Museum (London), Irish Film Archive (Dublin), Jugoslovenska Kinoteka (Belgrade), Kansallinnen Audiovisuaalinen Instituutti / National Audiovisual Institute (Helsinki), Kinoteka na Makedonija (Skopje), La Cineteca del Friuli (Gemona), La Cinémathèque da la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg), La Cinémathèque de Toulouse (Toulouse), Lichtspiel - Kinemathek Bern (Bern), La Cinémathèque Française (Paris), MaNDA - Hungarian National Digital Archive (Budapest), Museo Nazionale del Cinema (Turin), Národní filmový archiv (Prague), Nasjonalbiblioteket (Oslo), Norsk filminstitutt / Norwegian Film Institute (Oslo), Österreichisches Filmmuseum (Vienna), Slovenski filmski arhiv (Ljubljana), Slovenska Kinoteka (Ljubljana), Swenska Filminstitutet / Swedish Film Institute (Stockholm), Tainiothiki tis Ellados - Greek Film Archive (Athens).

Protection of film heritage

The European Commission directly supports efforts to protect Europe's film heritage. The legal basis for action is Article 167 of the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), which encourages member states to support the conservation and safeguard of the cultural heritage, including film heritage. The Film Heritage Recommendation 2005[4] invites the member states to systematically collect, catalogue, preserve and restore Europe's film heritage.


ACE has initiated several film heritage projects funded by the European Union:

  • LUMIERE (1991–1996), supported by MEDIA I programme
  • Search For Lost Films (1997–1999), supported by RAPHAEL
  • ARCHIMEDIA (1997–2004). European training network for the promotion of cinema heritage, supported by MEDIA II


  • All the Colours of the World. Colours in early mass media 1900-1930 (1996–1997). Supported by KALEIDOSCOPE.
  • FAOL – Film Archives On Line (1997–2000). Creation of web-based learning tools in the field of film preservation/restoration.;[6] supported by LEONARDO
  • FIRST – Film Restoration and Conservation Strategies (2002–2004). Research project on the application of digital techniques to film heritage.“Film Archives on the Threshold of a Digital Era”: Technical Issues from the EU FIRST Project. FIAF Journal of Film Preservation n° 68, 12/2004. IST - 5th Framework Programme
  • MIDAS – Moving Image Database for Access and Re-use of European Film Collections (2006–2009). The web portal Filmarchives online gives access to catalogue information from film archives all over Europe
  • EN 15744 and EN 15907: Cinematographic works standards on the interoperability of film databases (2005–2010). The standardization work was mandated in 2005 by the European Commission and delegated to CEN (European Committee for Standardization).[7]
  • EDCINE – Enhanced Digital Cinema (2006–2009): Research and development of applications for storing, managing and distributing digitised archival films (IST 6th Framework Programme)
  • The European Film Gateway (2008–2011). The EFG Portal gives access to digitised films and film related material held in European film archives (eContentplus Programme)
  • EFG1914: World War I Film digitisation project (2012–2014), supported by the ICT-Policy Support Programme[8]
  • FORWARD: Framework for an EU wide Audiovisual Orphan Works Registry (2013-2016). The project develops a system for assessing the rights status of audiovisual works and a registry of orphan film compliant to the Directive 2012/28/EU. The project is co-funded by the ICT-Policy Support Programme
  • ABCinema is a joint project of Europeana film archives and film education organisations to share best practices and new approaches in film literacy.


  1. Bundesarchiv / Filmarchiv (Berlin, Koblenz), Münchner Stadtmuseum/Filmmuseum (Munich), Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek (Berlin), National Film and Television Archive (London), Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique (Brussels), Centre National du Cinéma (Bois d’Arcy), Cinémathèque Française (Paris), Cineteca del Comune di Bologna (Bologna), The Nederlands Filmmuseum (Amsterdam), Cinemateca Portugesa (Lissbon).
  2. Catherine A Surowiec [Ed.] / The Lumiere Project; The European Film Archives at the Crossroads, Lisbon, 1996
  3. Nicola Mazzanti, Peaceful Fish: Challenges of the Digital Era for Film Heritage Institutions. Final Report prepared for the European Commission, DG Information Society and Media, December 2011.
  4. Recommendation of European Parliament and Council Recommendation of 16 November 2005 on film heritage and the competitiveness of related industrial activities, OJ L 323 of 9.12.2005, p.57.
  5. Gregory Lukow "Education, Training and Careers in Moving Image Preservation". AMIA: The Association of Moving Image Archivists:
  6. Brain Pitchard, Film Archives On Line: Its history, its aims. See: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2013-08-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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