Anne Fleming

Forename/s: 
Anne
Family name: 
Fleming
Work area/craft/role: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
698
Interview Date(s): 
21 Apr 2017
Interviewer/s: 
Other crew: 
Duration (mins): 
88

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behp0698-anne-fleming-summary

 

Notes taken by David Sharp at the Anne Fleming interview on 21st April 2017.

11.35am, start; b Old Montrose, Scotland. School and then Edinburgh University (Hons degree in English literature and language, and history) joined Film Society and helped out at Edinburgh Film Festival.

Spell teaching English as a foreign language in Sicily. Applied for post at Imperial War Museum [IWM] as a Keeper in Information Retrieval, which would have involved cataloguing film and all the holdings of IWM, was interviewed but didn’t get the post. Follow up letter from Noble Franklin to say two more jobs were coming up and these involved cataloguing and film programming. Franklin, Chris Rose (Deputy Director), Clive Coulthas and Frances Thorpe and a computer person made up the panel. This was 1970 so relatively early in computer terms, with attendant problems. The work involved materials inherited from ministries, other collections, and photos and documents. The ambition was perhaps a bit ahead of the game.  The programming aspect was to compile a monthly including weekend programme of screenings. There were two projectionists and a preview theatre, where Anne watched masses of material, some of it “record” film unedited plus other material. Clive Coulthas Keeper of Film Rapidly changing period of museum reorganisation. The film section was part of Collections (i.e. non-objects) with a single keeper.

From 1971 there were “Heads” of documents, printed books etc. They started interviewing people with a focus on those who hadn’t been published. There were loans of film and programming still to carry out and liaison with TV companies. The Film section had John Sutters and Iris English in it. The Great War series and Life and Times of Mountbatten were key and demand grew. More admin and more deputising arose. Cataloguing in detail; shot listing. This was in parallel with what was happening at the British Film Institute [BFI] where Ernest Lindgren was still around, shortly to be followed by Kevin Gough-Yates (acting) and then David Francis.

So at that stage there was really just the NFTVA [National Film & Television Archive] and the IWM. Late 1970s the Scottish Film Archive (David Bruce) and then into the 1980s the regional film archives started. North West (late Marianne Gomes) and East Anglia (David Cleveland). The BFI was seen as slightly imperialistic… and there are good reasons (regional knowledge for example) to have the regionals. Anne talks about assisting in research relating to World at War, Secret History. And then becoming Keeper of Department of Film around 1984/5. Clive was overseeing photographs and sound recordings. There was a restructuring of the galleries including introduction of touch screens. 1989 Alan Borg oversaw, The emphasis was now very much on income generation. Christopher Rose negotiated rights for overseas earnings as well as lump sum. There were rights clearance issues on the Great War series. There was also the Palestine series, which IWM only had involvement with for episode 1. There was interest in “secret histories”, film of German and British technical innovations in films of record. Brian Johnson mentioned.

25 minutes. Talks about the Allied Control Commission’s brief regarding newsreel, features that were Nazi related. The Enemy Property Act 1953 covered museums exploitation on behalf of the crown in the UK (and possibly the Commonwealth). In the late 1960s and 1970s the Germans resented this. The USA repatriated a lot of this type of material to Germany in the Kennedy era.

The visit of Dr Faltanhauser (who had worked for Goebbels); Transit films difficult meetings at the German embassy. Release only in the UK. The danger of some of the propaganda elements eg Riefenstahl Triumph of the Will. Such powerful images show the dangerous appeal of national socialism. Prof Hans Kohl came to preview it and Anne was summoned because of the “odd” behaviour of two of his colleagues, who were marching up and down saluting the screen. This type of viewing was to be avoided in the future. “Atrocity” footage was kept off screen due to lack of viewing copies. Some “secret” films were requested, which showed in some cases unstable or failing experimental military gadgets, such as the pre D-Day Great Panjamdram. Some of this material was classified, but Mountbatten got that over-ruled.

New people joining the team. Paul Sergeant, Jane Fish the public face. As a consequence of Anne’s secondment to UNESCO, Taylor Downing [BEHP Interview No 699] came in on a temporary project contract to catalogue (mainly) amateur film. Anne went to help establish JTV in Jordan to set up a film and television archive. Taylor moved on to work on Palestine.

So, after twenty years at IWM Anne was thinking about moving on; she did some travelling. Changes at the BFI (departure of David Francis and Michele Snapes) left two vacancies. Clyde Jeavons [BEHP Interview No 694] replaced David Francis, and Anne would be his deputy.

FIAF discussion: IWM was not a member in the 1960s. Christopher Rose applied then when Clive separated off the film archive (which had been founded in 1917) it became an associate member, and then later a full member. Talk about a film archivist being a rare occupation. More archives as well, some without “celluloid”. Curator v Archivist, and the distinctions in museum work. Archivists not dealing with the single “object” but retaining original negatives and a contemporary print gives a fighting chance of producing another copy. No two copies are ever identical, though digital technology may change all that.

45mins. There are subjective judgements, shared by film makers. The big Hollywood studios are now remastering via celluloid, though DCPs are used for distribution, even if the original was “born digital”. It is so easy to damage film by projecting and screw up the soundtracks. Conserving the original is what we are all about. Nitrate. Battle of the Somme on diacetate. There is now more information in the picture now because it can be seen.

FIAF isn’t the only organisation: there is AMIA and SEAPA. There is a new interest in preserving film culture.

Joined BFI on September 3rd 1990. It was a different scale of a collection, outstripping other collections. So much bigger: IWM had 35 staff including outstations. (Hayes – nitrate; Duxford – safety stock). BFI had c 30ish staff just at Stephen Street. 100 plus at Berkhamsted and Gaydon. A change of scale. Departmental meetings were held at Berkhamsted, which is where related materials and special collections were also stored. This was the era of Wilf Stevenson (1990 – 97) then John Woodward, and Jon Tekman, and the 1990s seemed to be an era of constant restructuring.

55mins. There was some stability in the department, but it became difficult drafting budgets including salaries. This was very much the era of computerisation and legacy data. The SIFT database (Summary of Information on Film and Television) held filmographic information whilst an Oracle based system called TecRec (Technical Records) held detailed holdings information, including the existence of viewing copies. SIFT did not include the book library catalogue, although it did hold journal references [Clarified by DS at the end]. There were a lot of staff with technical skills, uncommon elsewhere. Mention of the HLF bid in the 1990s. A new build bid, a collections management plan. C£20 million to include staff costs, including cataloguing staff, and technical staff at Berkhamsted. £19million was supposed to be matched by £5million from other sources. Challenging. Getty agreed to release matched funding in stages as required. Discussion on Legal deposit. BFI argued for it. It would have meant a copy of a film would be acquired intact, rather than scavenged. This would have enabled more economic activity, rather than having to save the “Warner collection under the tarpaulin in the yard”. This would be far better than industrial archaeology.

