The East Anglian Film Archive, the first Regional Film Archive in England, was established in 1976 as an educational resource for the future by its visionary first Director, David Cleveland, who ran it until his retirement in 2004.
Since 1984 the Archive has been owned and operated by the University of East Anglia, Norwich (UEA), as a not for profit research and public access resource. In 2003 the Archive moved to the new £7.5m Archive Centre at County Hall, Norwich, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Norfolk County Council and UEA. The Archive Centre is also the home of the Norfolk Record Office, the first major archive in England to be awarded ‘Designation’ status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in 2005.
The collection comprises about 12,000 hours of film and up to 30,000 hours of videotape. The content mainly relates to the East of England region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk). It also includes collections of national and international scope. All of the material is intended to be for educational and cultural use.
Most of the material is not owned by UEA and, therefore, it cannot be used for commercial purposes. The biggest collection, that of Anglia Television (about 7,500 hours of film and 15,000 hours of videotape), is owned by ITV plc and the second biggest is owned by the BBC (about 1,000 hours of film and 6,500 hours of videotape). The film library of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers (400 hours) is the third major collection on deposit at the Archive. All the other films (about 3,000 hours) are in 700 individual collections from hundreds of individuals, families, companies and organisations. These collections range in size from a single item to 100 hours.
The Archive’s thousands of films and videotapes are kept in optimum storage conditions in temperature and humidity controlled vaults. The staff team has undertaken a wide range of activities including cataloguing, conservation, public access services, footage sales and technical services for producers.
The Archive is funded by the University of East Anglia. This has been supplemented from time to time by fixed-term grants from organisations including the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Archive and UEA’s School of Film, Television and Media Studies jointly taught the UK’s only MA degree in Film and Television Archiving, an internationally respected course established in 1990. Some 150 alumni from this prestigious course are working in film archives and libraries all over the world. To Find out more about the course visit the University's website at www.uea.ac.uk/ftm.
In November 2011 the Archive completed a major cataloguing and digitisation programme designed to enable far wider access to its holdings by the people of the East of England, and further afield.