British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Managing Agent and Advisory Service

The British Universities Film & Video Council and the Rights Department of the Open University ceased acting as the Managing Agent and Advisory Service for Moving Pictures and Sound Online (MAAS Media Online) after 29th July 2005.

However, more than 2,500 moving image and sound productions presented in some 7,000 items will continue to be made freely available for download by UK Further and Higher Education via Film and Sound Online (formerly Education Media Online).

To find out more about Film and Sound Online and how to subscribe to this resource, please go to

Past issues of Media Online Focus 2000-2005 which carries information on film collections available through Film and Sound Online and reviews of other relevant moving image projects, continue to be available via the British Universities Film & Video Council‘s website

The following film collections negotiated by the British Universities Film & Video Council available via Film and Sound Online are:

Alger Hiss

THE TRIALS OF ALGER HISS is an account of the 1950 espionage and perjury case that resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of a prominent American diplomat, whose career highlights include advising Roosevelt at the Yalta conference, 1945.

Acknowledged as a milestone in American documentary filmmaking, it uses contemporary newsreel footage and newly filmed interviews to set the case in its historical context. Director and lawyer, John Lowenthal, approaches the case as a testing of the American criminal justice system under pressure and although the film offers no final conclusions as to Hiss’ innocence or guilt, it helps to illuminate a political era.

Amber Films

One of the first independent, regional co-operatives, Amber Film Collective operates outside the mainstream metro-centric film industry and is also one of the few remaining survivors of the workshop movement still producing films today.

Working with the local communities in the North East, Amber continues to produce a film and photographic record that gives them a genuine voice.

Subjects covered: media studies, political and social history of Britain, shipbuilding, mining and the miners’ strike, change in industries and nuclear energy. More information can be found at

Anglia Television

Anglia Television’s WHO WERE THE BRITISH (1965) and THE LOST CENTURIES (1968) reflect the change in methodologies and approaches in archaeological discourse and they are also important for the study of the portrayal of archaeology on television.

WHO WERE THE BRITISH covers the impact of the Romans in Britain. THE LOST CENTURIES covers post-Roman Europe from the rise of Christianity and the influence of the later Islamic empires through to the beginning of the Renaissance. The series also explores Anglo-Saxon Britain and the expansion of the Vikings from Scandinavia into Britain. More information at

Biochemical Society

This collection charts the development of biochemistry in the later 20th century through the experiences of some of the subject’s most celebrated practitioners. including Professor Patricia Clarke and Sir James Lovelock.

Consisting mainly of extended interviews and where appropriate illustrated with photographs and diagrams, personal memories are often included with THE HISTORY OF TRICARBOXYLIC ACID CYCLE is also featured.

A unique resource, of great value to all those interested in biochemical sciences, molecular sciences and the history and philosophy of science. They also inform the social and political history of the century and are supplemented in some cases by biographies of scientists and relevant lectures.


In collaboration with record producer Brian Culverhouse, Education Media OnLine will deliver over fifty hours of copyright-free classical music from 17th to the 20th centuries. Of approximately 200 pieces, the collection will primarily comprise core orchestral repertoire including the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann.

This is the ONLY audio collection in the UK to permit manipulation and editing of audio files. It is this particular element that we believe is exciting about this collection.

Digital Himalaya

Christoph von Fuerer-Haimendorf lived and worked as an anthropologist throughout the Himalayas from the 1930s through to the 1980s. His specific interests included the Naga ethnic group of the North Eastern Frontier area of India Nepal. However, he travelled far and wide throughout the entire region, taking over 100 hours of film throughout his career.

Extraordinary in both its breadth and depth, this collection is one of the finest ethnographic film collections documenting Himalayan cultures. It also includes footage from other parts of the world.

Education Television and Films Ltd

The ETV collection is the largest collection of productions from the former Soviet Union, Communist China, the European Eastern block, Chile, Cuba, Africa and the Middle East which survives in Western Europe.

From archival footage from the February 1917 Revolution in Russia, Nazi Germany, Spanish Civil War to material from Vietnam, Tibet and Beirut in 1982, it remains an overwhelmingly valuable resource to Further and Higher education.

Subjects covered: socialist history in the twentieth century, Military, Political and Social History, the History of Science, War Studies, Media Studies, Music and Performing Arts and the study of propaganda.

The films in the ETV collection have recently been acquired by the British Film Institute and these are held at the National Film and Television Archive. More information is available at the BFI website.

Films of Scotland

This collection, one of the most coherent local and national film collections in the UK, charts the changing face of Scotland from the 1930s to 1982. All the films were made under the auspices of the Films of Scotland Committee, whose brief was to sponsor films promoting Scotland’s social, cultural and industrial attributes, both nationally and internationally. In collaboration with Scottish Screen Film Archive, 133 titles have been made available including all seven films made for the Empire Exhibition in 1938 and a selection of the films made between 1955 and 1982.

