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Photo report: Wonders of the film archive

19 October 2020

The University of Groningen’s film archive deserves a better name. At the archive, you can feast your eyes on row after row of film cans offering many hours’ worth of old and unique footage. But that’s not all: the archive also boasts camera and projection equipment used in the distant past, including magic lanterns, stereoscopes, cameras and projectors dating back approximately 100 years, as well as the editing table of filmmaker Bert Haanstra.

The on-duty photographer is the proverbial kid in a candy shop. ‘Yes, there is a lot of great stuff here,’ he laughs. He is a little reserved at first, eagerly eyeing all the objects and twisting the lens of an old Filmo camera. But a little later, when he reaches the storage cabinets featuring loads of cameras, he lets go of his restraint and mumbles ‘fantastic’ several times. ‘Look, I’ve also had this one,’ he says. ‘And that one, and that one! How funny, how funny....’ He then spontaneously takes out his camera and starts capturing everything in sight.

This archive is a delight for enthusiasts and offers a stunning impression of the technological developments in professional and amateur filmmaking. The material is used, for example, in course units within the degree programme in Arts, Culture and Media and the Master’s track in Film and Contemporary Audiovisual Media. Students can discover how old equipment and techniques worked and use the material themselves.

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Film Archive

Photos: Elmer Spaargaren, text: Eelco Salverda, Communication UG

Last modified:19 October 2020 08.43 a.m.
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