About the Yale Film Archive
2022 is a most exciting year for the Yale Film Archive: it marks our 40th anniversary! In 1982, the University founded what was then known as the Yale Film Study Center in response to the burgeoning interest in the art and scholarship of film at Yale, as evidenced by the growing number of film courses and the proliferation of film societies on campus. In 2021, we became the Yale Film Archive, a name that better reflects our full range of activities, our recognition by the archival community, and our full commitment to upholding the standards and responsibilities of that community in caring for film at Yale. As we embark on our fifth decade, we continue to maintain our mission: to advance film culture and support teaching, learning, and research at Yale through collection, preservation, access, and exhibition.
We pursue our mission by building and maintaining a collection of media in a variety of film and video formats; providing on-site viewing facilities; supporting the use of film in teaching and learning through classroom showings and individual research; performing film conservation and preservation work; and presenting screenings and related events to the Yale community and the public.
An Associate of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), the Yale Film Archive traces its roots to film collections at Yale dating back to the 1960s, including the historic archives of a number of prominent film collectors. We now have more than 7,000 film elements in our film collection—including the archives of many prominent film collectors and hundreds of unique 35mm and 16mm prints and original negatives—and more than 50,000 assets in our video collection. We also have a small but growing screenplay collection.
Our collection development strategy is motivated by a desire to meet the teaching, learning, and research needs of all Yale students and faculty working with film. We strive to expand and strengthen our robust general collection, which includes works across a wide range of genres and from over 160 countries, while also deepening the collection in key research areas in consultation with Yale faculty. We welcome purchase requests and inquiries about ways the Film Archive can support individual research interests. Decisions regarding acquisitions are based primarily on academic needs, with priority given to current-year courses and active research projects.
Our name change in 2021 coincided with our move to a new home on the 7th floor of Sterling Memorial Library. The newly-renovated 3,200-square-foot space offers ten updated viewing booths, a state-of-the-art screening room, and a film conservation suite with cold storage and flatbed film viewing stations. The Yale Film Archive also enjoys sweeping views of the campus, a convenient central location, and a closer connection to the resources of Sterling and Bass.