Using archive footage is a less explored avenue within the film industry, particularly among young filmmakers, though it has the power to bridge the gap between the past and the present, and connect us with our nation, region or community. It shines a light on our history, which isn’t often too distant from contemporary society, and can create a window into determining our future. In addition, and if nothing else, it broadens the landscape of visual storytelling.
At an education event at the BFI Southbank, London Screen Heritage Manager Rebekah Polding spoke about the significance of archive film and the opportunities it affords filmmakers: “Archive footage provides a mediation that is absolutely necessary.” It “lets you talk about things in the now, maybe things that you couldn’t talk about at the time” and it is the “most powerful way of making films about the contemporary audience.”
As a result of this, the BFI and First Light have teamed up to encourage young people to use film archive in their filmmaking. The idea of the partnership is to make people see that creating the “Hollywood” movie isn’t the only option, that films with a greater public value that give people a sense of community can be equally as powerful, and to provide filmmakers with the funds to realise such films.
Talk About Work from BFI on Vimeo.
Director (uncredited): Ken Loach
For further information, including how to get funding, and to view archive film online, check out the following links: