Dedicated to the preservation, restoration, documentation, exhibition and study of motion pictures, the Academy Film Archive is home to one of the most diverse and extensive motion picture collections in the world, including the personal collections of such filmmakers as Tacita Dean, Cecil B. DeMille, Barbara Hammer, Alfred Hitchcock, Jim Jarmusch, Penelope Spheeris, George Stevens, Gus Van Sant, and Fred Zinnemann.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences was founded in 1927 and began acquiring film material in 1929. The Academy Film Archive, established in 1991, holds over 230,000 items, including all of the Academy Award-winning films in the Best Picture category, all the Oscar-winning documentaries and many Oscar-nominated films in all categories.
The Archive’s facility at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study includes a fully equipped access center where staff and visitors alike may schedule appointments for on-site viewing. Research conducted at the Archive has ranged from scholarly studies of early sound films to fact-checking for Oscar preview issues of major entertainment magazines. Academy members, scholars, and the general public who have a legitimate research interest in materials held by the Academy may arrange viewing appointments through the Archive’s access center.
Please read the following access policies and procedures carefully before inquiring about a viewing appointment:
- Research appointments will not be made to show materials that are available through other means.
- Every reasonable effort should be made by researchers to ascertain whether materials are available for viewing, rental, purchase, or loan through other outlets before requesting a viewing appointment at the Archive. The many college, university and public library collections in the Los Angeles area, as well as independent video stores, are good sources for foreign films, documentaries, short subjects, and other hard-to-find titles.
- Moving image materials in the Archive’s collection are available for on-site viewing only at the Pickford Center facility. The Archive does not distribute reference copies of materials in the collection.
- The Archive provides on-site access to past Academy Awards® show broadcasts and related footage. Questions about obtaining or licensing footage from previous Academy Awards show broadcasts should be directed to the Academy’s Legal Department at (310) 247-3000.
- Researchers are welcome to use laptops or handheld computers as well as pen or pencil and paper for taking notes. However, cellular reception is poor in the access center, and making or taking cell phone calls while other patrons are present is prohibited.
- No personal recording equipment may be used at any time in the access center.
- Food and drink, including water bottles, represent a potential hazard to materials and equipment and are not permitted in the access center.
- Viewing appointments must be made a minimum of 36 hours in advance. Significantly longer lead times may apply for some requests. No walk-in visitors will be accommodated. All collection materials require a minimum of 24 hours for climatization before they may be made available for viewing in room-temperature viewing environments; in addition, most film materials require a general physical inspection and other preparations before they may be viewed.
- Viewing appointments are booked on a first-come, first-served basis, and should be made as far in advance as possible. Researchers with limited schedules or those coming from out of town to view materials at the Archive are strongly advised to consult the access center and reserve viewing time before finalizing travel arrangements.
- Access to materials held by the Archive is not guaranteed. Researchers may need to obtain advance written permission from donors or depositors for access to restricted collections. The Archive may also restrict access to materials at its discretion on the basis of physical condition, preservation status, or other considerations.
- In some cases, the Archive is the sole repository for a unique film print or other copy. Under these circumstances, the Archive may restrict access to that material until a viewing copy can be made.
- The Archive welcomes inquiries about the collection, but at this time most records are searchable by film title only. Researchers should accurately note the title(s) of interest and release year, plus additional information if known, to ensure the fastest possible reply. An online catalog of the Archive's holdings, along with those of the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library, can be found here.
To request information or schedule a viewing appointment via e-mail:
Prospective borrowers should first ensure that they meet the required criteria, then submit a completed Venue Report and/or Loan Request form (available below in PDF format):
Academy Film Archive
1313 Vine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Attn: Print loan requests
Fax: (310) 247-3032
The Academy Film Archive is a member of the International Federation of Film Archives and abides by their internal rules regarding loan of materials to FIAF member archives. Institutions that can demonstrate that they meet the Academy Film Archive’s basic requirements for print loans may be permitted to borrow prints from the collection for exhibition. Borrowers assume full responsibility for replacement or repair of damaged, lost, or stolen prints. Replacement of damaged or lost materials may potentially cost thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars.
Criteria for Archival Print Loans
- A completed Loan Request form should be filed no less than 4 weeks in advance of the screening date (6 weeks for international loans). All new borrowing institutions must account for an additional 7-10 days to account for processing.
