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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Film archives get 25m cash boost
BFI director Amanda Nevill
Amanda Nevill has been the BFI's director since 2003
The government has pledged to give the British Film Institute (BFI) 25m to safeguard its extensive archive.

The announcement comes hours before the BFI launches the London Film Festival with crime thriller Eastern Promises.

The funding package will help preserve its national archive, containing over 500,000 hours of film and TV material.

Many of its reels are deteriorating and need restoring. The BFI's Amanda Nevill said the cash would "bring into view much more of our precious heritage".

"This level of investment will mean we can once again set a world standard in conservation and preservation."

'National treasure'

Culture secretary James Purnell said the archive, held in Hertfordshire, was "a national treasure" that constituted "a visual history of Britain since the moving image again".

"From the earliest newsreels to CinemaScope to 3D, the BFI archive is one of the greatest collections of film and TV in the world. It's vital that we safeguard its future."

Started in 1935, the collection includes over 275,000 films, 210,000 TV programmes, seven million photographs and 15,000 posters.

The BFI's holdings also include more than 46,000 books, 5,000 periodical titles and more than two million newspaper cuttings.

Money will also be made available to protect regional collections like the Yorkshire Film Archive.

Its holdings include a reel of nitrate film showing a visit Queen Victoria made to Sheffield in May 1897.

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