70mins Television – Clyde brokered an agreement with the BBC to acquire their material on Super VHS, with viewing copies on VHS. ITV/Channel 4 were recorded off-air on 1inch master tape, again with VHS viewing copies. This was selective: documentaries, comedies, soaps. Then 2 inch tapes from the BBC put onto digibeta. Brian Jenkinson changed formats. Recording TV was a 24hour job, and archive responsibility meant retaining 2inch tape machines. Another period of restructuring around 1996 saw Clyde Jeavons leave the BFI. Henning Schou came in, based at Berkhamsted. Anne led the curatorship from September 1997. John Woodward came in and appointed new “headships” with Caroline Ellis as Head of Collections. Henning left, Anne moved to Berkhamsted. For 1999 and 2000. HLF project was under way. Photographic prints were stopped in 1996/97. Some jobs were saved.

Left BFI in 2000. Found it was a difficult, untenable position. Planned to work at BUFVC (British Universities Film and Video Council) on a funded project. Murray Weston appointed Head of Content for Mass Media Online. Brief discussions on Stanley Foreman’s ETV collection acquired with the BFI.

Brief coda on the big challenge regarding digital content, on different servers and vulnerable as never before from cyber-attack, and the recent examples of Sony being hacked by North Korea. Now there is both technological change and the issues of constantly migrating formats, with masters being vulnerable. Yet there is hope as well.

 

One interjection: had Anne had to sign Official Secrets Act to work at IWM?  Yes.

Finish c1pm duration c 85minutes

 

These are based on written notes and are not exact nor a complete transcript.

 

[END]

 

Transcript

BEHP transcript Disclaimer

This transcript has been produced automatically using Speechmatics.

It provides a basic, but unverified or proofread transcript of the interview. Therefore, the British Entertainment History Project (BEHP) accepts no liability for any misinterpretation of the content of this interview.

However, the BEHP wants to make every effort to improve the quality of these transcripts and would welcome any voluntary offers to proofread this and/or other interviews. If you want to help, please contact BEHP Secretary,  sue.malden@btinternet.com.