- First-time borrowers must submit a Venue Report for their organization prior to requesting film prints. FIAF archives with ‘member’ status are not required to complete a Venue Report, but should be sure to indicate their membership status in their initial request. FIAF associate members must have a current venue report on file to be considered for loan requests.
- If the requesting organization has borrowed materials from the Academy in the past, please list the loan date(s), title(s) of films most recently borrowed, and the name of any Academy staff member(s) with whom previous print loan arrangements were made.
- Previous borrowers may be asked to fill out and return a Venue Report if we do not have a current (within 5 years) copy on file.
- Borrowers must represent or act on behalf of a film archive, festival, museum, or other cultural institution. Loans will not be made to commercial venues or through third parties.
- All Archive prints must be screened on multi-projector (changeover) systems. Archive prints may not be shown on platter projection systems or built-up in any way.
- Archive prints may not be cut or altered in any way, including - but not limited to - the cutting of frames, scribing of cue marks, or addition of cueing tape.
- All films must be handled and screened by qualified professionals. Proof of projectionists’ qualifications may be requested before loans to new venues will be approved.
- Written proof of copyright clearance for all films to be screened must be obtained by the borrower and furnished with the formal loan request. The Academy will not undertake rights research or copyright clearance on borrower's behalf, nor will we loan prints without proof of rights clearance.
- Borrowers are entirely responsible for shipping and return costs, as well as insurance. Please be aware that you may be required to submit proof of insurance with your loan request.
- Borrowers assume full responsibility for replacement or repair of damaged, lost, or stolen prints and must notify us immediately if any damage has occurred before and after screening.
The Academy will not consider requests from venues that do not comply with the above criteria. Compliance with the above restrictions does not guarantee approval of requests for print loans. The Academy reserves the right to refuse loan requests due to donor/depositor restrictions, insufficient notice, lack of copyright clearance, damage to films previously loaned, or preservation and other concerns. The Academy will also not lend prints that are available through commercial distributors or other sources, and prospective borrowers should be prepared to indicate which other sources have been consulted before they request prints from the Archive’s collection. The Academy Film Archive will limit the number of print loans of feature-length films to twenty titles a month.
70mm prints are currently unavailable for loan.
The Archive does not lend its best existing print of Academy Award nominated and winning titles.
In some circumstances, the Archive may be able to make collection materials available for licensing or reuse in new projects. Procedures for requesting and licensing materials are outlined below. Please note the Archive reserves the right to refuse to duplicate any collection material because of preservation concerns, copyright restrictions, or other considerations. Send licensing inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note, if you wish to use a clip and/or still from any Academy Award Presentation, The Governors Awards, The Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards, The Student Academy Awards or any other Academy event or Academy owned property you must complete an A.M.P.A.S. Clip/Still Licensing Submission Form. If it is for news and editorial use ONLY, complete an A.M.P.A.S. Clip/Still Licensing Submission Form for News/Editorials Use Form.
You must first make an informal inquiry to the Archive to find out if the material is available. If you are or will be in Los Angeles, you may make an appointment for on-site viewing.
If the material is available, you must then make a duplication request in writing with the following information:
- Title of the item
- Nature of your project
- Reason for your interest in the item
If the Archive does not own the rights to the material, and you have already obtained permission from the rightsholder, include that written clearance from the rightsholder for the Archive to share the footage.
If the Archive accepts the request, you will be sent an invoice for the standard access fee of $125 per item. If the Archive does not own a video master of the material, you may pay for a transfer to be done at an approved lab. The standard access fee of $125 per item is nonrefundable and does not apply to materials transferred at your expense.
Masters will remain the property of the Archive. The Archive will release materials directly to and from the designated lab, but all lab charges will be billed directly to you. The Archive will not reimburse those lab charges in the event that you elect not to use the footage.
When access fee is paid (or the transfer is complete), the Archive will provide you with an access copy with visible timecode. All access copies remain the property of the Academy Film Archive and must be returned after use.
If you wish to license material, you must make a license request in writing with the following information:
- Title of the item, collection ID number and reel/tape number
- Timecode in and out points, with a description of each shot
- Clearance from the rightsholder allowing the Archive to share broadcast-quality clips with you, or if Academy owns the rights, the form of license you are requesting
- Distribution plans
- Desired format
- Deadline for the material
- The Archive will then review your request, and if approved, the broadcast-quality clip(s) will be provided to you in the format of your choice. Licensing rates will be discussed when you submit your request.
