About the PFA Film and Video Collection
PFA was conceived as an American version of the Cinémathèque Française in Paris—a center committed not only to exhibiting films under the best possible conditions, but also to increasing the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of cinema. The PFA collection serves as an educational resource for the UC Berkeley community as well as for scholars, teachers, film critics, filmmakers, and programmers from around the world. At the same time, PFA curators draw upon the collection for the film and video exhibition program.
PFA is home to the largest collection of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive gatherings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Eastern European and Central Asian productions, and international classics. American experimental pioneers such as Bruce Conner and Ant Farm share the shelves with international past masters Sergei Eisenstein and Kenji Mizoguchi at PFA’s off-site storage vault, which provides a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment for more than 14,000 films and videos.
In 2009, Film Arts Foundation (FAF) chose PFA to be the repository of its media archive, posters, and publications, and gave its historical papers to the Bancroft Library. Together these resources—accessible to researchers at UC Berkeley—document the work of filmmakers sponsored by Film Arts Foundation during its 32 years of activity and provide a unique record of Bay Area independent filmmaking.
PFA has always relied upon the kindness of donors to enrich its collection, through support for acquisitions, as well as gifts of films and videos. Distributors, filmmakers, fellow archives, and private collectors have all made significant contributions. Grant-funded preservation projects yield archival masters and new prints and videotapes, which ensure that works in the collection will survive for future generations.
Search the Film Collection online: More than 11,000 records describing cataloged holdings in PFA’s permanent film and video collection.