Anne Fleming
MARK COLVIN It's Friday the 21st of April 2017 and this is interview number six 9 8 with and following the interviews for the British entertainment history project.
SPEAKER: M3
Very nice to see you on and what we'd like to do is stop right at the very beginning. We'd like to talk right through your life and your work in the world of archives and other things in film. OK. But let's start at the very beginning where abouts Were you born.
SPEAKER: F2
I was born on a farm called Old Montrose four miles outside Montrose. My. I was born on the 12th of August 1944. And I went to school in Montrose and I followed that by going to university in Edinburgh. And while in Edinburgh I suppose my already already had an interest in film because movies were just about the only entertainment to be had and mantra it was as you can imagine. So I was a member of the Film Society at University and from there worked for the Edinburgh Film Festival in school and university vocations. And then that took me through to a certain point where I decided I had to get a serious job. I kind of spent a year teaching English as a foreign language in Sicily and around about the beginning of 1970 I thought I can't go on just doing odds and ends all my life I have to. So I applied for anything at all that mentioned the word film and that job was a job at the Imperial War Museum interesting.
SPEAKER: M1
And what was your discipline in the form of a degree. I did the English language and literature. Which I mean enormous degree in that subject in.
SPEAKER: F2
Scottish universities while in and at Edinburgh. If you do English literature and language you have to do a first year history degree which is the whole of the whole of British history starting with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and. Carrying on from there. And that was because the professor at the time really felt very strongly that despite the the concentration in the 60s on textual analysis that unless you had some concept of the background in which books were written you would not fully understand them. And I have to say I agree with that. I'm always very grateful for having had that solid backing in history. And it also stood me in very good stead a little later.
SPEAKER: M3
Absolutely. So how did you find out about the post at the Imperial War Museum. Do you remember.
SPEAKER: F2
Oh yes. I was on the train going back to Edinburgh from home after Christmas. And the jobs were advertised in either the observer or the Sunday Times I can't remember which at this point might have been either. And I looked at this and I thought well I'm not qualified for this but I might as well practice filling in a job application. So I I did. I filled in the job application which was for. The post of keeper of information retrieval. And the job was a cataloguing job. And the idea was that information retrieval would catalogue not just film but the entire holdings of the war museum from ammunition through to aeroplanes tanks and films documents books you name it. It would cover everything and we'd become eventually a computerized database. So I was entirely unqualified. However I did get an interview. I don't know quite how I didn't get the job but Franklin invited me. Noble Franklin who was the director at the time wrote me a letter afterwards. Because everything went through the Civil Service Commission at the time. So my letter of rejection came from the Civil Service Commissioners. I had a follow up letter from Franklin saying that while I didn't get that job they had liked my interview and there were two more jobs coming up. Which he thought I might be interested in. And that. He asked me to look out for them. So I did and I then applied for both the jobs that came up because one was in cataloguing film and the other was in film programming. And since I'd been working at the Edinburgh Film Festival and involved to a certain degree in programming I thought either would be interesting. And I got the film programming job and do you remember who was on the board for that.
SPEAKER: M1
Interview presumably the second interview. Yes. Well Noel Frankland Christopher Rose.
SPEAKER: F2
Clive cools tests and Frances Thorp and there was a fifth member who was who. Who was more involved in the the the side of computerisation but he didn't he didn't. He wasn't as involved in that interview as in the first interview shall we say. I can't remember his name and I never saw him again. So and it is a long time ago.
SPEAKER: M4
But it was still 1970 it was not it was not it was 1970 because that was an early time for computer. Yes it was.
SPEAKER: F2
And of course Christopher Rhoads was very active in that sphere. Deputy Director of the museum at the time.
SPEAKER: M1
Working closely with Franklin and was the Imperial War Museum one of the few museums that was using computers for cataloguing at that point or was it a general move amongst maybe ACM and other places.
SPEAKER: F2
I think that the ambition that the museum had at the time was actually quite unusual. The museum had a number of problems with computerization as I suspect many many places did at the time. And. Documentation wasn't it. Was certainly nothing like as detailed as it is today. And we had the museum had inherited documentation from different ministries that had deposited material with the museum over the years and that applied not just to film but also to other other collections like photographs and and indeed documents to a certain extent. And so the ambition to computerize was I think a little too. As it transpired but by the mid 70s it was becoming more serious. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M1
But you're in film programming. Yeah. And the imperial museum at that time and I'm not sure whether it still has will now have a cinema. And.
SPEAKER: F2
Tell us more about what you actually did in film programming because of a regular screenings there were regular screenings and we had effectively a monthly program and and we ran that program daily and over each weekend as well. It was non-stop. We had. We had to projectionists which meant that they could alternate weekends and have days off. We also had a small preview theatre which enabled us to screen films to be certain that they were. Well of a quality that you could put on a cinema screen as opposed to just watch on steam back shall we say. And. My job initially entailed watching just masses and masses of material to be able to identify film titles that were suitable for programming in the cinema because of course a lot of the museum's collection at the top well still is record film is unedited it's it's it's of a different category to the collections held by say the British Film Institute. However there was a great deal of film that was suitable for programming and I had the great privilege of having it as my job to watch film every day.
SPEAKER: M1
Was there a predecessor to you in this role or had you gone to this review thing.
SPEAKER: F2
Well Clive cool had been appointed as keeper of film programming. Well yes. Keeper of film programming. The year before and had decided he needed an assistant in this capacity because he had also set up a film loan scheme a 60 millimeter film loan scheme for universities and. To a certain extent further education colleges where they were running courses where material we held would be of interest. So the job had escalated. So I was appointed in 1970. Things changed quite rapidly after that. The museum structure went through a massive reorganization. At the time. The reason the reason that film programming was separate from what was the film section at the time ironically that's what it is now. It's a film section of the film section was part of a larger department called collections which included photographs printed books documents and film. In effectively all the non. Object material in the collection. And it was right. It had a single keeper and film programming was off to one side. In 71 noble Franklin made a major restructuring of the museum and he appointed heads to documents printed books photographs film and the person who had been keeper of collections became the keeper of a new department which was the keeper of sound records. And that was a complete innovation. There was no collection of sound records at the time. It was. Its ambition was very similar to the one that the present exercise has which was to interview as many people as possible. That had played a part in either the first or second world wars or indeed post wars post-war British conflicts and who might have something that they wouldn't have communicated. They wouldn't have written they wouldn't have written anything. The focus was on people who hadn't published and I think that slowly expanded. To take in film cameramen. There are a lot of film camera lens interviews at the at the war museum. So restructuring and I move from film programming into the Department of Film and the nature of the job. Changes. With that I still I'm still responsible for programming the cinema and I'm still responsible for film loans but I'm also responsible to some extent to interacting with users of the collection particularly television companies. So that's the beginning of my sort of.
SPEAKER: M1
Career at the War Museum and the film department or the films section part department had quite a number of other people in it and I was just wondering if you have any names of people who were there and I was as it restructured as you'd be built up a little bit. Well at the time the film section had two main people who coped.
SPEAKER: F2
With all users. John Sutter's who had been there pretty well since. I think about 1950. John had joined and Iris English. Both of them would have been well known to any one. It. Certainly would have been very well known to the makers of the Great War series and subsequently to the makers of The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten which are the two major programs that the museum was involved in through the 60s. If you. I mean the Great War was a breakthrough programme. For the museum. And from then on the demands on the collection grew with every year.
SPEAKER: M1
Peter Morley I think made that the life and times of little Mountbatten.
