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Israel Film Archive website gives access to historical treasures
The Artistic View includes feature films, shorts and documentaries from throughout Israel’s history.
By HANNAH BROWN SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 07:23
Dr. Noa Regev, CEO of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and Israel Film Archive; Hila Abraham, IFA digital preservation and access director; and Meir Russo, IFA manager. (photo credit: BAR MEIR)
Researchers, history buffs and movie lovers will rejoice at the news that the Israel Film Archive at the Jerusalem Cinematheque has launched a website (https://jfc.org.il/) that gives access to thousands of the films and clips in its collection.
The launch of the site, which is available in both Hebrew and English, is the culmination of more than seven years of work to digitize the IFA’s films. The vast majority of the material on the IFA site is free, with a few VOD options that require a onetime payment.
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The IFA was created by the late Jerusalem Cinematheque founder Lia van Leer, and it was originally composed of her own personal collection. It now features more than 30,000 items, two million meters of film and 4,500 hours which were filmed in Israel. The project cost $10 million and has a digital storage volume of about 6 petabytes (6 million gigabytes). As part of the project, the IFA, which is managed by Meir Russo, created an advanced film production laboratory and was able to save thousands of hours of brittle, disintegrating film.
The site is arranged in two sections: the Historical View and the Artistic View, both of which contain treasures from every era. The collection includes films from the Israeli Film Service Collection, the Maccabi Movement Archive, the Yad Tabenkin Archive and the Yad Vashem Museum, as well as many clips donated by private citizens.
There are an enormous number of film clips of great historical significance, as well as many that are just a lot of fun. These include Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, addressing a group of teens in 1954, the second Maccabiah in 1935, delegates being elected to the 20th Zionist Congress in 1920, a soccer match between Hapoel and a team from Vienna in 1937, Adolf Eichmann’s sentencing in 1961, and a 1957 clip of the Nahal Troupe performing “Until 120” with Arik Einstein.
The Artistic View includes feature films, shorts and documentaries from throughout Israel’s history, which include Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz’s To Take a Wife, Eytan Fox’s Song of the Siren, Uri Zohar’s Hole in the Moon and Saint Clara by Ari Folman and Ori Sivan.
The project was supported by the Jaglom Family Foundation, the Beracha Foundation, the Kennedy Leigh Charitable Trust, the Mifal Hapayis national lottery, the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Heritage Department of the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry, the Culture Ministry and the Tziyunei Derech Project.
Dr. Noa Regev, the CEO of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the IFA, said: “We started working on the project seven years ago, with the aim of making the archive a digital cultural institution accessible to everyone everywhere. We could not have imagined that on the day the site would go live, this vision would turn out to be so relevant.
“I thank the wonderful staff of the archive for their uncompromising, pioneering work, and our supporters and partners, who make it possible to present the treasures of the archive to the general public for the first time.
“There is no doubt that the new platform will serve students, researchers, filmmakers, culture and history buffs, and anyone looking to locate cinematic materials from their private past.”
The site has drawn praise from many quarters, including Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Rafi Peretz, who said, “We are pleased to take part in this important project that clearly fulfills the ministry’s role as the trust factor for the restoration and empowerment of national heritage infrastructure, inter alia, through digitization of content of historical and national importance and making it accessible to the public.”
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