Subjects covered: relevant to both HE and FE courses. Industry, Agriculture, Fishing, Tourism, Urban redevelopment, Art and Art History, Media studies, social, economic and industrial History, Architectural History, Cultural studies, Sociology, Environmental studies, and Ethnographic, Literary, and Music studies. More information on the Films of Scotland collection is available on the Scottish Screen website.

Healthcare Productions

The collection has been highly acclaimed and much of the material has been awarded Certificates of Educational Merit by the British Medical Association (BMA). Programmes range from case studies of conditions and diseases to training videos on patient-staff interaction and public education programmes on local authority health services. Healthcare Productions have also produced a number of television programmes including a series on the impact of AIDS in Africa produced for Channel Four.

Subjects covered: FE sector in the fields of Healthcare, Biology, Childcare, Psychology, Social Care and Nutrition. ‘Pathways to Care’ for NVQ students. Also beneficial to students of Biomedical Science, Pharmacology and Medicine in the Higher Education sector. More information is available on the Healthcare Productions website and at Masterclass Plus

Imperial War Museum

Recognised as one of the most important moving image resources for the study of all aspects of the major conflicts in which Britain was involved in the 20th Century, the selection from IWM consists mainly of British official films, with additional titles from the USSR and USA. The material spans the First and Second World Wars including the liberation of the concentration camps, post-war reconstruction, Cold War and Civil Defence films, and, most recently, videotape from the United Nations Television Campaign in the former Yugoslavia from 1994 to 1996.

Subjects covered: relevant to both FE and HE. Military, political, social history, defence and war studies, American studies, colonial and post-colonial studies, women’s studies, media studies, cultural studies, international relations, town and country development, art, literacy and the uses of propaganda. More information on holdings and educational events is available at the Imperial War Museum Film and Video Archive

IWF Knowledge and Media GmbH

Based in Germany, the IWF is one of the leading science film institutes in the world. It has been working since the late 1940s on behalf of academic researchers to create audiovisual recordings of physical phenomena in nature and technology, the biological sciences, and ethnographic customs and processes in culture and society.

Subjects covered: bio-medical science and life sciences, zoology, botany, anthropology, chemistry, environmental science, genetics, oceanography, chemistry, physics, physical sciences, mathematics, ethnography and geology. More information can be found at

Logic Lane

Made by Professor Michael Chanan, LOGIC LANE (the first of a series of six films) traces the development of philosophy at Oxford University from the 1930s to the early 1970s. The series features many eminent scholars including Sir Alfred Ayer, Iris Murdoch, Sir Isaiah Berlin, David Pears and their views on many issues including, ethics, freedom and determinism, philosophy and science, linguistic theory and the philosophy of mind.

Subjects covered: philosophy, psychology, aesthetics and cultural theory, and language and literature.

Open University Worldwide

From the Open University Worldwide’s extensive catalogues, there are titles relating to psychology, the human body, mental illness, healthcare in the developing world, skills in communication and counselling in medicine, and the logging of patients’ medical information.

DISCOVERING SCIENCE, a series of ten programmes has also been selected and are designed to introduce important underlying concepts of science. Topics include the discovery of liquid crystals, the science of climate, sickle cell disease, palaeontology and geology, the history of mercury and quantum physics. Suitable for use in sixth-form Further Education courses as well as first-year undergraduates.

Royal Mail

Established in 1933, the GPO Film Unit produced one of the finest and most impressive British collections of documentary, public information, animation and industrial film ever to come from a single UK source, spanning much of the twentieth century. The collection includes classics such as NIGHTMAIL (1936) which perhaps best exemplifies how British industry supported leading film-makers pre-television, drawing on talents such as Basil Wright, Harry Watt, W.H. Auden, Benjamin Britten, John Grierson and Stuart Legg.

Subjects covered: transport, communications, the home front during the Second World War, British industries, the nation’s health, developments in the Post Office itself and groundbreaking works in British animation.

Sheffield University Learning Media Unit

Sheffield University Learning Media Unit is one of the largest university production units in the UK. As the academic subject range is broad, the collection can therefore be useful to those in Further Education, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and lecturers in the Higher Education sector.

Subjects covered: medicine, bio-medical science, chemistry, life sciences, biology, sociology, environmental and earth sciences, archaeology, music, law, geology, civil engineering, English language and the performing arts. More information is available on the University of Sheffield Learning Media Unit website.

St George’s Hospital Medical School Academic Services

The collection of 19 films from St George’s Hospital Medical School Academic Services reflects the teaching needs of one of the leading medical schools in the UK.

Subjects covered: clinical-medical and bio-medical field as well as aspects of current medical practice, examination techniques, case studies on specific illnesses and operations, guides on diagnosis, and training on doctor-patient interaction. More information is available on the St George’s Hospital Medical School Academic Services website.