Over 100 years of fascinating historical film footage – including the first existing film of Northern Ireland, shot by the Lumière brothers in 1897 – will now be on view for the public at Ballymoney Museum with the launch of Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive (DFA).

Ballymoney Museum brings the total number of access sites of the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive to twenty. The DFA boasts a collection of over 70 hours of moving images spanning 100 years of Northern Ireland’s history. The archive covers a wide range of genres and subject-matter including drama, animation, documentaries, news, newsreels, wartime propaganda, amateur and actuality film, while much of the more recent footage focuses on the changing political landscape of the 1990s.

Other highlights of the collection include what is believed to be the only authentic filmed material of the Titanic, amateur human-interest footage from the BBC’s Super 8 Stories programme and a selection of rare television movies and episodes from the 1980s and 90s.

Local fans of Charlie McAfee will be pleased to see that the archive includes the popular BBC documentary ‘Charlie’s Last Film Show’ which was broadcast in 1997 and portrayed the last public showing of films by Charlie the previous year.

The Digital Film Archive (DFA) is an indispensable resource for teachers, students, historians and anyone with an interest in moving images. All footage is accessible via the computer research station at the museum, and visitors can navigate the archive using a variety of user-friendly search options. Those with specific research interests can search by keyword, while those with a more general interest can browse by category; footage is effectively grouped by date, genre, subject-matter and location. Museum staff are also able to assist visitors in their search.

In addition to promoting and supporting local television and feature film production, Northern Ireland Screen is committed to educating the community through the use of moving images. The DFA was launched in 2000 as part of the British Film Institute’s Millennium Project. Twelve years later, it continues to grow in terms of both collection size and public availability.

The Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive at Ballymoney Museum is FREE and open to the public. Opening hours are Monday-Thursday & Saturday 9am-5pm and Friday 9am-4.30pm.

A full list of sites where the DFA can be accessed is available here.

For more information on the DFA, including access to the online catalogue, visit www.digitalfilmarchive.net/dfa


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