Federal Film Archives, Berlin
The Film Archives are a section of the Federal Archives, and since 3 October 1990 they have also included the State Film Archives of the German Democratic Republic. Thus this is one of the biggest film archives in the world, as well as being the main film archive in Germany. As a member of a cinematic association, it cooperates with other institutions archiving films in Germany; at an international level, FIAF (Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film) and ACE (Association des Cinématheques Européenes) constitute a forum for cooperation in the field of film archiving. The Archives are seated in Berlin. A few years ago, a dedicated film processing facility and a storehouse for nitrate material were built in Dahlwitz-Hoppegarten.
The task of the Film Archives is to preserve all the representative parts of German film heritage and to make them accessible to users. The preservation of the film materials, and above all the conservation of older German films, is currently its most urgent task.
Along with about 1,000,000 rolls of film, the Federal Film Archives also keeps an extensive collection of related materials such as photos, film posters and the most important collection of German censor cards. The Berlin premises also house a specialist library.
Transit-Film GmbH, Munich
Founded in 1966, the Transit Film GmbH is exclusively appointed to handle the worldwide commercial exploitation of film documents from the Federal Archives' film library.
The collection of films dating up to 1945 includes, among others, silent and sound newsreels from the news programs produced by Deulig, Messter, UFA, Terra, Tobis, and Emelka Ton, as well as Deutsche Wochenschau newsreels and historical documentary films.
Since 2014 January 1st, post-1945 newsreels and documentary films from West Germany owned by the Federal Republic of Germany can be accessed via the web portale www.filmothek.bundesarchiv.de / www.transit-digital.de, where they can be viewed, researched and ordered.
This includes the following cinema newsreels:
- Welt im Film (369 issues, 1945-52)
- Welt im Bild (213 issues, 1952-56)
- UFA-Wochenschau / UFA-Dabei (1092 issues, 1956-68/1968-77)
- Neue Deutsche Wochenschau / Die Zeit unter der Lupe (short: Zeitlupe) (1022 issues, 1950-69)
The periodicals that were produced for cinemas in foreign countries:
- Deutschlandspiegel (1954-99)
- El Mundo al Instante (1962-92)
- O Mundo em Noticias (1965-79).
The collection also holds approx. 400 cultural and special programs as well as leftover material from the (commissioned) Federal Press Office productions listed above.
Transit Film also exploits its own film library, consisting of German feature films from the 1930s, 1950s, and up to the 1970s. The library comprises a variety of genres, ranging from comedies and the "Heimatfilm", crime and spy films, films based on works of literature and biographical films to the period of New German Cinema. It includes classics such as Cat and Mouse ("Katz und Maus"), The Bread of Those Early Years ("Das Brot der frühen Jahre") or "Genosse Münchhausen". Worldwide licensing rights in all media for these titles are available via Transit Film.
DEFA Foundation, Berlin
The DEFA Foundation was set up in January 1999. After Reunification
in 1990, the state-owned DEFA Studios were privatised. The rights
in films produced between 1946 and 1990 were not included in the privatisation
process. The federal government and the Treuhandanstalt, the official
privatisation agency which dealt with transforming the GDR economy
into a free market economy, respected the DEFA film-makers’
request not to sell the film works they had created to private owners,
but to transfer them to a foundation instead.
The DEFA film library includes about 950 feature films and one-reelers,
about 5,800 documentaries and newsreels, about 820 cartoon films,
and about 4,000 German synchronised versions of foreign films.
Progress-Filmverleih GmbH, Berlin
PROGRESS Film-Verleih GmbH exploits worldwide the entire film library
of the Deutsche Film AG (DEFA) founded in 1946. At the time when the
Federal Agency for Specific Reunification Tasks privatised PROGRESS
Film-Verleih in 1997, the DEFA film heritage included universal exploitation
rights in over 10,000 film titles, with almost endless program hours
and millions of yards of film material showing documentaries and reports.
They include more than 2,000 DEFA newsreels for the “Eye-Witness”
program. Numerous new productions and extensive materials from 40
years of production by Tellux-Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, sole partner
in PROGRESS Film-Verleih since 2001, have been added to this stock
In addition, PROGRESS Film-Verleih GmbH holds the rights for German
synchronised versions of films from Eastern Europe, Cuba, Vietnam,
Japan, Korea, India and elsewhere.
Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH, Hamburg
The Neue Deutsche Wochenschau was founded in Hamburg in December 1949 (and converted into the Deutsche Wochenschau GmbH in December 1955) in the form of a federally owned GmbH (limited liability company). From 1950, and on behalf of the F
ederal government, the newsreels "Neue Deutsche Wochenschau", Welt im Bild", "UFA Wochenschau", "UFA-Dabei", "Zeitlupe", and others were produced (and, until 2013, commercially exploited) there.
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