February 1, 2012 Library of Congress and French Archive INA Exchange Cinema and TV Treasures

Contact: Sheryl Cannady, Library of Congress, (202) 707-6456 | Dana Purcarescu, French Embassy, (202) 944-6080 | Laure de Lestrange, INA, (33) 1 49 83 26 68

Franco-American relations have reached new heights because of a cultural gift exchange between the world’s largest library and the premiere audiovisual archive in France. The Library of Congress and the French Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), in an unprecedented collaboration, will exchange up to 500 hours of digitized film and television content over the next three years, reflecting how the United States and France have been portrayed in each other's media.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and INA Chairman and CEO Mathieu Gallet officially presented each other with the first set of programs in a special ceremony today in the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building. Also in attendance at the presentation were INA’s International Affairs Officer Mathieu Fournet and Mike Mashon, head of the Moving Image Section at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation.

“The Library's collaboration with INA will allow researchers to gain valuable insights from the depiction of the American experience over the past 110 years through the lens of another culture,” said Billington. “The outcome of our efforts to preserve our nation’s audiovisual heritage will be the opportunity to share our collective creative memory with the world, reflecting our common humanity and celebrating our uniqueness.”

“For INA, this arrangement with the Library of Congress, after several years of necessary discussions, is a major step to realize this objective of having a world library where citizens may access, study and understand our history, evolution and thoughts through one of the greatest mirrors of humanity which is audiovisual production,” said Gallet. “Our collaboration constitutes the starting point to build a wider perception of the world and to propose to all who desire, a vision based on what our countries have slowly built to reflect its life.”

The initial titles selected for the cultural exchange are mainly news programming, documentaries, educational films, travelogues and home movies. Offerings include:

  • Films from the Library’s Paper Print and George Kleine collections, including “Scene from the Elevator Ascending Eiffel Tower (1900), “Battle of Flowers from Nice Carnival (1903), and “A Trip on the Riviera” (1914);
  • U.S. government-produced films such as the Department of Defense’s “This is France” (1958);
  • Travelogues and home movies such as “Prowling Around France with Will Rogers” (1927);
  • Education films including “French Influences in North America” (1951) and “Modern France” (1965);
  • Among the French titles are “A New York: 2ème partie: Etres de nuit” (ORTF- 1962), “Norman Mailer” (A2-1980), “Washington cité impériale: 2e partie: Quand la ville parle” (A2-1981), “Arthur Miller” (A2-1988) and “Prix Nobel: Toni Morrison” (A2-1998).

The digital files will be available for research in the Library's Motion Picture Reading Room and INA's consultation center at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris. A wide selection of public-domain titles will be made available for global online access via the World Digital Library (www.wdl.org).

Within the next six months, the Library and INA will independently organize their own committees of scholars and researchers to study and report on the progress of the agreement. These committees will advise on future content selection and programming.

INA, founded in 1974, gathers and preserves the images and sounds, which form the basis of our collective memory. It authenticates them, gives them meaning, and shares them as widely as possible through its collections and its expertise. The world's number one audiovisual centre for digital archiving and archive enhancement, INA has become the watchword for technical innovation in both these fields (www.institut-national-audiovisuel.fr< External ).

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. The Library also preserves the nation’s largest collections of television, radio and sound recordings and related materials. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.

Home to more than 6 million collection items, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility in Culpeper, Va. where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (www.loc.gov/avconservation/).


PR 12-024
ISSN 0731-3527