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Indiana University Libraries Film Archive

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Expansive Collection, Extraordinary Focus: A World of Knowledge On Film

The Indiana University Libraries Film Archive (IULFA) is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive academic film collections. The archive contains more than 71,700 items spanning nearly 80 years of film production, including many rare and last-remaining copies of influential 20th-century films. Its collections are curated, catalogued, and preserved by IU Libraries film specialists, ensuring not only that these films last for generations, but also that they be easily searchable and accessible, providing unlimited educational, cultural, and scholarly opportunities.


IULFA is a member of the distinguished International Federation of Film Archives, the leading association for film preservation. The IULFA collections are housed within the state-of-the-art Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF), which maintains a consistent temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a stable relative humidity of 30 percent. Within this environment, the treasures of this unique archive may be preserved for hundreds of years.


Our Collections

The IULFA collections represent an extensive range of genres and periods, from art house experiments to government-sponsored “social guidance” films, National Educational Television programs to gag reels, and turn-of-the-century Pathé Frères productions to iconic 1980s blockbusters. Among the collection’s gems are more than 48,000 educational and propaganda films; the 3,964-item Bradley Film Collection, representing many of the most important and influential actors and filmmakers of the 20th century; the Indiana University Archives collections of thousands of IU athletic game films and other motion picture material related to the history of the university;and the Lilly Library's personal film collections of legendary filmmakers Orson Welles, John Ford, and Peter Bogdanovich.


Educational Films

One of the most extensive historic educational film collections in existence, the Archive contains more than 48,000 films dating from before World War II and intended for classroom use. Indiana University was one of the major university-based distributors of educational films from the 1930s through the 1990s, and one of very few distributors to keep and preserve them. These collections include career training films, U.S. Department of War productions, and more than 5,600 programs produced by the National Educational Television (NET) network, the precursor to PBS.


The Lilly Library's Bradley Film Collection

Accomplished director and film studies instructor David Bradley collected nearly 4,000 films throughout his life, developing an unprecedented collection of both classic and rare productions from the United States and Europe. Indiana University acquired the collection following his death in 1997. The silent film era is particularly well represented in this collection.


Among the Archive’s Rare Treasures

  • Amblin', Steven Spielberg's first completed film, released in 1968
  • The Trail of Tears, a 1970 NET film featuring Johnny Cash
  • Peer Gynt, starring a 17-year-old Charlton Heston from the Lilly Library's Bradley collection
  • The U.S. Department of Defense "Why We Fight" series produced during World War II and directed by Frank Capra
  • The Winged Scourge, a 1943 Walt Disney film about malaria produced for the U.S. Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs
  • Nearly 30 titles in the 1950's CBS series "You Are There"
  • The world's most complete collection of Encyclopedia Britannica Films


    Our Mission

    The Indiana University Libraries Film Archive is dedicated to the preservation of and access to scholarship and exhibition of the motion picture film collections and related material held within the library system. We achieve this by:

  • Providing long-term, climate controlled, secure storage in a state-of-the-art, conservation-level storage facility.
  • Maintaining active partnerships with local, national, and international scholars, as well as with the IU Cinema, partnering universities and archives, and other organizations and venues.
  • Allocating resources based on established priorities and seeking strategic partnerships and supporters.

    Providing facilities, technology, data management, and information retrieval that enable faculty and student researchers to access these resources to create new knowledge.


    film at indiana university

    Indiana University Cinema

    ...a place for film.  The Indiana University Cinema is a lush, contemporary, Art Deco-inspired theater located at the heart of the university’s Bloomington campus. One of only a handful of THX-certified theaters housed at a university, the IU Cinema serves as a museum for film, showcasing many of the treasures of the IU Film Archive as well as arthouse releases, classics, foreign language films, and special series hosted by visiting filmmakers and scholars. Capable of projecting 16mm, 35mm, and all digital formats, IU Cinema screens more than 150 films each semester, with time reserved each week for scholars to use the Cinema to view, study, and teach films from IULFA. A true restoration of the golden age of cinema, the space also boasts several panels of the recently restored Indiana Murals by Thomas Hart Benton that were created for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

    Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility  

    With a consistent temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a stable relative humidity of 30 percent, the Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility is capable of preserving film for hundreds of years. This state-of-the-art storage facility prevents degradation as films await digitization and upcoming advances in preservation science. Materials requested from the ALF are delivered within 24 hours.

    Media Preservation Initiative

    Indiana University has embarked on a massive Media Preservation Initiative to ensure the longevity and accessibility of its outstanding media collections. This comprehensive undertaking includes the most advanced film preservation applications as well as ongoing digitization efforts to make the IULFA available online and into the future.


    Indiana University Libraries

    Recently recognized as the foremost research library in the nation by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the IU Libraries offer unparalleled collections and services across all types of media. In addition to the depth of knowledge and experience of its film librarians, the IU Libraries provide a broad range of collections and services to complement the IU Libraries Film Archive, including film ephemera, historical documents, and the rare books and manuscripts of the Lilly Library.