Archives from Ireland’s silver screen heritage are destined for a new custom-built research and preservation centre on the campus of NUI Maynooth in Co Kildare to carry them into the digital era.
Film director Neil Jordan and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, TD, made the announcement this week that the Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund has met its shortfall in funding and that the centre is now going ahead.
The Irish Film Institute (IFI) and NUI Maynooth, along with funding partners including the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Bord Scannán na hÉireann (the Irish Film Board) and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, said the centre would now be going ahead at the Maynooth campus.
Ireland’s moving image heritage
Deenihan said the archive would be used as a cross-curricular educational resource to collect, document and preserve Ireland’s screen image.
Another aim of the centre will be to progress projects around film that harness new digital technologies.
"This exciting project will not only provide a secure home for the IFI Irish Film Archive collections, ensuring their safety for the future, but crucially will facilitate research into ways in which digital technology can ensure the collections are widely accessible for many years to come by people in Ireland and internationally," said Eve-Anne Cullinan, chairperson of the IFI.
Prof Philip Nolan, president of NUI Maynooth, said it was a privilege for the university to be involved with the centre.
"The IFI Irish Film Archive offers us unique insights into our culture, history and place in the world, and is a rich source for scholars and educators," he said.
The IFI collection spans more than 100 years of stories from everyday life to the achievements of Ireland’s filmmakers on the global stage.
The IFI said that, collectively, this material tells Ireland’s artistic, social and political story over the last century, as well as being a record of Irish film culture.