Fondazione Cineteca Italiana (FCI)
The Fondazione Cineteca Italiana was officially founded in Milan in 1947. Its first nucleus was a small stock of cinema masterpieces rescued from destruction in the Thirties and adventurously preserved until after World War 2 by a group of young cinéphiles and intellectuals among whom there were the future directors Luigi Comencini and Alberto Lattuada.
Constituted at the beginning as a private Association, it passed through many difficulties and vicissitudes (its activity had to stop in the period 1940-45) before obtaining the status of ‘foundation’ in 1996, by Regional decree. Recently it has been declared an O.n.l.u.s. (no-profit institution). The first Italian archive to be accepted as a FIAF associate in 1948, the Cineteca has been carrying out an unprecedented activity in favour of the preservation and evaluation of the film heritage, as well as the dissemination of the film culture both in Italy and abroad. It is supported by the Ministry of Culture through yearly subsidies and, to a smaller extent, by the regional, provincial and municipal authorities.
The Fondazione Cineteca Italiana has a stock of some 20,000 films from all over the world, from the origins of cinema until nowadays. A large section (roughly 60%) consists of nitrate cellulose films of such historical relevance that they were defined by an expert committee set up by FIAF as "one of the largest stock of European silent films".
The non-film collections consist of around 100,000 photos, 15,000 posters of the silent and sound cinema among which some thousands posters of milanese movie theatres dating back to the beginning of the 20th century; a collection of books (around 5,000) and magazines (yet to be catalogued, among which there are some rare specimens of the Twenties and Thirties); pre-cinema apparatus, optical devices, original Lumière cameras etc., collected as far back as in the Fifties and on display at a Film Museum regularly open to the public since 1985.
The FCI’s main activities can be summarised as follows:
- film preservation and restoration
- educational activities (projections for schools, lectures, guided tours at the Museo del Cinema)
- editorial activities (as the "Quaderni Fondazione Cineteca Italiana" series)
- exchange and loan of film to universities, festivals, various cultural institutions both in Italy and abroad, as well as film programming at its own film theatre.
After being housed for many years in different Milan cinemas, FCI has been offered a stable seat, since May 1999, at a multifunctional central area belonging to the Province of Milan, where film programs are carried out 5 days a week.
In 2000-2002 the FCI was the leader of the European project called "Urgent – Nitrate can’t wait", which received support by the EC within the ‘Raffaello’ programme.