The European film heritage is dispersed across Europe. Locating moving images is a complex, time consuming, and costly process. Language barriers and the scarcity of information opportunities are complicating the access to archival films in Europe. Since February 2007, the unique web gateway filmarchives online provides easy access to moving image collections from several European film archives. It allows the search throughout an increasing number of individual archival catalogues. Currently, about 20,000 film works are available, and the inventory is constantly growing. The focus of filmarchives online is on non-fiction material: documentary and educational films, newsreels, advertising films, scientific, industrial, travelogue, and sports films, as well as animation films.

filmarchives online aims at user groups ranging from the area of scientific research to the professional media and film production domain. Moving images can be searched for by title, content, filmographic information and physical characteristics. Search results provide information about existence and location of the materials as well as contact information to facilitate access to the moving image items. filmarchives online is the result of the MIDAS project (Moving Image Database for Access and Re-use of European Film Collections).

MIDAS initiated in January 2006 as a pilot project in the MEDIA Plus programme of the European Community. It is co-ordinated by the Deutsches Filminstitut and joins 18 institutions dedicated to collecting and preserving the European film heritage. The project partners contribute extracts from their local archive databases directly to the portal. Each participating institution continously enriches and improves its data independently. Thus, filmarchives online is emerging as a central point of reference for searching and locating archival moving image material in Europe.

filmarchives online features data of 18 European film archives: British Film Institute (London); Bundesarchiv/Filmarchiv (Berlin); Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique (Brussels); Cineteca del Comune di Bologna; La Cineteca del Friuli (Gemona); DEFA Stiftung (Berlin); Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Berlin); Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF e.V. (Frankfurt/Main); Fondazione Cineteca Italiana (Milano); IWF Knowledge and Media (Göttingen); LICHTSPIEL / Kinemathek Bern; Lietuvos Centrinis Valstybès Archyvas (Vilnius); Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchívum (Budapest); Národní Filmovy ́ Archiv (Prague); Nasjonalbiblioteket (Oslo); Nederlands Filmmuseum (Amsterdam); Slovenska kinoteka (Ljubljana); Tainiothiki tis Ellados (Athens).

We kindly invite you to a screening of highlights from the participating institutions on the topic of European cities in the 20th century: documentary and animated films from 1909 until 1978, giving insight in the life of big and smaller cities, showing the development of places as well as the mood in cities in different times – the compilation presents a wide spectrum of shortfilms stored in European archives.