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Film Footage Included in New Collections Inscribed on the Memory of the World Register

21 June 2005

Good news for media archives from UNESCO!

Twenty-nine documentary collections in 24 countries have been inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. These additions bring to 120 the total number of inscriptions on the Register to date. They include, for the first time, collections from Albania, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Cuba, Italy, Lebanon, Namibia, Portugal, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Amongst those which include film are:

France and the United Kingdom - The Appeal of 18 June 1940 - General de Gaulle’s speech, broadcast from London to France by the British Broadcasting Corporation, and the poster containing his appeal, are regarded as a turning point in World War II and in French national history. The appeal was a declaration of hope and defiance that marked the French resistance to Nazi occupation. It is remembered and celebrated to this day. It exemplified the power of radio used as a weapon of war rather than entertainment to launch a movement, and influenced the development of resistance movements in other countries. The material placed on the Register consists of the handwritten text of the appeal, the radio recording, the manuscript of the poster featuring the appeal, and the poster itself. The nomination is submitted jointly by the Institut national de l’audiovisuel in Paris and the British Broadcasting Corporation in London.
United Kingdom - The Battle of the Somme film of 1916 is the first feature-length documentary to record war in action. The film influenced the course of history as it awakened public consciousness during World War I and marked the development of documentary and propaganda war films. It remains an icon of the period and has also retained its importance as a cornerstone of the film collection of the British Imperial War Museum where the film’s oldest existing master copy is still kept.

France - Lumière Films The archive of 1,405 film titles produced by the cinema pioneers, mostly between 1896 and 1900. It contains a wealth of documentary material, in France and all over the world, and features rare footage of world leaders such as Queen Victoria and King Umberto of Italy. It also documents military footage exercises and parades, scenes of daily life, ceremonies and official visits. Titles moreover include historic drama titles and comedy, as wells as circus and music hall acts, and family scenes (mainly of the brothers’ family). The collection is kept by the French Film Archives.

Kazakhstan - Nevada-Semipalatinsk, the International Anti-Nuclear Movement The Nevada-Semipalatinsk archive records the activities of the first antinuclear non-governmental organization created in 1989 on the territory of the former USSR. The NGO was created to protect humanity from the nuclear threat, destroy all nuclear test facilities in Kazakhstan, establish public control of industrial wastes, and draw an ecological map of the region. The documentary collection, including audiovisual archives, records the action of the “Nevada-Semipalatinsk” movement which ended nuclear arms tests at the Semipalatinsk Polygon. These tests had caused great harm to the environment and health of the people of Kazakhstan. The collection is kept in two archives in Kazakhstan: the Central State Archive and the State Archive of Film, Stills and Sound Recordings, both in Almaty.

Norway - Roald Amundsen's South Pole Expedition (1910-1912) film A unique film collection, which documents events of the first expedition to reach the South Pole. Though the material is incomplete, it is made up of original sequences, filmed between 1910 and 1912, consisting of negative film and first and second-generation print material, kept by the Norwegian Film Institute and the National Library.

For full list: