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Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen (SDK)

Since its establishment in 1963, the Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen has indexed everything related to film history and technology, cinema and television. In its archive the Deutsche Kinemathek has some 12,000 German and foreign silent and sound films .

The Deutsche Kinemathek officially opened in February 1963. Its founding director was Gerhard Lamprecht who over the decades had meticulously put together an extensive collection of films, documents and equipment. The City State of Berlin acquired this collection and then handed it over to the new institution for its preservation and use.

Since its establishment, the Deutsche Kinemathek has indexed everything related to film history and technology, cinema and, to a certain extent, television: film prints as well as other items indispensable for research on film history, e.g. film programs, posters, drawings for set designs and costumes, photos, scripts, personal estates and other documents. The Deutsche Kinemathek had been a museum without an exhibition for years. Since September 2000 – as Filmmuseum Berlin – it has been able to present a part of its collections in the Permanent Exhibition. It invites visitors to make a journey, thematically and chronologically arranged, through German film history. Another main focus of the museum is the relationship between Berlin and Hollywood. Special exhibitions complete the program.

Today the Deutsche Kinemathek has some 12,000 German and foreign silent and sound films in its archive. Special emphases are avant-garde, experimental and documentary films. The archive has also made a name for itself by reconstructing important films; and its distribution department makes the films in its archive as well as productions from the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (dffb) available to non-commercial venues, e.g. to communal movie theatres, film clubs, adult education centres and universities. The other collections contain: over a million film stills, portraits or production photos, c. 30,000 scripts, 20,000 posters, 60,000 film programs, movie tickets, filmographic and biographic material, personal estates as well as projectors, cameras and other devices from the early years of cinema up until today. Drawings, designs and models testify to the development of set design in Germany from 1919 until the present. A special focus is also the collection on special effects, animation and fantasy films: animation cells, matte paintings, designs, props and miniatures - Mickey Mouse meets Spider-Man. The development from cinematography to digital cinema is particularly well illustrated in this collection.

A further major focus of the collections is its documentation of Germans from the film industry who were exiled in Hollywood. The Deutsche Kinemathek has what is probably the most comprehensive collection on this topic in the world, most notably the correspondence of the famous American agent Paul Kohner.

The Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin protects and preserves Marlene Dietrich’s huge estate which the Kinemathek acquired from the City State of Berlin in 1993. The collection is open to scientific research and international exhibitions.

The Deutsche Kinemathek documents its work in countless events. It regularly presents special exhibitions, and participates in international exhibitions on film history and other subjects related to the arts and cultural history. Since 1977 the Deutsche Kinemathek supervises the conception and organisation of the Retrospective section of the Berlin International Film Festival. It also holds historical tributes and colloquia. What is more, the Deutsche Kinemathek devotes itself to film literature, regularly publishing reference books, many of which have become standard works of film historiography.

Whenever possible, the staff of the Deutsche Kinemathek is pleased to provide information on film history and advice for drafting film programs and filmographies to scientific and media institutions, journalists and private researchers. Films can be looked at by appointment at the viewing table; documents on film history from a wide-range of collections can be viewed and evaluated on site in the reading room. Books, periodicals and microfilms are indexed in the catalogue of the Film Library which is open to the public.

Raising public awareness of the historical and cultural value of our audio-visual heritage is one of the missions of the newly created Television Museum which has celebrated its opening on May 31, 2006. The Television Museum completes the profile of the Filmhaus at Potsdamer Platz, making it a "house of moving images" unlike any other in Europe. The idea of the Museum is to establish a living forum for the past and present of German television in Berlin. Here the public is able to rediscover great moments of broadcasting history and to trace the divergent developments of the medium in East and West Germany. Topical debates on media policies are also conducted against the backdrop of broadcasting history.

Previous Special Exhibitions – "Fernsehen macht glücklich" (2002/2003), which explored whether television makes people happy; "Wo Karrieren beginnen" (2003), which focused on "Das Kleine Fernsehspiel", a ZDF program that has helped launch the careers of new directors throughout the world over the past forty years; and "Die Kommissarinnen" (2004/2005), which presented female police inspectors from German television series – have strongly confirmed the public’s great interest in topics related to broadcasting history: television now belongs in the museum.

The construction of the Television Museum is being financed by the German Lottery Foundation Berlin and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Television Museum’s development has also been backed by the Berlin Senate Department of Science, Research and Culture; and its construction, by the Berlin Senate Department of Urban Development. Veolia Water has committed itself to sponsoring the museum’s program until 2012. Other partners include: the public television networks ARD and ZDF, the Media Institution Berlin-Brandenburg (mabb) and the Directors’ Conference of the German State Regulatory Authorities for Broadcasting (DLM).

As a member of the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (fiaf), the Deutsche Kinemathek participates internationally in both exchanging experience and film prints. The Deutsches Filminstitut (German Film Institute – DIF), the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv (Federal Archive/Film Archive – Coblenz / Berlin) and the Kinemathek constitute the Deutscher Kinemathekverbund (Association of German Film Archives) which, for instance, discusses problems related to archiving German films.

Since 2001 the Deutsche Kinemathek is a member of the Netzwerk Mediatheken (Network of Media Archives), an organisation for major national archives, libraries, documentation offices, research facilities and museums, whose aim is to develop a central portal for AV media for both science and art.

 Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen