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Collections and bequests

Enthusiastic film fans collect autographs, press clippings and memorabilia. They are searching for objects with an aura, for artifacts to transport memories: of an idolised star, an exceptional film experience or of a particular thematic interest. All of these are also collected by the Deutsches Filminstitut’s archive – with, however, a decidedly more academic, philological and editorial interest. It indexes, catalogues, receives and displays materials relating to different thematic aspects, documenting not only the production histories of the various film projects, but also contributing to the understanding of film in its totality, its production and its reception:

Production documents, from the first treatments to diverse screenplay drafts; documents relating to casting or location-scouting, to financing, accounting and exploitation in the cinemas; set and costume designs; shooting and editing reports; notes for film music; stills and production stills; props and costumes.

The archived material relevant to film history in the Deutsches Filminstitut’s collections and estates may be used academically or by anyone with an interest in film. Here one may find primary source materials from the areas of production, direction, acting, cinematography, costume and set design, music, advertising and distribution. They attest to context, are evidence of artistic creation, offer inside glimpses into the daily work routine. Many of the unique items possess their own one-of-a-kind display value. Some of them have, apart from their great ideational worth, a high value for collectors. Not least, the holdings constitute a significant basis for the conception and presentation of exhibitions, both in-house and external.

Stored in the archive centre in Frankfurt-Rödelheim are accumulated materials documenting approximately 100 film artists, including extensive holdings on the directors Volker Schlöndorff, Romuald Karmakar, Dani Levy, Wolfgang Becker, Tom Tykwer, Peter Fleischmann and Kurt Hoffmann; on the filmmaker Lotte Reiniger, the avantgarde filmmaker Oskar Fischinger and the animation filmmakers the Diehl brothers; on the actors Paul Wegener, Curd Jürgens and Maria Schell; on the film architects Hans Poelzig, Otto Hunte, Walter Reimann, and Toni and Heidi Lüdi; on the costume designer Irms Pauli, the film composers Giuseppe Becce and Wolfgang Zeller; on the producers Artur Brauner (CCC-Film), Luggi Waldleitner (Roxy Film) and Eberhard Junkersdorf (Bioskop Film); on the X-Filme Creative Pool GmbH and the distributor Neue Filmkunst Walter Kirchner.

One of the most recent large additions involved taking charge of the Chaplin-Archiv, the most comprehensive German collection relating to the work and influence of Charles Spencer Chaplin.

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