World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is annually observed on October 27 to build awareness around the importance of safeguarding our film heritage. This is a key initiative for both UNESCO and the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA) to honor audiovisual preservation professionals and institutions.


This year’s theme is “Engage the Past Through Sound and Images”.

Here is the CCAAA Board’s official Statement about this year’s theme:


“Our collective histories are often captured on film, video, audio or digital formats, and through these, we engage to learn about the past and to share our own histories with future generations. Increasingly recordings serve as our memories and tell the stories that constitute our cultural heritage. In recognition of the preservation efforts of the thousands of archivists, librarians and caretakers around the world who care for these valuable collections, this year’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage again celebrates their dedication and expertise. Without the knowledge and devotion that is required to preserve, digitize and provide access, large portions of our cultural heritage would disappear to be lost forever.

Yet many conditions (technical, political, social, financial and more) threaten the survival of these audiovisual materials. We see these losses on a daily basis due to human error, as in the case of the most recently revealed decade-old Universal fire which resulted in the loss of thousands of musical masters, a massive portion of American music history. All too often catastrophes occur, as well, through the rapidly growing number of natural disasters, through lack of proper care (due to benign neglect or lack of knowledge and resources), and, of course, through political turmoil and war. Whatever the circumstances that threaten our cultural heritage, these events remind us that in order to protect and to preserve this material for future generations, skills, knowledge and resources are required. Our moving image and sound recordings hold our memories, ideas, and histories.

While many institutions dedicate substantial resources to providing proper archival storage and to continuously reformatting to the latest and greatest digital formats, some situations are less fortunate; nevertheless, the end goal for all of us is to be able to provide these materials to the audiences who will learn from them, engage with them, appreciate them and embrace them. Whether we are able to broadcast these stories through television, radio, the internet or on the big screen in our cinemas, our global efforts to share these sounds and images is paramount.

On 27 October, please join us in celebrating our audio-visual heritage, and assist us to acknowledge the work done every day to preserve our stories so that they will endure for future generations. Also, we encourage you to share these films, audio recordings, television histories and other audiovisual objects with the world to engage our audiences and allow them to remember and discover our past, including its secrets.”


The eight associations that form the CCAAA (AMIA, ARSC, FIAF, FIAT-IFTA, FOCAL International, IASA, ICA, SEAPAVAA) encourage their members to celebrate the 2019 World Day on and around 27 October and share information about their events on the dedicated CCAAA page:


Some events that have already been shared on the official page:

  • Modern Perspectives. Foto & Film Amsterdam 1920 – 1940 at EYE Filmmuseum, where Rommy Albers will introduce the reconstructed version of the Zeemansvrouwen (1930)
  • Film:Restored 04 – The Film Heritage Festival from 24 to 27 October at Deutsche Kinemathek.
  • The Romanian Cinematheque will screen a 35mm print of and Mrs. Smith by Alfred Hitchcock (1941) with Romanian subtitles
  • Filmoteca de Catalunya will celebrate UNESCO’s “World Day for Audiovisual Heritage” during all the month of October with an exhibition, screenings etc.
  • DFF will be screening Wenders’ recently digitized film Lisbon Story, which premiered 25 years ago, Himmel ohne Sterne by Helmut Käutner (1955) and Der Ochsenkrieg by Franz Osten (1920)
  • Cineteca Italiana will present two works recently restored by the Fondazione Cineteca: The Dynamite Brothers by Nino Pagot and The Last Supper by Luigi Giachino


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