British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS


(photo courtesy of British Film Institute: BFI National Library)
Description
The Special Collections holdings of the BFI incorporate the main collection of approx. 20,000 unpublished scripts, a similar number of press (campaign) books, donations of personal and company papers from the film and TV industry, and extensive sequences of ephemera such as cinema programmes (London, the regions and some for abroad), souvenir brochures, autographed letters and general publicity and promotional material. The collections focus mainly on British film and TV production, and range from the 1890s to the present. The personal and company papers include production records, scrapbooks, diaries, notebooks, ledgers, minutes and correspondence. Major donors include Joseph Losey, Michael Balcon, Powell and Pressburger, Carol Reed, Anthony Asquith, David Puttnam, Derek Jarman, London Film Productions, and several documentary film-makers. In addition to the above, there is a random collection of sound recordings - a mixture of interviews, radio promotional spots and some soundtracks. Finally, some complete film music scores and a large amount of sheet music is also held, together with a separate sequence of music cue sheets.
Artefact description
BFI Special Collections holds over 25,000 unpublished film and TV scripts, over 25,000 pressbooks and 800 named collections donated by companies or indviduals connected with the media industry. Please note that stills, posters and designs are held by a separate department, BFI Stills.
Website
http://www.bfi.org.uk/nationallibrary/visiting/special.html
Keywords
Cinema; Filmmakers; Television
Access
Special Collections is open: Mon-Fri: 10.30-17.30, Wed: 14.00-17.30
Only two study places available, appointment system operated; advance notice needed.
Access for outsiders
Open to annual BFI Library members.

Moving Image, Audio and Related Documentation Holdings

Ephemera
Approx. 20, 000 press books, also available on microfiche, and thousands of items of cinema ephemera.
Manuscripts
Approx. 500 collections + 20,000 scripts.
Music
Large quantity of sheet music.
Sound
Approx. 200 casettes, approx 150 reels.

Artefact and Related Documentation Holdings

Documents
Contracts; Catalogues; Correspondence; Cue sheets; Diaries, unpublished memoirs etc; Equipment manuals; Sheet music; Scripts and treatments; Storyboards; Personal papers; Photographs; Promotional literature; Other production documentation; Ephemera
Film-making
Editing equipment and viewers
TV, Video & Digital
Television monitors; Television receivers

Catalogues

Computerised database
No online database. Please note the BFI Library catalogue IS on-line, as is the Filmographic Database.
Online catalogue
No.
Printed catalogue
Typescript listings only for majority.
Card catalogue
Unpublished script collection.

Additional Information

Artefact notes
We catalogue the script collection along FIAF guidelines, we catalogue special collections according to our own, in-house system.

Main Contact

Name
David Sharp
Job title
Deputy Head (User Services)
Department
Special Collections
Telephone
020 7957 8970
Fax
020 7436 2338
Email
david.sharp@bfi.org.uk
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN

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