After the fusion of the Deutsches Filminstitut and Deutsches Filmmuseum the combined archive now contains a collection of circa 20,000 films, which are stored according to modern preservation standards in refrigerated and air-conditioned repositories. The collection includes feature films and documentaries, short films and promotional films, as well as negative and positive prints.
The archives of both houses supplement each other perfectly: the Deutsches Filminstitut has been focusing on the collection of German films since its institution, in particular notable sound films before 1945 and silent films; many silent classics are currently distributed by the Deutsches Filminstitut. The focus of the Deutsches Filmmuseum on the other hand has been on the preservation of New German Cinema and experimental films. Both archives share a special interest in avant-garde film and animation. This field is well represented in the archives with almost the entire works of Lotte Reiniger and Oskar Fischinger. Furthermore, the film archive includes the entire catalogue of the influential Insel Film prodution company, market leader in the sector of promotional films from the 1950s to the early 1990s.
Its long-standing collaboration with the Wilhelm Murnau Foundation has lead the Deutsches Filminstitut to specialize in the distribution of classic German films produced before 1945. This includes highlights of German silent film such as METROPOLIS (1925/26), NOSFERATU (1921) or THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1919/20). Furthermore, films of the German avant-garde and some major productions of auteur cinema are available as well. All copies are available for non-commercial use to art-house or local cinemas, international film museums and education facilities such as universities.
Restorations commissioned or carried out directly by the Deutsches Filminstitut continue to expand the variety of available films. Among the most current restored versions, several prints of THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED and HAMLET are available for distribution at present.