The Irish Film Institute and Maynooth University are proud to announce the opening of the IFI Irish Film Archive @ Maynooth University, a new purpose-built moving image preservation facility at Maynooth University, launched today by Josepha Madigan T.D., Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The largest facility of its kind in Ireland, this state-of-the-art building triples the IFI Irish Film Archive’s current storage capacity, thereby ensuring the preservation of Ireland’s national film heritage for generations to come.
Films from directors including John Huston, Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan, Lenny Abrahamson, Mary McGuckian, Pat Murphy, Aisling Walsh, George Morrison, Paddy Breathnach, Bob Quinn, Louis Marcus, Joe Comerford and Alan Parker amongst many others will be stored at the facility as part of the Institute’s collections, plus a large number of amateur films from the IFI Film Archive’s vast repository.
In November 2011, the IFI officially launched the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund after its archive building in Temple Bar reached capacity. Through this innovative partnership with Maynooth University and support from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Maynooth University, the Irish Film Board, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the IFI Irish Film Archive @ Maynooth University has come to fruition. Measuring 180 sq m (1,900 sq ft), the facility contains 120 sq m (1,300 sq ft) of climate-controlled vault space to help house part of the IFI Irish Film Archive’s vast collection of 30,000 cans of film dating from 1897.
Speaking at the opening of the facility, the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan T.D. said: “This archive is a treasure trove which contains over a 100 years of Irish stories on film. It will preserve those stories so that new generations will see how the preceding generations looked upon themselves. This is the nation talking to itself in reel time! I am delighted that my Department was in a position to support the Irish Film Institute in providing this new facility in Maynooth University.”
Ross Keane, the Director/CEO of the Irish Film Institute, added: “A key component of the IFI Strategy 2017-22 was to increase capacity for moving image preservation and acquisition through the development of additional off-site climate-controlled vaults, and we are therefore delighted to be officially opening the new IFI Irish Film Archive @ Maynooth University. This significant expansion of our vaults addresses a critical space issue and is a key development for the IFI, and will ensure that we can continue to acquire and preserve precious moving image material for current and future generations.”
Maynooth University and the IFI also have initiated a new academic partnership that uses the archive as a teaching and research resource. Students in MU's Master's in Critical and Creative Media course (Department of Media Studies) have the opportunity to take a module in Media Archives that is co-taught by IFI's Kasandra O'Connell, and Maynooth's Dr Denis Condon and Prof Maria Pramaggiore, also an IFI Council Member.
President of Maynooth University, Professor Philip Nolan, commented: ‘Maynooth University is delighted to welcome the Irish Film Archive to campus; it complements wonderfully our established research and academic strengths in the arts and humanities in general and in Media Studies in particular. In addition to preserving the history of the moving image in Ireland, the IFI Irish Film Archive @ Maynooth University supports a new academic partnership between our two institutions, giving Maynooth students and researchers the opportunity to be at the forefront of media archive education and research.’
To ensure optimum storage conditions for the films stored in the vaults, the temperature in the vault will be lowered to 4°C while the Relative Humidity will be maintained at 35%. The research and preservation space will contain viewing and winder facilities for all film formats including 8mm, Super8mm, 16mm, 35mm film, and will contain 16mm and 35mm Steenbeck flatbed editing tables.