- If the licensed footage is used in a project, you must provide the Archive with a DVD copy of the project upon its completion.
The Archive will provide the best image quality possible for each piece of film or video segment. However, image quality may vary depending upon the condition of the source material.
The Archive will process requests for licensing and duplication approximately 3 to 5 weeks from the date of receipt. Rush services are not available.
ARCHIVE MISSION STATEMENT
The Academy Film Archive collects, preserves and provides access to moving images that represent significant contributions to the art and science of motion pictures.
The Academy Film Archive collects moving images on film, video and digital formats based on the acquisition policy detailed below. (The Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, Science and Technology Council and Museum Project collect paper materials, still photographs and artifacts.)
The Academy Film Archive acquires the types of materials listed below. Selection criteria include condition, completeness, version, format and number of copies already held by the Archive. In certain cases, items that fall outside of these categories will be considered based on content, historical significance and other factors.
MOTION PICTURE MATERIALS COLLECTED BY THE ACADEMY FILM ARCHIVE
- Academy Awards presentations
- Governors Awards presentations
- Scientific and Technical Awards presentations
- Student Academy Awards presentations
- Awards-related footage (red carpet interviews, news coverage, etc.)
- AMPAS activities (screenings, exhibitions and other public programs)
- Significant avant-garde and experimental films
- Avant-garde collections from filmmakers, with an emphasis on West Coast artists
- Academy Award-winning and -nominated documentary films, including print and pre-print film elements, video masters and digital masters
- Any documentary films made by Academy members or by Academy Award-winning or -nominated filmmakers
- Documentary films of artistic, cultural or historical significance, which may include works made for television
EARLY CINEMA (1890s – 1930s)
- Safety prints and elements of any film produced during this period
- Nitrate prints and elements of any film produced during the nitrate era
- Behind-the-scenes footage documenting motion picture production
- Costume, hair and makeup tests
- Interviews with filmmakers, artists and technicians
- Location scouting and research footage
- “Making of” featurettes
- Screen tests
HOME MOVIES/AMATEUR DOCUMENTATION
- Home movies that document life in California, with an emphasis on the Greater Los Angeles area
- Home movies made by film industry figures
- Home movie footage of film industry figures or behind-the-scenes footage of motion picture productions
- Home movies made by or featuring historically marginalized groups
- Home movie footage of artistic, cultural or historical significance
- Submissions for Scientific and Technical Awards
- Tests and film experiments documenting scientific and technical achievements in motion picture photochemical and digital imaging and audio technology
- Special effects demonstration reels and elements
- Academy Award-winning and -nominated live action and animated shorts, including print and preprint film elements, video masters and digital masters
- Any short subjects made by Academy members or by Academy Award-winning or nominated filmmakers
- Short films of artistic, cultural or historical significance
- Student Academy Award-winning and -nominated shorts and features
- Any student film made by Academy members or by Academy Award-winning or - nominated filmmakers
- Student films of artistic, cultural or historical significance
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES
- Academy Award-winning and -nominated theatrical motion pictures, including print and pre-print film elements, video masters and digital masters
- Theatrical motion pictures of artistic, cultural or historical significance
- “Orphan” films (such as independently-produced films and films for which copyright has lapsed or ownership is unknown)
- Motion picture trailers, including print and pre-print film elements, video masters and digital masters
- Public service announcements
- Product advertising
THE ACADEMY DOES NOT GENERALLY COLLECT THE FOLLOWING MATERIALS
- Industrial and educational films
- Production materials (trims, dailies, pre-mix sound elements, work prints, etc.)
- Productions made for television
- Productions made for Internet distribution
- Home market versions or “highlight” reels of theatrical motion pictures on 8mm, Super-8 and 16mm
- Commercially-produced material recorded on obsolete consumer video formats (Betamax, VHS, laserdisc, HD DVD, etc.)
- Material recorded on obsolete professional video formats (2”, 1”, ¾” U-matic, ½” reel-to-reel, etc.) that does not meet our acquisition criteria. Note: Acquisition of material recorded on obsolete formats will be considered on a case-by-case basis; the cost of migrating content to contemporary formats must be taken into account when acquiring such materials.
To learn more about placing your moving image elements with the Academy Film Archive, please contact Fritz Herzog, Collections Curator, at email@example.com or 310.247.3016 ext. 3329.