27 July 2011 – After nearly three years of preparation and development, the European Film Gateway – EFG is now online. The portal to the digital collections of European film archives and cinémathèques offers free access to currently about 400,000 digital videos, photos, film posters and text materials. By September, the number of digital items will increase to 600,000 from 16 film archives.
« The European Film Gateway creates a central online access to Europe’s film heritage for the first time. Previously, this remarkable record of 20th century European cinema had been dispersed on different national platforms, » says Claudia Dillmann, director of the Deutsches Filminstitut, which co-ordinates the project. « Now the films and information about them are more accessible, not only to scholars, journalists and creatives, but also by a broader audience interested in film. »
« EFG also provides access to material in film archives that was hitherto hardly known, and some is now online for the first time, » says project manager Georg Eckes. These include unique magic lantern slide collections from France, erotic films made in Austria in the early 20th century, advertising films from Norway, newsreels from Lithuania and a comprehensive film poster collection from Denmark. Hidden treasures can be discovered from 15 European countries. Cinecittá Luce from Rome, for example, contributes not only a famous Italian newsreel collection reporting on important film-related events and persons, but also a fine collection of early films by great masters like Rossellini, Antonioni, Comencini, and other famous names of Italian filmmaking. An extensive collection of set photos to films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder contributed by the Deutsches Filminstitut will be available for the first time online from August on.
Users of the portal can search for people, for example Marlene Dietrich, but also by film title or keywords. They get an overview of related digital objects from the film archives which can be viewed directly in the portal. The portal always links back to the website of the relevant archives, and therefore also works as a search engine for selected digital holdings of European film archives.
EFG is a component of Europeana, the platform for the cultural heritage of Europe. EFG gathers the indexing and access information, so-called « metadata », and provides it to Europeana in a structured form. By doing so, the European Film Gateway and Europeana bring together the collections of European film archives with holdings of libraries, archives and museums in Europe, and put them in a transnational and multicultural context.
The EFG portal is the result of the EFG project which was developed by the Deutsches Filminstitut together with the Association des Européennes Cinémathèques and its members. It started in September 2008 and will end in September 2011. The coordination of the project lies with the Deutsches Filminstitut in Frankfurt am Main. It will operate the site on behalf of the project partners even after the project period has ended. The technological infrastructure was provided by the IT research institute of the Italian national research council, CNR-ISTI in Pisa. The project was funded by the eContentplus Programme of the European Commission.