SLOVENE FILM ARCHIVES
Goals and challenges in the near future
The main activity of the Slovene Film Archives (hereinafter referred to as the SFA) is to keep a record of the Slovene film archival material and to ensure its preservation and professional processing. There are several challenges that the SFA faces in the near future. We will strive to acquire originals of the recent films which are still being kept by their producers, also to copy the films that can only be obtained in their original and for which there are no film copies, to restore damaged film records, to digitize Slovene film archival records and enable their preservation in electronic form, and to take an active part in European projects in the field of film archival records.
Foundation and history
With over 40 years of experience, the SFA at the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia (hereinafter referred to as the Archives of RS) is one of the longest standing film archives in the Central European region, and is the second oldest film archive in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, right after the Yugoslav Cinematheque.
Founded in 1968 as part of the then Archives of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, the SFA was charged with the task of collecting, keeping and preserving Slovene film archival material on the basis of the then Act on Archival Materials and Archives (Official Gazette of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia 24/66) which defined films as being archival material. Even today the SFA continues to perform this function for the entire Slovene cultural space.
Throughout its existence, the SFA managed to collect most of the films of Slovene production, mostly by producers such as Triglav film, Viba film and Studio Unikal. Included in the film collection are also films that were created from 1905 onwards by private filmmakers, such as Karol Grossman, the pioneer of Slovene cinematography, Božidar Jakac, Metod Badjura and Veličan Bešter. The SFA also takes credit for preserving the Slovene film heritage by acquiring the originals of the films shot on nitrate tape and produced by Triglav film and Viba film, which the SFA managed to bring from the Yugoslav Cinematheque in Belgrade back to Slovenia in 1991, just days before the start of the war for the independent Slovenia. After 1990, films were also entrusted to us for safekeeping and protection by a number of other institutions, such as the Academy for Theatre, Radio and Television, several museums, archival and educational institutions, companies and firms, ministries and private creators and collectors. They all did so because they had faith in the SFA, in its professional efforts, storage conditions, and its consideration of international standards. We wish to emphasise the fact that, thanks to the efforts of the SFA, Slovenes are one of the few nations that have managed to collect, keep, preserve, describe and catalogue the entire collection of the film archival materials.
According to the Protection of Documents and Archives and Archival Institutions Act (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 30/2006), any producer, who has produced a film using public funds, is under the obligation to transfer film archival materials to the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia immediately after the film has been produced. Film archival materials are an edited original pictorial and tone negative of a film made on a film tape, as well as any film made on digital and analogue media produced by Slovene producers and/or having been produced in co-production between Slovene and foreign producers in the Republic of Slovenia. The SFA also collects films of a more recent date, which belong in our film archival collection and were not financed by the state or the Slovene Film Fund.
The SFA is a member of the FIAF - The International Federation of Film Archives. It became its member at the 1993 FIAF congress in Stockholm and at the 1999 congress in Madrid the SFA was granted full membership. Full membership in FIAF is a sign of our work receiving international recognition, mostly in the field of preservation of the Slovene film archival material.
Based on that trust, the SFA and the Slovene Cinematheque were entrusted by the FIAF to organize the 61st congress of FIAF in Ljubljana. The congress in Ljubljana was the main international film event, celebrating the occasion of the 100th years of the Slovene film, which took place in 2005. The first Slovene films by dr. Karol Grossman were restored and digitized for this particular occasion.
Recording, acquiring and professional processing of the film archival materials
In addition to preservation and safekeeping, the second most important activity of the SFA is to record, process and describe film archival records. Films are included in the central computer register, stating the title of the film, short contents, creators and technical data (length and duration in metres and minutes, tape format, sound, colour, number of copies, state of the preservation of copies, date of transfer, name of the person transferring the films, link to acquisition book, date of production and date of the first screening). By the end of 2009, this register included 7705 film titles with 31,480 reels. Film archivists also need to provide a detailed description of the films based on the international standards. So far, seven book inventories have been compiled and published with over 2120 pages. Included in the inventories are 3417 films, inventories are equipped with indexes of places, names, legal persons, creators, and over 50,000 descriptors. Indexes and short contents of the films are also available on the internet page of the Archives of RS. The SFA also keeps a record of the films that were made on Slovenia and the Slovenians by foreign film companies and filmmakers from Austria, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, France, Germany, Russia and the USA. One of the advantages of FIAF membership has been better cooperation, not only in exchanging information on films, but also in acquiring films that are important for the history of Slovenia. The SFA also keeps written records of production companies, such as Triglav film, Viba film, Vesna film, Film servis, the Slovenian Film Fund and Slovenian Radio and Television. Such records are fully described in inventories and are available for use (880 boxes). Also described and available for use are extensive collections of photographs and diafilms (negatives and positives), such as the general collection, collection of film photographs, collection of the TV series “Ko se korenin zavemo”, collection of the editorial board of the magazine “Naša žena”, collection of the Archives of the RS and the Archival Association of Slovenia, greeting cards and slides by Božidar Jakac (60,000 items, 4 inventaries). The SFA also keeps a collection of VHS and Beta videotapes (1142 items) and the collection of sound recordings (10 boxes).