SPEAKER: F2
That's right. Yes that's right. And I think I think I think he worked with John terrain on that as well.
SPEAKER: F6
Yeah could be.
SPEAKER: M1
So it's nineteen seventy ish and you were restructured in this department and gradually moved in a sense away a little bit from programming into other areas. Yeah we eventually appointed someone else to be responsible for film programming and and for film loans and my responsibility became more.
SPEAKER: F2
More and more administrative. Shall we say and I became Clive's deputy in the department. But still privileged to be able to watch as much film as possible. So I got to know the collection really well. And. In many ways much luckier than I would have been had I been cataloguing the collection where the focus was. On you know you had you had to catalogue each film in great detail at the time that that was there. That was the focus for the first four or five years now and I missed a shot by shot in our social lives in that period in the early seventies.
SPEAKER: M2
You were in parallel with the British Film Institute National Film and Television Archive presumably.
SPEAKER: F2
I'm trying to remind myself who is actually head of the National Film Television knock over that time when I this is I think well when I started it was actually Ernest Lindgren. He was still alive and. In 1970. Of course he became ill very shortly afterwards. And I'm not sure of the exact dates but there was an interim interim period where Kevin Gough Yates was. Well if not curator he was acting curator and then David Francis was appointed and was very much the person in charge through most of my most of my time at the War Museum from then on and Clyde Jevons of course was also there at the time. And.
SPEAKER: M3
Really in the UK in terms of publicly funded film archives and they were just. Yeah I think at that time there was just the natural order of an archive and the Imperial Room. That's right. Yes. There were no reasonable.
SPEAKER: F2
There were no original film archives at the time. And sometime in the late 70s. The Scottish film archive was established. I think then under the auspices of the Scottish film council and David Bruce and others very much involved in that. I'm sure you've spoken to them as well or you will. And. The the the evolution of them. The evolution of the original film archives took place actually over quite a long period through the 80s. You had. You had Manchester the north west film archive and I think they were one of the. One of those one of the first English regional film archives maybe East Anglia around the same time.
SPEAKER: F5
Yes a little early I think. Yes.
SPEAKER: F2
David Cleveland of course very active in that whole movement and very important in that whole movement. And. But I enjoyed working with the regional film archives. I've never seen and I think there is more than enough work in the film archive world. For it to be shared across the countries. I mean I've always felt that and I and I have always felt that the BFI was slightly imperialistic. In its attitudes and I personally tried not to not to be like that and to encourage the original film archives as much as I could.
SPEAKER: M1
I think there's an argument about provenance as well and and and calculating absolutely and regional knowledge to regional knowledge. Yes it's not necessarily connected to London. It's not me not at all. Which is also a healthy thing. So your job was evolving in the Imperial War Museum. Yeah. And. At some point you made a move from there.
SPEAKER: F5
Oh that was it. It took 20 years 20 years. I'm not in that period. I mean I worked on the World War I World time.
SPEAKER: F2
You know secret history or all sorts of programs and that I was directly involved with assisting in the research. So. And also I eventually became keeper of the. Department of film. Because Clive had moved upwards and onwards.
SPEAKER: M3
Tell us more about that because Clive was very much part of the film department.
SPEAKER: F5
Oh yeah. I was keeper of the film department.
SPEAKER: F2
I was his deputy throughout that for most of that period but now I think it was around nineteen eighty four eighty five. And I became keeper and was keeper for the last five years of my time at the War Museum. Clive at that point was involved in overseeing photographs as well as film and and sound records as well. There was an evolution if you like in his responsibilities and he was also very engaged at that point in the first first restructuring of the. And the galleries of the museum where film for the first time became it became possible to use film on a touch screen basis and. The galleries were re opened and restructured in 1989 and Borg oversaw that as director. And it was Clive who was responsible for putting film very much into the galleries and it was there you could stand alongside of V tour of the one rocket. Touch the screen and see a takeoff a firing and from from the German collection alongside alongside alongside the exhibit. So.
SPEAKER: M3
During your time from the start of the department as a department and your involvement in television production and supporting producers and so on.
SPEAKER: M1
How much emphasis was there then on on earning income for the Imperial War Museum out of that endeavour. Was it something which was just sort of a nice thing to have.
SPEAKER: F5
No it was no no.
SPEAKER: F2
A lot of it was a lot of emphasis on it and the World at War was perhaps one of the most extraordinary deals done at the time. And the Department of film was not responsible for that. Christopher Rose was responsible for that and he negotiated a deal whereby we got the museum got a percentage of all earnings from sales overseas as well as a lump sum which was quite substantial at the time so the earnings continue to come in because there are still sales remarkably in different forms.
SPEAKER: M4
While most successful. Yes exactly measure series ever made. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F2
At this point and I think I think there was I think I think that Thames Television were quite surprised to be asked for that kind of deal they were used to an all out complete buyout for for world television rights. But then. Christopher decided that that's not what we would do this time round. I think because there was a feeling in the museum that the BBC had. Perhaps not agreed to the kind of deal that they should have. For the Great War series although quite a lot of money continued to come in from the Great War series. While I was still at the museum so.
SPEAKER: M1
That the Great Wall series seemed to get caught up a little bit it didn't get the exposure perhaps of repeated exposure that the world of war did.
SPEAKER: F2
I think that's true. I think there came a point where there was an interest in rereleasing it but the problem they had was clearing rights because after all not so much with the museum. But it wasn't just the Imperial War Museum. They had drawn material from all across the world. To go into the series and tracking that down was actually quite difficult and I think that I think that stopped the rerelease of the series.
SPEAKER: M1
And the world will seem to have a very special sort of contract as well because it seems to be almost perpetual that it operates in a similar fashion from the very from the get go speak until now. Indeed and I I don't know enough about how they negotiated rights with other archives but certainly the clearance was for as long as they there was an interest in the series and for us that was excellent because of that percentage deal that. Had been agreed. Apart from those two series or certainly the world of war when you were there there were other peaks of activity presumably. I imagine that some of the tens series was in Palestine. Yes. Can you remind us of some of those programs from memory that maybe stick out of your mind for good or bad reasons.
SPEAKER: F5
No. Palestine was another of those and was another of the programs that. Clearly the war museum was very very involved with but only in program one because after all.
SPEAKER: F2
There was very little footage and really shot in Israel in the later or indeed in Palestine through the Second World War. The main our main contribution was for the First World War and the Post the immediate post First World War settlements in Palestine. So we might not have been quite as involved as you think and what we did find was a growing interest in the. If you like the concept of the secret histories and with the revelations that. You know of Bletchley Park and all that kind of thing and now we didn't have any film of Bletchley Park. But we did have footage of all kinds of. Tech technical innovations that happened during and during the Second World War War. Both German and British. So. And those collections were of course record film rather than edited film and there was a huge and growing interest in exploring those collections. People like Brian Johnson. From the BBC made several series focusing on those developments weapon development various kinds.
SPEAKER: M1
Because the Imperial War Museum inherited a lot of windfall film. I think as Germany fell is that right. And I'm interested in the sort of locus of that content post-war because I think it was very much within the Imperial War Museum held by the British government. And then there may have been a changing set of politics as time went on. You say something about that. Well the the the German film collection.
SPEAKER: F2
Was very much very much part of the Allied Control commission's brief both the United States and Japan and Britain inherited German newsreels. German feature films that were regarded as being related to the Nazi government of Germany. There was a that the anime Property Act was passed in 1953 and that gave us gave the museum rather the right. To exploit the film. The German film on behalf of the Crown certainly within Britain. And I think within the Commonwealth nations all of whom have been part of course of the conflict. So. That footage was released on that basis. The German authorities increasingly through late 60s and early 70s and very much resented the fact that footage was being used in this way. Particularly I think since in the in the Kennedy period and a lot of material was returned to Germany from the States. I don't know the details of that. There's before my time if you like but I'm sure that I'm sure that others could fill you in and that if you're interested. But but certainly there were tensions about all of that. Interestingly the the gentleman who ran transit film Who. Controlled the the fact that the footage on behalf of the German government. Dr. Fata Hauser I believe his name was well he had worked under Goebbels during the Second World War. And our feelings about.
