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Loss of former BFI Production Librarian and loyal FOCAL Member

2 April 2009

We are sorry to have heard, via Jan Faull at the BFI, of the recent death of Christine Kirby, former Production Librarian in the Archive.

Christine Kirby began her career at the BFI in 1969 as personal assistant to the Deputy Curator, Kevin Gough-Yates. She then became p.a. to Curator David Francis. By the early 1980s she had moved over to become Production Librarian and was a founder member of FOCAL International. Christine was passionate about the archive and getting archive material to a wider audience. She had a lively personality and a strong sense of humour. She played a key role in sourcing clips for literally thousands of television and film documentaries. With a great eye for detail and an extraordinary knowledge of many subjects, she took a particular pleasure in compiling the clip reels for many of the presentations of the BFI Fellowships and the BFI Awards. She left the BFI in 1996 after 27 years service and went on to work at the IVCA and then as a freelance film researcher. A private family funeral took place earlier this week. A fuller appreciation will appear in the forthcoming issue of the Archive Zones magazine.

A Personal Note:
The news of Christine’s sudden death has shocked many people who had met her during the many years she worked in the footage industry. I remember meeting Christine for the first time, when I started with FOCAL over 19 years ago. She helped me learn the ropes and was very active on the FOCAL International Executive. She was always supportive at the many conferences and events we held. In particular she regularly participated on the FOCAL International booth in Cannes, at the MIP and MIPCOM festivals, helping with the set up and promotion of the organisation.

Christine had remained a loyal member of FOCAL International since leaving the BFI and although we had not seen her in recent years we understand that she was leading an active life teaching ballroom and latin dancing and doing wedding make-up!

I will have many fond memories of Christine, and am sorry that we have lost someone who lived and loved anything to do with archives.

Anne Johnson, Commercial Manager, FOCAL International

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