Anthology Film Archives

Anthology’s mission is to preserve, promote, and exhibit independent, experimental, and artist cinema. Through modern preservation techniques – both photochemical and digital – Anthology works to make titles accessible to the general public through screenings, archival loans, on-site research, and online viewing.

Anthology’s preservation program was established in 1972. Ever since then, we have been steadfastly committed to the preservation and exhibition of work by the most important American independent and experimental filmmakers. Films preserved by Anthology include those of Stan Brakhage, Shirley Clarke, Joseph Cornell, Maya Deren, George and Mike Kuchar, Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken, Paul Sharits, and Harry Smith, among many others.

The most common traits of film decomposition – shrinkage, color fading, and base deterioration – are circumvented through the creation of new polyester-based negatives; new projection prints and digital transfers are made as a means of access. Many avant-garde film classics as well as documents of life in America during the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies would have been lost if they had they not been saved from deterioration or destruction by Anthology’s preservation program.

Anthology also provides a space for the presentation of a vast array of contemporary and classical work that otherwise has limited exposure. For us, the value of cinematic art is always realized through a combination of presentation and preservation; restricting efforts to one or the other can only lead to disappearance.


Preservation refers to the long-term care and storage of motion picture media. The vast majority of Anthology’s collection consists of celluloid film elements, but we also have a large number of unique video and audio materials. Whether on film, magnetic tape, or a hard drive, it is necessary to both maintain a proper storage environment as well as migrate content to more stable and long term media. Migrating media can refer to making a new polyester-based film negative from a deteriorating original, transferring older video tapes to contemporary formats, or writing digital files to magnetic data tapes.

As with most environments dedicated to long-term storage, the key words are cool, dry, and constant. With this in mind, Anthology maintains an on-site cold vault at 55 degrees Farenheit and a relative humidity (RH) of approximately 35%; we store films in acid-free archival cans. Anthology stores original and preservation elements in lower temperature off-site vault storage. Collection environments are continously monitored with temperture and humiditly data loggers. Our staff inspects and repairs film, video, and audio materials, while always keeping an eye out for titles that could use a more proactive preservation effort – such as a new negative or a digital transfer.

Films, with the financial support of granting organizations and other funding sources, are sent to various laboratories for the creation of a new negatives and projection prints. The projection prints are screened in-house – often as part of Anthology’s Essential Cinema series – or lent out to other institutions and festivals for public screenings. From these new preservation negatives or release prints, Anthology often creates digital files for additional access.

List of films preserved by Anthology Film Archives

Digital Initiatives:

As an institution we feel strongly that motion pictures that were made on film (35mm, 16mm, or 8mm) should be exhibited in their original formats, but we do appreciate the accessibility of digital video, especially for those unable to visit our theaters on a regular basis.

Anthology works hard to make films in our collection available to the general public through on-site viewing, hosting of researchers, archival print loans, and in-house theater projection. In conjunction with filmmakers and granting organizations, Anthology is working to increase the amount of digital content available online.

We are able to produce in-house digital transfers of: 35mm, 16mm, S8mm, and 8mm film; U-matic, Hi8, Laserdisc, VHS, Betacam, and Digital Betacam video tapes; and reel-to-reel and cassette audio tapes. Film transfers are not considered archival or preservation masters but are available for on-site and online access and, in some cases, for public presentation.

With these new digital initiatives, Anthology hopes to establish a second source for our collections to be seen by the public. By hosting digital content online, we hope to satisfy the demand of current Anthology members while at the same time introducing a new audience to independent and avant-garde cinema.


Academy Film Archive:
George Eastman House:
Harvard Film Archives:
Library of Congress:
Museum of Modern Art:
New York Public Library:
Pacific Film Archive:
Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research:
UCLA Film & Television Archive:

Canyon Cinema:
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre:
Center For Visual Music:
Electronic Arts Intermix:
Janus Films:
Lux (UK):
Light Cone (France):
Museum of Modern Art:
Video Data Bank:

Association of Moving Image Archivists:
GEH Selznick School of Film Preservation:
International Federation of Film Archives:
NFPF Film Preservation Guide:
NYU Moving Image Archiving Program:
Orphans Film Symposium:
UCLA Moving Image Archive Studies:

Film Laboratories:
Cinema Arts: 570-676-4145
Cineric, Inc.:

AV Geeks:
Millennium Film Journal:  
Oddball Film + Video:
Prelinger Archive: