Funds sought for Scottish Moving Image Archive

Martin Scorsese, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming and more back campaign.

by Jennie Kermode

Kelvin Hall, Glasgow - soon to be home to the Scottish Moving Image Archive.
Kelvin Hall, Glasgow - soon to be home to the Scottish Moving Image Archive. Photo: Rept0n1x, licensed under Creative Commons

The Scottish Moving Image Archive is getting ready to take a big step this year as it moves from its temporary base on a Hillington industrial estate to Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, where it will be housed in a purpose-built facility complete with a small cinema. In the final stages of fundraising for the move, it has won support from a host of industry celebrities, including Martin Scorsese, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming and Bill Paterson.

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese Photo: Georges Biard

The new facility is designed to make the archive, curated by the National Library of Scotland, easier for the public to access, and not just in terms of location. It will have enhanced research facilities and private viewing booths as well as a video wall where visitors can get a taste of what there is to discover. An exhibition space will prompt them to learn more about the history of Scotland's relationship with film and put it in context.

Scorsese has long been devoted to the preservation of cinematic history and was a founder member of the World Cinema Foundation. He's particularly vocal about the importance of keeping older film material where ordinary members of the public can see and engage with it, a subject which formed part of the plot of his 2011 hit Hugo. "Films shouldn’t be locked away and neglected in a vault somewhere. They need to be protected and preserved, but they also need to be seen, studied, and enjoyed," he said of the Scottish project.

Though the archive primarily consist of documentary material, old news broadcasts and preserved home movie footage, giving an insight into the country's history, it also includes a number of short fiction films and feature films. Many items within it are available for visitors to sample and make use of in their own creative work, helping to develop an ongoing cinematic conversation.

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