Moving Image Holdings Bolster Learning and Research

Updated May 15, 2020: Due to COVID-19, all Film & Television Archive events have been suspended. Join us “Safer at Home Cinema,” read about our restoration of the Warner Bros. classic “Mystery of the Wax Museum,” and check out our online collection of films, television, and radio programs.

The UCLA Film & Television Archive is the repository of the largest university-held collection of motion pictures and broadcast programming in the world. Internationally respected for its work across six decades, the Archive joined the UCLA Library in October, creating a stronger alignment between the Library’s archival, print, and digital collections and the Archive’s moving image holdings.

“The Archive is a vital member of the Los Angeles arts community and has long been a leader in the field of moving image preservation and exhibition,” said Virginia Steel, university librarian. “This exciting union will further activate our collections, advancing learning and research across UCLA and beyond.”

Collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and facilitating the research and study of moving images, the Archive holds more than 350,000 motion pictures, 170,000 television programs, and 5,013 miles
of newsreel footage—including 1,800 motion pictures and 1,500 television programs added last year alone. Safely stored in state-of-the-art vaults in Santa Clarita, more than 600 of these prints and media were circulated last year for viewing at cinematheques and festivals around the world.

Locally, the Archive presents 400 screenings per year, often followed by thought-provoking and educational panel discussions with affiliated creators and stars. Popular programs include a salute to American women directors of the 1970s, a centennial celebration of TV pioneer Ernie Kovacs, new cinematic works from Iran, and Japanese silent films accompanied by traditional narrators and musicians.

On campus, the Archive Research & Study Center in Powell Library makes the collection accessible to undergraduate and graduate classes, faculty, and researchers, many of whom travel to use materials found only at UCLA. Recently published works that involved research at ARSC include: Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film; Cartoon Vision: UPA Animation and Postwar Aesthetics; Anna May Wong: Performing the Modern, and Cinema Between Latin America and Los Angeles: Origins to 1960.

Film’s fragility makes preservation and restoration essential elements in protecting history and cultural heritage for future generations of students and scholars.

Preservationists meticulously restore filmed media to its original glory, and work to make it accessible online where possible. Films such as MGM’s anti-Nazi classic The Mortal Storm (1940), the Mexican masterpiece Enamorada (1946), the LGBTQ time capsule Gay USA (1977), as well as a selection of stylish film noirs and beloved Laurel and Hardy shorts, were recently preserved and showcased at the biennial 2019 UCLA Festival of Preservation.

The Archive also prioritizes the preservation of historic television, which now exists mostly on obsolete and deteriorating tape formats. Last year, with a grant from The John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, the Archive digitized, cataloged, and made freely accessible online a collection of KTLA News stories documenting the career of UCLA alumnus Tom Bradley, Los Angeles’s first African American mayor.

For more information about supporting the UCLA Film & Television Archive, please contact Stephanie Kimura at (310) 206-8551 or visit giving.ucla.edu/Library