SPEAKER: F5
His relationship to the footage was not. Well you can imagine it's very difficult to have a completely completely objective response to someone claiming rights and material filmed by the Nazis.
SPEAKER: F2
Who who was involved at the period as a very young man obviously he did challenge the museum and there were several meetings at the German Embassy which Clive courthouse attended. And Clive upheld the the position as as as it stood under the enemy property act. The Army property Act had not been repealed. And as far as I know that is still the position I don't think it was ever changed. But but it does it. We don't we don't. The museum not then and not now does not release the material for world distribution but it does reclaim the right to allow it to be used within the United Kingdom without reference to to Germany or to transit from.
SPEAKER: M1
I don't know whether the situation has changed but I do know Leni Riefenstahl was tried for the will was one of those goals.
SPEAKER: M4
Oh yes oh yes oh yes. So is there something to be said about triumph of the world. Well again triumph of the will was one of is one of these films.
SPEAKER: F2
Which it is undoubtedly a great a very great film very great documentary film. And that's perhaps why it is also was quite so dangerous because it it does capture the spirit of the time and it does it does encapsulate the appeal if you like of National Socialism. And I myself did experience an occasion where I had arranged for a professor to view triumph of the will in our preview cinema. And unknown to me. One of our other other people had had arranged for two others whose names I don't know to join him. And. I was summoned from a viewing done on a steam back. I was summoned up by the projectionist to say that these two people were behaving slightly oddly. In the previous cinema. And they were sitting in the front. Hancock was sitting at the back. And they were sort of jumping up and saluting the screen. And at that moment you do you do wonder about the power of some material. We let the film run we'd said they could see it. But we. We we we tended to avoid that kind of private viewing. In future it is it it is you know it was it was very difficult because they did ask if they if there was a possibility of viewing atrocity footage immediately afterwards. To which the answer was No. Not not censorship simply most of that footage wasn't viewable. We didn't have viewing copies.
SPEAKER: M1
There must have been film records. Excuse me. In the Imperial War Museum though which were highly sensitive for a very long time indeed.
SPEAKER: M5
Maybe I don't. I'm making this up but I imagined that there would be films from the Second World War which might be kept slightly away from the rest of the collection. For all sorts of reasons. There may even be secret sensitivities about technology or whatever even from that time.
SPEAKER: F2
Well um oh well there were there were films that were marked and were held as secret for quite a long time. Post the Second World War and some of those came. Some of those were requested during the making of The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten. Again I wasn't involved directly in that but the stories the stories were recounted to me. One of these one of that one of the. One of the things that Mountbatten was involved with was the the whole. The whole business of D-Day and combined operations and some of the special special equipment that was developed for the beach landings. Some of these were experimental and didn't really work terribly well. There was one called the Grand Prix Jan drum or the great pan Gendron. I can't remember which it was a a giant sort of Catherine wheel fired on rockets that ran up the beach and it was going to it was supposedly going to clear everything. In its wake. Except of course it was completely uncontrollable completely uncontrollable and then turned on the cameraman turned on small dogs yapping on the beach when they were testing it and then that this little piece of equipment. We were told by the man from the Ministry of Defence who came down to view the footage before it could be released. They said no no we can't release that. Really. So it was reported to Mountbatten. He said yes I'll stick to that.
SPEAKER: F5
And it was released and used in the life and times because it's hugely entertaining sequence when you obviously have seen it. I had great fun.
SPEAKER: M1
Are there other things besides. Yeah. More and more of those. Come out. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M5
Now as far as the department was concerned at some point there were people joining. That's Paul Sargent and others and I wondered if we could talk a little bit about that and indeed about Taylor Downing I imagine arriving at some point within the department and because the nature of our discussion it's probably worth exploring what happened there.
SPEAKER: F2
OK. Well. I guess as time went on and people who had been in post retired. And new people came in to take over the production library production office. The production office at the museum and Paul Sargent was the second of those and and he stayed for as you know for I think 30 odd years. So it is was it his was a good appointment. Jane fish was also appointed in that period and she she's of course still with the museum. And have been extremely important in as the public face of the museum's film department throughout that period throughout the late 80s 90s really late 80s early and completely through the 90s and up to 2010 2011. And Taylor at some point Taylor arrived. Well Taylor arrived as a consequence of my being seconded to UNESCO's again this is thanks to Christopher Rhoads who had built up a relationship with Jordan. And the idea was that we would establish a film archive or a television archive at very least at J TV. In Jordan and that I should go out there. And offer advice on how this should be done. So I spent. Something like eight months. In Jordan. In nineteen seventy six. And as a result of that the museum earned quite a lot of money because they were being paid for releasing me from my from my duties. And as a result of that we could employ a film catalogue to catalogue a lot of the amateur film that I had been acquiring but unable to catalog because you can't do everything. And so Taylor was a tailor was employed initially to catalog our holdings of amateur film. And he spent six or seven months with the museum and the money ran out. His contract came to an end and he almost. Well about three months after that he was employed by Thames Television on the series Palestine and I'll let him tell you about that.
SPEAKER: M1
We discussed it another year.
SPEAKER: M6
Now you you Clive gold has moved on.
SPEAKER: M5
Oh yeah so to speak. You are a keeper of film and at some point you decided that or maybe someone came and knocked on your door and said We'd like you to move. Potentially. Tell us about how you moved away from your museum and some of that circumstance.
SPEAKER: F2
Well um I had at that point I'd been at the War Museum for 20 years and I had a feeling that if I didn't make a move quite soon I'd probably be there to the end of my working career and I wasn't sure that's what I wanted to do. I'd had a very very hard time at the War Museum I'd been very lucky. Because as you heard I had had had time in Jordan. I traveled a lot. I know I've been a I've been very fortunate but I felt there must be more. There's more out there. And at that point David Francis and Michelle Snape issue was then both both left the BFI. And that meant there were two vacancies or apparent vacancies within the organisation. David Francis. Was replaced by Clive Jevons eventually. And about a year after that Clyde was enabled to advertise the deputy curator ship and I applied for that. Clyde had said you know if you could think about you could think about applying. So I thought about it and thought yes I was probably something I should do. I didn't I wasn't sure I would get that job. To be perfectly honest but but certainly interested me.
SPEAKER: M3
Very good.
SPEAKER: M5
We'll explore your time in the BFI in a moment. But before we do that fear is an organisation which was established in the 1950s and I think maybe.
SPEAKER: F5
No no no no no no. 1930s 1930s I beg your pardon.
SPEAKER: M6
I've got that wrong completely.
SPEAKER: M1
Now your relationship with theft you must have while you were in a bureau or museum started to attend meetings. Yes.
SPEAKER: F1
Well because it either remains a full member was it. No not initially. Indeed it wasn't a member of total in the in the sixties. It. It made application I think the first the first contacts were made through Christopher Rhodes. In fact in the probably late 60s.
SPEAKER: F2
Then then Clive became keeper of the Department of film. And when that happened in fact the archive the film archive which had always existed as it as it were been been in existence since 1917 effectively. The film archive suddenly became eligible because it had some in it existed as an independent entity within the museum. It wasn't part of a larger conglomerate conglomeration of artefacts. And that's one of the the tenets that fear has as its as its or it did have it as a as a proviso for entry. Initially we didn't have we were not full members and we were a I think it was Clive who took the museum into full membership of Ophir. Clive and I. Alternated we never attended at the same time we alternated in attending fear. I think my first my first fear was in Rapalo in Italy. And I think Clive suggested I should attend that partly because the main language would be Italian.
SPEAKER: F1
