Saoirse Ronan is digitally transported into a century of Irish films to launch the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund – a major new initiative to secure the future of Ireland’s film heritage.

Tonight sees the launch of the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund and the unveiling of a promotional video that features Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan being digitally transported into some of the best loved moments from films being preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive including scenes from Once, My Left Foot and iconic scenes of documentary footage such as the arrival of JFK at Dublin Airport and the GAA All-Ireland Finals.

In the short film Saoirse makes a direct appeal to the public saying ‘The written word can be powerful and beautiful but films transport us to another place in a way that even the most evocative words never can… If we lose our films we lose that other place forever. The IFI Irish Film Archive urgently needs your support to save and preserve our film heritage.’

The films preserved by the IFI Irish Film Archive present a vivid and unparalleled portrait of the development of modern Ireland, as seen through the cameras of both amateur and professional filmmakers. The IFI collection spans over one hundred years of stories from everyday life to the great achievements of Ireland’s filmmakers on the global stage. Collectively this material tells Ireland’s cultural, social and political stories over the last century… as well as a record of Irish film culture. The work of the IFI Irish Film Archive is entering a new and exciting phase with the development of the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation and Research Centre on the campus of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Announcing the plans Kasandra O’Connell, Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive said ‘This exciting partnership will provide a long-term secure home for the Collection and allow us to create a Research Centre through which the use of digital technology will ensure the collections are more widely accessible for future generations. However, time is running out as our archive building in the historic IFI premises in Temple Bar has reached capacity. Critically, we cannot accept any more material, meaning that precious collections are in danger of being lost.’

The launch of the IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund comes at a time of unprecedented activity for the organisation. 2011 has seen it take part in major international collaborations with MoMA, Film Society of Lincoln Center and the New York Public Library as part of Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland’s year of Irish Arts in North America. The IFI Irish Film Archive has also been making available a growing series of DVD titles including Irish Destiny, Seoda, The O’Kalem Collection and the national bestseller GAA Hurling Gold 1948-1959. Those looking to explore the collection can also attend a free twice-weekly Archive at Lunchtime screening at the IFI.

The IFI Irish Film Archive Preservation Fund launches today with a target of €300,000 by Spring 2012. Donations will be accepted through or in person at the IFI in Temple Bar.

Saoirse Ronan’s short promotional film will be playing before each screening at the IFI as well as being shared online through, Facebook, and supporters’ websites.


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