The National Film Archive has over 100 000 films in its resource base. The oldest one comes from 1908. Despite the careful storage of film materials, due to their long-term exploitation and the passage of time they are often in a bad technical condition which disables the production of further copies through traditional optical methods.
The National Film Archive launched the Digital Repository on 21st March 2012. We have done this to digitally protect, archive and make national cinema heritage available. The main criteria when choosing films to digitize are their age and the degree of devastation of the negatives. The digitization and digital reconstruction of film materials in high parameters (2K/4K) is meant to minimize the exploitation of priceless analog archival materials and give the National Film Archive a collection of high quality digital copies usable on numerous fields of exploitation. We are currently working on the restoration of the digital feature film “The Deluge” (1973-1974) directed by Jerzy Hoffman.
Following the digitization process the film materials are described in accordance with the European metadata model. In response to the newly created databases the European Committee for Standardization has published norms regarding their recording in film archives. Alongside the British Film Institute National Archive, the National Film Archive is the second in Europe to introduce elements and structures from the norm EN 15907 and to begin cooperating with other film databases in Europe, including the European Film Gateway and Europeana.
Alongside basic information (director, year of production, cast etc.) in the case of newsreels we make sequence descriptions with timecodes and we write down the lector text, while in the case of feature films the content is described in detail, we find pictures and posters for the film. We also collect articles and comments of experts, authors' comments, archive press commentaries and interesting facts about the films. Finally we make the material available on the Internet.
On our website we show complete pre-war feature films from the National Film Archive’s publishing collection “Kino Polskie Okresu Wielkiego Niemowy", fragments of post-war films digitized as part of our project, a complete collection of animated films made in the seventies and eighties of the XX century in krakowskie Studio Filmów Animowanych, and pre-war newsreels of the Polska Agencja Telegraficzna and Wytwórnia Doświadczalna from 1924–1939 and due to the cooperation with Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych (WFDiF) materials from the Polish Newsreel published since 1945.
One of our responsibilities - in accordance with the Act of 30th June 2005 on cinematography (Dz.U. nr 13 poz. 1111) and the National Film Archive’s statute which is an attachment to the Minister of Culture and National Heritage’s regulation No 17 of 29th April 2008 – is to educate and publicize film culture. Among this we organize events connected to the films we digitize. In 2013 we were partners of Zachęta – The National Gallery of Art and The National Museum in Krakow for the exhibition “Antonisz: Technology for Me is a Form of Art”. On this occasion we organized an event called “Sharp engaged weekend” in our cinema Iluzjon. Its main topic was the output of the Studio Filmów Animowanych in Krakow, especially Julian Antonisz. Apart from screenings and meetings with the creators we organized an art and film workshop. A special event was the show “Plazmotwory” performed by Sabina and Malwina Antoniszczak and the Małe Instrumenty group. We also coorganized the conference Digital Culture 2013 “Archive released”. We collaborate with the Akademia Polskiego Filmu.
The digitization of films for the Project “The National Film Archive’s Digital Repository" is possible from 2010 due to the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and it’s digital programs: the “Program Zasoby cyfrowe / Digitalizacja materiałów audiowizualnych" (2010) and the “Wieloletni Program Rządowy KULTURA+ / Priorytet Digitalizacja" (2011-2014) directed by the National Audiovisual Institute.