And but actually the main languages were French and English as always. So from then on I as I say I alternated with with my.
SPEAKER: M3
The profession of film archivist. I would just want to reflect on this slightly because there are those around who say well there aren't there aren't many qualifications for this. But it is definitely a profession. And there's a tension isn't there or there has been it seems to me between those who are keepers of film and those who are museum artifact curators because of this different set of disciplines and.
SPEAKER: M1
V.F. is one of those big organisations which one can hook them and hang one's hat on as a film art with saying yes one day in that there aren't many organisations because a rare occupation really film archivist it is. Although it has of course grown over the years there are more film archives around the world than there were.
SPEAKER: F2
Many of them may not be dealing anymore in celluloid but they are dealing in moving images and film is now I think expanded to cover the whole range of moving images whether they be digital or video or celluloid. And. The old fashioned. The old fashioned sprocket based. Stuff.
SPEAKER: M1
For a moment without being too spiky. I'd like to explore this relationship between museum curators and film archivists.
SPEAKER: F2
I suppose you mean that museum curators focus on the original and with film. If most film not all. Has a negative and the negative is not screened you have to and it is by definition. You make multiple copies so that you can distribute it. So of course there is no single one museum object. So what are we talking about. What is a film restoration. All these questions are those that need to be asked and I'm not sure that it's easy to answer them. It never has been. But as long as you can retain an original negatives. If you are lucky enough to have one. And a print that is contemporary to the time the film was produced. You are. You have a fighting chance of producing another copy that will be close to what the film looked like on the screen. Originally it's only a fighting chance and it can never be exact. No two copies are identical. We all know that. A digital technology could of course have changed all that. And. But even digital not even digital technology has its problems. It can clean film sometimes it cleans it too much in my view it doesn't look like film anymore. I mean these these are subjective judgments that I'm making of course. But they are often shared by the filmmakers. When you talk to them about what they see on the screen. And it's interesting that and certainly until very recently some of the big Hollywood studios were taking digital material even things that originated digitally digitally. Back to film for that for their master material. And I find all that quite interesting even although that things are being distributed as DVD. Often the original is still held on celluloid and I know that still the war museum has its original collections. And I know that I know that the BFI espouses film forever. So so in a way a film archivist is always the keeper of.
SPEAKER: M3
Art. As an intellectual property rather than being an artifact.
SPEAKER: M1
Put a label on and say that this shelf you can.
SPEAKER: F2
You can never put a label on it and say it on that on the shelf forever and you can try to conserve those originals for as long as possible and by duplication protect originals from being trashed because we know that film projection is a tricky business and it's easy to damage it. It's a delicate material. You can put a scratch a scratch through a piece of celluloid all too easily. No doubt about that. And you can you can completely screw up the sound as well. Soundtracks are vulnerable to. And so all of that applies. So keeping your original conserving your original is something that. I think we've always been about. And. Lingering. And. And that goes for the early film conservationists at the War Museum as well. They realize that nitrate was what was vulnerable and began to talk to the government chemist. And Kodak. About what you do about all of that. And as a result we got advice that was perhaps not the best because the first copies of the Battle of the Somme were on diversity. Not not very helpful but the original was kept out of the original. The only original we had was camp.
SPEAKER: F5
And from that original recently there has been a deep restoration fires digital restoration editing lots more information in the picture.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes. No. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F7
I think I think the information was always in the picture. But you had to be looking at it slowly on a steam back to catch it. Now you can see it on the big screen and it comes through clear.
SPEAKER: F5
Yeah you're thinking of the the attack sequence. Where do you see that the figures running and falling. Yeah. Which is a genuine attack on the first day of the battle of the Somme.
SPEAKER: M1
Yeah. And then there was a large column of troops coming down the track. Yeah it could be because it was washed out. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Phil. Yeah. Rollback has been. Which is a marvellous thing. So we've talked a little bit about fear. And we have is one of the few organisations that glues together internationally film archivists who all have similar issues problems and indeed and charity.
SPEAKER: F1
There is a there are fear isn't the only organisation. There is. Of course in the States they have their own. Army. To.
SPEAKER: F2
Meet every year. And in the Southeast Pacific you have. It has a very very odd quote. It has a very awkward set of initials and. C up. Can you remember.
SPEAKER: F5
Can anyone remember what they stand for. I can't recite south southeast east Asian archival anyway that has become that has become increasingly important for for people in Southeast Asia. And I think and one one has to remember that some of the new archives are in that in that region Malaysia Thailand all these places now have their own film archives. And it's really quite exciting because these are new industries new well not exactly new industries but it's a new it's a new interest in conserving their film culture and in those climates and those very very difficult. Yes. Yes very difficult content.
SPEAKER: M1
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.
SPEAKER: M7
You've moved to the BFI after the BFI and remind us of the days of that movie that was 1990.
SPEAKER: F7
Right. September 1990 actually I moved to the BFI on September the 3rd 1990. The day war broke out.
SPEAKER: F5
I is that.
SPEAKER: M1
And as you moved away from Imperial War Museum you came to be in touch with all sorts of different disciplines and film record and and feature films and so on which were greater in quantity than you'd had.
SPEAKER: F5
Yes. I was a different scale of action.
SPEAKER: F1
Although I think the size of the war Museum's collection is often underestimated. But the scale of the BFI is collection is is it strips. Certainly. Anything else in the country.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah.
SPEAKER: F5
Did you find this challenging in the set extremely challenging steep learning curve a very steep a very steep learning curve on and on many many different levels. And it was a much bigger organized and much bigger organization and I don't just mean the BFI as a whole.
SPEAKER: F2
I mean the archive and the archive staff were much much bigger and the whole of the department the war museum. When I left. Was about thirty five people including those that their outstations at Hays were the nitrate was stored and Duck's food for the safety film store. By that time. So. I had to I had I had to readjust my thinking. You can know individually of everyone in a 30 35 person department. And. And be able to judge their abilities and capacities quite accurately. Much harder when you come into something. I mean the staff at Stephen Street. Must've been around 30. And of course the staff at Burton stand was another hundred people. And always did. And I suppose as well.
SPEAKER: F5
Well I asked Aston Clinton by that time was all I had had made the transfer. All right. It's 87 I think that everyone moved to from Ashton Clinton to Burke instead. And the nitrate. By that time was it Gaetan.
SPEAKER: F6
Not not asked Clinton that much I can tell you.
SPEAKER: M1
And so there's a challenge in a way of being a split site as well. All of these w were split cited.
SPEAKER: F5
Yes. But a much much bigger scale a much bigger scale.
SPEAKER: F2
Yeah. And that is always a challenge. Gaetan was very isolated and. In the sense that. You know it's all so quite a long haul up to Warwickshire. Burke homestead. One one could get to very easily so. And one had to I mean we met. We used to our departmental meetings were always a backroom set. So everyone all department section heads went up to a backroom start regularly. And focused on and focused on getting to know people out there and understanding how the site worked because of course it wasn't just it wasn't just the archive that had material Burke and Stan. Doc the whole the whole printed books did as well.
SPEAKER: F5
David I'm looking at you at this moment. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M9
We had lots of paper collections. Yes. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F7
And materials and posters of posters and stills as well designs posters and designs as well. And of course they weren't formally part of the archive pushes and stills were not part of the archive.
SPEAKER: F2
They were a separate department at the time. So we we we coexisted. And the person in charge of the Centre had responsibility for the safekeeping of those collections in terms of keeping the the overall. Fabric of the building capable of maintaining even temperatures and appropriate storage.
SPEAKER: M1
Throughout remind us nineteen ninety and I'm forgetting the chronology of directorships year five. It was this Tony Smith time or the end. Or was it now Wolf it was now Wilf Stephenson Wilf had already taken over from from Tony.
SPEAKER: F7
Yes wealth was wealth was there from 1990 to nineteen ninety seven not 98. Well he certainly he certainly was there to the end of 97 I think. I think that's when Will left. And John Woodward was appointed. So John Weaver was appointed. And.