The SFA managed to preserve the entire collection of films untouched, despite the fact that conditions in repositories in the Gruber palace and in Gotenica are less than perfect. A special repository in Borovec in Kočevska region was obtained for the storage of nitrate films which present danger of explosion due to substances in their nitrate tapes. New repositories for the storage of film archival materials are currently also being built in Roška street.
Use of film materials
The SFA’s mission is not only to keep and preserve film materials but also to be wide open to users, such as Slovene and foreign film researchers and historians, students, film and television directors and producers, artists of various interests, and clients from museums and educational institutions. As the SFA hasn’t got its own screening hall yet, it holds regular presentations (screenings) of its films in the cinema halls of the Slovene Cinematheque in Ljubljana as well as elsewhere in Slovenia and abroad on agreement. For over a decade, each December the SFA has held a yearly show titled “Ob letu osorej” where less known work of filmmakers (directors of photography, directors, innovators of film techniques), films of various genres and co productions are screened. It is an opportunity for filmmakers of different generations to meet and discuss film.
Recently, there has been an increase in the use of film materials for the purpose of being used for domestic and foreign TV shows, as inserts in film production, and for museum exhibitions. When choosing such material, the help of the SFA’s professional staff is indispensable due to their knowledge of the material in question. The SFA held three major solo exhibitions of film photography on Metod and Milka Badjura, Božidar Jakac and “Filmski obzornik”. For each of these exhibitions, elaborate catalogues were prepared. We also chose film materials that were included in other exhibitions held by the Archives of RS.
Professional and technical staff constantly attend educational courses in Slovenia and abroad (film archives, laboratories, FIAF Summer School) and they keep track of new methods of preserving and protecting film material by using digital technique. The SFA’s professional collaborators are also researchers of the Slovene film, first when they are describing film materials, and later when they are finding new facts and researching film sections (film schools, development of production, genres, such as ethnographic, documentary, tourist, student films, advertisements …). One of the directions is also a research of local history by analysing film recordings dedicated to a particular environment, while taking into account multidisciplinary approach. Findings of such researches are published in expert prints from various work areas, mostly in books on history and ethnology.
Who are we?
Due to the nature of our work, work areas tend to overlap quite often and teamwork is of great importance. The SFA employs seven workers and their basic work areas are:
Aleksander Blaznik (tel. +386 1 2414227), aleksander.blaznik(at)gov.si, technical inspection of films and the entering of the newly acquired films in our central computer register.
Roman Marinko (tel. +386 1 2414228), roman.marinko(at)gov.si, technical inspection of films before and after their use, and copying of films from analogue to digital media.
Marta Rau Selič (tel. +386 1 2414226), marta.rau-selic(at)gov.si, use of film archival materials.
Adrijan Kopitar (tel. +386 1 2414213), adrijan.kopitar(at)gov.si, collection of photographs
Vladimir Sunčič (tel. +386 1 2414293), vladimir.suncic(at)gov.si, processing of films and international cooperation
Tatjana Rezec Stibilj, MA (tel. +386 1 2414213), tatjana.rezec-stibilj(at)gov.si, processing of films, acquisition and processing of written records transferred to the SFA by entities under public law and private owners active in the field of film
Alojz Teršan, MA (tel. +386 1 2414229), alojzij.tersan(at)gov.si, head of the SFA, acquisition and processing of films
Ivan Nemanič, Filmsko gradivo Slovenskega filmskega arhiva pri Arhivu Republike Slovenije, Ljubljana 1998
Ivan Nemanič, Filmsko gradivo Slovenskega filmskega arhiva pri Arhivu Republike Slovenije, Ljubljana 2002
Tatjana Rezec Stibilj, Lojz Tršan, Filmsko gradivo Slovenskega filmskega arhiva pri Arhivu Republike Slovenije, Ljubljana 2000
Tatjana Rezec Stibilj, Vladimir Sunčič Lojz Tršan, Filmsko gradivo Slovenskega filmskega arhiva pri Arhivu Republike Slovenije, Ljubljana 2002
Lojz Tršan, Filmsko gradivo Slovenskega filmskega arhiva pri Arhivu Republike Slovenije, Ljubljana 2009
Ivan Nemanič, Filmi Metoda in Milke Badjura 1926 –96, Ljubljana 1994
Ivan Nemanič, Filmski zapiski Božidarja Jakca 1929 – 55, Ljubljana 2005
Lojz Tršan: Slovenski film in njegovo varovanje, Ljubljana 1998
Tatjana Rezec Stibilj , Slovenski dokumentarni film 1945 – 1958, Ljubljana 2005
Ivan Nemanič, Alja Ljubič : Filmski obzornik zrcalo časa 1946 – 1951, Ljubljana 1991
Ivan Nemanič, Filmska ustvarjalnost Metoda in Milke Badjura 1926 –69, Ljubljana 1995
Slovenski turistični film, Ljubljana 2008