After nearly three years of preparation and development, the European Film Gateway – EFG – is now online. The Internet portal to the digital collections of European film archives and cinémathèques offers free access to currently about 400,000 digital videos, photos, film posters and text materials. By September, the number of digital items will increase to 600,000 from 16 film archives.
“The European Film Gateway creates a central online access to Europe’s film heritage for the first time. Previously, this remarkable record of 20th century European cinema had been dispersed on different national platforms,” says Claudia Dillmann, director of the Deutsches Filminstitut, which co-ordinates the project. “Now the films and information about them are more accessible, not only to scholars, journalists and creatives, but also by a broader audience interested in film.”
“EFG also provides access to material in film archives that was hitherto hardly known, and some is now online for the first time,” says project manager Georg Eckes. These include unique magic lantern slide collections from France, erotic films made in Austria in the early 20th century, advertising films from Norway, newsreels from Lithuania and a comprehensive film poster collection from Denmark. Hidden treasures can be discovered from 15 European countries. Cinecittá Luce from Rome, for example, contributes not only a famous Italian newsreel collection reporting on important film-related events and persons, but also a fine collection of early films by great masters like Rossellini, Antonioni, Comencini, and other famous names of Italian filmmaking. An extensive collection of set photos to films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder contributed by the Deutsches Filminstitut will be available for the first time online from August on.
Users of the portal can search for people, for example Marlene Dietrich, but also by film title or keywords. They get an overview of related digital objects from the film archives which can be viewed directly in the portal. The portal always links back to the website of the relevant archives, and therefore also works as a search engine for selected digital holdings of European film archives.