SPEAKER: F6
Was at the museum throughout ninety eight. Then John Tuchman. Yeah yeah.
SPEAKER: F5
I think I wouldn't. I could not tell you exact dates of. That.
SPEAKER: M7
It was it was a very fast moving time chore and quite challenged financially. I think within the BFI I think I'm summarizing now. But yeah. Tony Smith had been quite successful in raising funds of various sorts.
SPEAKER: M2
And then I think the government was probably not helping the BFI as much as it might have done.
SPEAKER: F7
Were there were a lot there were a lot of very challenging times. And as a result of that. I think the 1990s was a period where we seemed to be in a it felt as if we were in a state of constant restructuring. And that's how I would describe how it felt coming from what. Looking back on it now at the war museum would be a very stable environment. In 1990 the BFI things seemed to be in constant flux and.
SPEAKER: F5
Trying to maintain and trying to maintain stability within a department and make people feel that they could get on with their work and weren't going to be constantly challenged about whether or not they still had a job the next day was actually very difficult. And because I was deputy and in charge of budgets. And drawing up budgets. And.
SPEAKER: F7
Including staff salary that had to be taken into account the overall picture. I was very aware of that. And it was a very I mean that was a difficult decade for the BFI. I hope things are better now.
SPEAKER: M7
But you're also facing the challenge presumably of the whole question of how computerization had moved on or was moving on and where it was all going. Yeah. And the legacy systems that you might have had before. I wonder if you'd like to say something about that because film or graphic information and computers it has had an additional difficult path it has made the film a graphic information was held on swift and like as was most of the material about photographs such as it was and and posters and designs such as the information was it was on swift and.
SPEAKER: F8
A cover printed books as well I believe a library did it.
SPEAKER: M8
No no nothing at all. No we we were late into that.
SPEAKER: M9
There was an off the shelf system right. Oh yeah.
SPEAKER: F5
But for the technical side we had a separate system which was simply called technical records. Right. Which was Oracle based. As a you know talking about that under the basis in which everything was constructed and it was very much it was capable of more complexity to be honest than sift. And was extraordinarily useful to us because of the multiple copies we held of just about every film in the collection not just in terms of legs but in terms of dupe nags. Fine grained multiple prints some prints of complete some prints that were not complete and all the footages could be listed separately. And it was possible to track any individual item.
SPEAKER: F8
Real or film and know as much as possible about it. Without that. It. It was really difficult to provide access. You didn't know which copy was the copy that you could safely release into the world without damaging something. I don't think that's something that's easily understood. About the BFI collection at the time which is that you couldn't just take a film off the shelf and say Here you are. We did we did have identified viewing copies and for that for that was easy you could just take the viewing copy off. Let people have it. Not a problem where you have multiple copies. And the technical selection hasn't been made. You don't know what you might be using to print from from in future. So you had to look at everything you held. If suddenly something was requested that hadn't been looked at before you know and that could be a tiny newsreel item.
SPEAKER: M7
And it's highly work intensive.
SPEAKER: F5
It's highly worked so you do need bodies on a lot of bodies on seats and these people need skills as well. Absolutely.
SPEAKER: F9
They need technical skills which actually aren't that common. And one of the things that we.
SPEAKER: F5
As a result of all this and as a result much that went on through the early half of the 90s and the BFI launched its heritage Lottery Fund bid which was a very major bid. It meant I believe that there already had been a bid for the Museum of the Moving Image. This was a bid that encapsulated new build for the the institute and it included. In the new bill for the institute. A collection management plan for the archive which I was put in charge of drawing up. And. That sounds easy. Collection Management is not easy as we all know. And we. We put it in what was actually quite a detailed.
SPEAKER: F7
Collection Management bid which in itself amounted to about 20 million. Most of that being staff costs because it was if. We were looking at initially a five year project but with staff trained to take Technical Selection to identify materials. To look at acquisitions that had not been examined. There was a huge a huge expansion of staff. At Burke instead on the back of the bed. And also a huge expansion of cataloguing staff.
SPEAKER: F3
At Stephen Street. That part that part of the bid was the Muslim was part of the BFI bit that got money 19 million was.
SPEAKER: F7
19 million and total was allocated. But of course you had to find within that 19 million you had 5 million of match funding so in other words you were getting thirteen point five million. Assuming that you could raise five million. Alongside it. Which was challenging.
SPEAKER: F3
Shall we say. Eventually. Get came through with. Not not a gift of five million but he agreed that. As moneys were required he would really release the match funding required.
SPEAKER: F7
Over over the entire period. And without him I'm not sure that we could have done it. Because raising that kind of money isn't easy at any time and it certainly wasn't easy in the late 90s.
SPEAKER: M7
I wonder if we could reflect for a moment because that just shows this schism in Britain really about the treatment of moving image as against say text where for instance the British Library and the six copyright library is not either a six hour supported or not always as much as they'd like to be but the millions and millions and millions we seem to spend on public libraries on the British Library on Boston Spa the Scottish National Library and and so on central IBM and even though we support Dublin with the Copyright Act. What's your feeling about that. Do you think legal deposit is something which should have come in a long time ago. Or is it something you know with that would have come cataloguing perhaps an omen of an ISBN.
SPEAKER: F9
You know yes.
SPEAKER: F5
I think I think the legal deposit is something that the BFI has argued for over many years and it would indeed have been an extremely helpful it would be extremely helpful because it would mean that you got a copy of a film more or less intact instead of scooping up the remains from laboratories or companies that were folding or things that had been round the distribution track and therefore were shocked frankly when they get to you. So legal deposit would make an enormous difference and actually would be would enable money to be saved or would have enabled money to be saved. Perhaps if we're talking digital cinema packages it's perhaps less relevant these days but I think still relevant and I think it would enable things to be run more economically than. If you think about what the BFI had to do through the 80s when I wasn't there. But also the 90s you had rank moving or nitrate putting under tarpaulin in the yard and then saying would somebody come and like to collect it. I mean that is what happened because they were suddenly told they couldn't store nitrate in those conditions. And that happened with many lamps. But by that time you know you don't know quite what you're getting and it's not detailed and you're just picking material up. Other material comes from ships.
SPEAKER: M10
You know it's industrial archaeology. Yeah it really is. And it shows that way.
SPEAKER: F5
Exactly. And it shouldn't be that way but it has been for the bulk of the the second half of the 20th century and it's probably continuing to grow. I'm sure. I'm sure that's the case. Yeah. And we're talking in the main about film at this moment but then we talk about television as that was part of the.
SPEAKER: M7
Of your responsibilities as well of course it is in the National Film and Television archives as it was. That was another set of issues and problems and relationships.
SPEAKER: F9
Yes. Well as you probably have heard from Clyde already. Clyde Jevons who was curator throughout most of my time at the BFI and. We had we had an agreement with the BBC where we we we recorded on super.
SPEAKER: F7
VHS viewing copies because the BBC was not able to provide a viewing facility. So the BFI took on that responsibility and recorded live off air Super VHS copies plus a VHS for viewing purposes. And it was simply for viewing nothing more simply for access. For the for the for the ITV and Channel 4. Excuse me for ITV and Channel 4.
SPEAKER: F5
We were recording on two one inch tape initially and and we were recording there for a viewing copy on VHS and a master copy on one inch for preservation because with certainly with ITV the experience had been that as companies cease to exist Ten's replaced by Central whatever whatever and you could not ensure you could not ensure that the material produced under that company would survive.
SPEAKER: F7
So inevitably we had to be selective on those.
SPEAKER: F10
So we were selecting documentaries comedies actually soaps a lot of soaps were recorded because key to ITV as a whole being at the time. And then later we took in from the BBC masses of 2 inch tape which we were responsible for.
SPEAKER: F5
Eventually transferring to digital. I'm sure somebody now has the problem of transferring it to something else. But but tape was a real problem because the way formats changed and changed very quickly. Brian Jenkinson who was a video engineer at the time said if it goes on like this you know they'll be changing formats halfway through making a program. I probably did do that. So so tape that videotape was it was a headache in itself and just recording television was there was a was a complete. It was an all it was a 24 hour 24 hour exercise. Steve Bryant who was in overall charge of that you should interview him to one of these days and. He will tell you a great deal more about that.
