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- Ninth Annual Awards celebrate the best in the world of footage -

FOCAL International, the international Federation of Commercial Audio-visual Libraries, today announced that the FOCAL International Lifetime Achievement Award 2012 will be presented to Rick Prelinger at the award ceremony on 2 May 2012 at the Lancaster London Hotel in London.

An archivist, teacher, writer, lecturer, consultant and filmmaker, Rick Prelinger’s activities in the archive industry are varied and widespread. He has been an innovator and creative force in the industry since 1982 when he founded the Prelinger Archives. He had begun to collect what he calls “ephemeral films” when he was hired as director of research on a documentary called “Heavy Petting”. He tracked down titles from educational, industrial and advertising films and his lifelong enthusiasm began. His collection of 60,000 ephemeral films and 40,000 cans of unedited footage was passed on to the Library of Congress in 2002.

In 1989, Rick published ‘Footage 89: North American Film & Video Sources’, the first directory of moving image sources in North America, and supplemented it two years later with ‘Footage 91’ which was also published on the pioneering CD-ROM format. In 1994, Rick began a partnership with Getty Images to offer high-resolution versions of his films to media companies worldwide, offering a high degree of commercial visibility previously unavailable.

Since the Prelinger Archives was acquired by the US Library of Congress, Rick has continued to donate material to their archives and to collect with an emphasis on home movies and amateur films. He has furnished archival footage to thousands of productions in all media, including motion pictures, television programmes, interactive programming, educational and documentary productions, and corporate/institutional shows. Rick also lectures widely on American cultural and social history and on issues involving access to archives and culture.

“We are delighted to hear that Rick’s achievements are being marked by this award,” said Josh Rucci, Senior Director, Media and Broadcast, Getty Images. “Rick Prelinger and Getty Images' combined history dates back to 1994. Since then, Getty Images has represented industrial, educational and home movie video from the Prelinger Archives in all media, pushing many thousands of archival shots and clips back into the contemporary media stream.”

“Rick’s interest in archive film has never waned,” commented a previous Lifetime Achievement Award winner Christine Whittaker. “He recognised its importance right from the beginning, and for the past thirty years he has been promoting its use. The historical value of the material, its preservation, new developments in the media, business management – Rick’s expertise has made him a real pioneer in our industry.”

Lord Puttnam, Chair of Patrons FOCAL International, said, “Rick is truly a worthy winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has dedicated his life to the discovery and preservation of a vast amount of precious footage that documents myriad aspects of American history, and has enabled thousands of film-makers to explore that history further.”

The FOCAL International Awards in association with AP Archive, now in their ninth year, celebrate the best use of archive footage material in a variety of genres, and also recognise the researchers, technicians and producers that access, maintain and use this precious resource. The final nominations for the best use of footage and best restorations will be announced in March. Tickets for the gala awards ceremony on 2 May are now on sale at


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The Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries International is a professional not-for-profit trade association formed in 1985. It is fully established as one of the leading voices in the industry, with a membership of over 300 international companies and individuals.
Its purpose is to facilitate the use of library footage, images, stills and audio in all forms of media production; promote its members - libraries selling content plus those whose serve the industry; provide a platform for members to promote themselves and their interests; encourage good practise in the research, licensing, copyright clearance and use of footage; support, promote and educate on the need to preserve and restore footage and content; act as an information resource for the footage and content industry; offer training in key skills and in the broader appreciation of the footage and content industry.

Media contact:
Sadie Groom, Bubble & Squeak, T +44 (0)1442 877850 E