SPEAKER: F7
But does his decision to go to for did you beat her. It didn't seem to be any other option at the time. It seemed to be the only way to go. And of course ten years later that was a mistake wasn't it. Or was it. Well I don't know.
SPEAKER: M11
I think it was not a bad mistake. You know there will be worse mistakes and I think did you beat the blow be transferred eventually. Yeah I think you will break down just like any other tapes cause it will.
SPEAKER: M12
But for the time being those people are capturing from that format quite successfully but they're not making the machines anymore. That's. Exactly. That's a huge challenge. The way the industry moves on and doesn't really support legacy formats very well.
SPEAKER: F5
Well it can't. Really. I mean. Well well the thing thing is that that becomes the responsibility of the archives. Who do I mean to to to transfer the two inch tapes.
SPEAKER: F7
We had to maintain two inch machines to do the transfer from two inch to digital beta hmm. And that was another major part of the expenditure under the HLS.
SPEAKER: M7
Fund. No of course. Yeah. All of those really old machines. Very. More difficult to keep going at moment.
SPEAKER: M11
So we're at the BFI and we have various exciting things happening there during your time and you were based as much a burka because of the circumstance rather. Well. At the end. I was as you probably.
SPEAKER: F9
Well in the restructuring of nine nineteen ninety six I think it was Clive Clyde. Clyde Clyde Jevons.
SPEAKER: F7
Decided that his time should end as it were. And he didn't leave until the I think the spring of ninety seven. But. At that point he left the BFI. That left myself and Henning's school and said I was based at Stephen Street. In the autumn of that year or I think September of that year there were interviews for the curator ship. I applied for that. And. I was appointed curator in September ninety seven will Stevenson was at that point still in charge of the BFI. He was replaced I think. In the early part of. 98 John Woodward came in as director. He undertook another major restructuring. And over the then heads of department.
SPEAKER: F5
There were collection that there were several new heads hardships created almost like a return to the old division. I suppose the Caroline Ellis became head of collections. I remained as curator and head of preservation heading school lost his job. I mean there were extraordinary movements throughout that. Period. And I move to work instead. I think in.
SPEAKER: F7
Some time at the end of 98 and I was at Bourke instead mainly throughout 99 and 2000 because by then the each life project was very much underway. And you're right of course. My focus was very much on that and overseeing that as far as I could and. It was a demanding time.
SPEAKER: M12
And the restructuring of by and large for it were about cost cutting.
SPEAKER: F5
I mention that as much as anything they were. Yes. Yes. Richard I. They couldn't. And the restructurings were mainly about losing jobs. A lot of people lost their jobs and or I mean parts parts of the. Parts of the BFI ceased to exist. The photographic. Their ability to make photographic prints within the BFI went in the restructuring of 96 97. And.
SPEAKER: F8
People who lost their jobs lost those jobs actually transferred into the film laboratories because we needed additional people there because of the work that was being generated through the lottery fund. But that was because of lottery money. Without that we'd have these people would have lost their jobs completely and the laboratories.
SPEAKER: M3
Was this Henderson's or another laboratory.
SPEAKER: F5
No sir. They are back instead.
SPEAKER: M10
There was a one in a film and there still is a rivalry. Okay. Very good. And there should be two.
SPEAKER: M3
And so at some point you came to leave the BFI in 2000.
SPEAKER: F8
I left the BFI. I left. Really because I think my position was becoming. More and more difficult more actually almost untenable. You can't have several different heads wagging wagging one tail and then I thought it was time it was time to go. I left at the end of 2000 I'd completed just over 10 years and you were planning to do what after that.
SPEAKER: M10
I'm only asking because I know what you do for a short time. I wasn't planning to work for the FEC money.
SPEAKER: F5
But wonderfully happened that I could because there was this fantastic again funded funded project. And you approached me and asked if I would assist as head of content in putting together the material for mass media online. And the rest.
SPEAKER: M12
Well yes. The rest is a sort of history and there is another history to be explored there. Yeah. What is that. Yeah. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F5
I mean how's it going. Yeah well I don't know if you've noticed and but there is you. You remember that one of the things we did was talk to Stanley name I was going to raise. Yes. Well we we we took a lot of his material. You know this is Stanley for Stanley Forman formerly of Plato film and then EDT and Stanley allowed us to copy large amounts of his material and make it accessible online for a higher and further education. And it's a wonderful collection. I have noticed quite recently that. That material is now held the whole of the TV collection it is of course now with the BFI which is entirely appropriate. But I have noticed that it is to be made accessible as a set of. I'm not sure whether it's downloads or digital packages. It's not at all clear. I've only seen an advert for it but there is it is it is apparently being released in several volumes with different headings appropriate to different sections of material he has. So it doesn't appear to be the BFI themselves who are doing this but they're doing it in collaboration with an outside organisation. After the interview is over I will show you there.
SPEAKER: M12
Then I think I know who it is. Yeah. Yeah. You. You're aware we can go through the fine details later.
SPEAKER: F5
OK then I think I think it's fascinating that the material is being made available in much the same way as we were making it available quite back in 2005.
SPEAKER: M12
Well I think yes we in 2000 2001 we were some of the earliest in on online delivery of. And in a way your career had gone from film at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Yeah. I'm programming right through most of the technological changes until we were encoding.
SPEAKER: M11
Security coding Yeah I'm getting ready with metadata for online delivery that's which really is where most archivists want to see content without it being jeopardized in any way shape or form. Exactly. Provide maximum that is I see in magazines damage.
SPEAKER: M12
Yeah exactly yeah. Maximum access. Standard. Yeah you've summed it up Murray. So we haven't quite achieved that yet.
SPEAKER: F5
I know that it is still a lot easier now than it once was. There's no doubt about that. It's just easier to provide access without damaging originals than it ever was. And for that we have to thank digital technology. Now. That brings with it its own problems completely. So would if you were looking now has you're doing and seeing content being delivered online and so on and looking at the archive world the film archive world and television archive work for that matter across the piece so to speak.
SPEAKER: M7
What do you think are the big challenges ahead.
SPEAKER: F8
Well I think I think actually we just we just identified it. Digital content is now held in many many many different servers all over the world and it is enormously vulnerable despite being held in many different places because I feel that the vulnerability of our own home computers to cyber attack is one thing.
SPEAKER: F10
But we've seen Sony Sony Columbia being hacked into by Korea by North Korea. And they had severe problems because of that. Down to one of their films having featured the North Korean leader as a great leader. But if you think about the vulnerability of footage that is held of material let's say moving images held in digital formats digital formats are very very vulnerable to all kinds of attack. We have switched from. Is not just technological change and that's ongoing obviously. So and. Trend in constant migration from one format to another.
SPEAKER: F8
But even what you're holding again what you're holding your masters on is vulnerable to outside attack. You may ask who would want to attack a film archive or a moving image archive. Well I would think a lot of people might in the future. You can't really tell.
SPEAKER: M7
Well I think it's in the realm of the Defence Industries as a matter of fact to blitz countries to be able to lose our memory.
SPEAKER: M10
Yeah because that's what it is. One of their strategies. And we might have something meaningful you just had a clear destroy the culture of the country. If the press of a button here potentially Well I think that on that note don't be too. We had I think paid for the way I hope there's also hope. I'm absolutely that at least migration is possible and.
SPEAKER: F5
It is cheaper than it once was. Absolutely.
SPEAKER: M12
And I'm sure there's lots of ground we should have covered which we didn't cover but this has been very interesting very useful and thank you very much. There's a point to raise. I find might ask one question.
SPEAKER: M8
And that is simply that when you're at the War Museum where you are obliged to sign the Official Secrets Yes yes I assume that would be the case.
SPEAKER: M9
But I just wanted to clarify that. And my mistake.
SPEAKER: M8
We did contribute to sift database at the library but it was the journal holdings and write articles that were derived from those holdings that were held on on site that are so catalogue. Well it was temporary yes separate us.
SPEAKER: M9
So that was a fine. Excellent. Thank you. Well thank you very much. Want to know.