The film collection

The Filmoteca’s current collection consists of almost 200,000 audiovisual items in the form of photochemical film (almost 190,000 cans), videotape and digital files, corresponding to some 25,000 titles and representing around 40,000 copies.

In other words, in relation to the same film title we might have the original image, the sound track, projection copies, trailers, and so on – all the materials involved in the processing chain of the film industry.

Access to the film collection

The catalogue of the film collection in its entirety can only be consulted in the Collection Access Service. Given their fragility, the original documents in the film collection have restricted access, although at the centre in the Raval district you can consult a significant selection in domestic-use formats.

For any other access or use of the film collections, you should send a written application so we can deal with your request. The collections are at the disposal of researchers to assist with their work. In addition, loans to educational establishments, festivals and other institutions give the general public the opportunity to see the film collections. Finally, more and more professionals are using the image files to search for material to create new audiovisual productions.


The film collection of the Filmoteca de Catalunya started in 1981 with 350 titles. Since that time it has grown constantly. It currently consists of 24,383 titles and 40,884 documents. Several different stages in the history of the collection can be distinguished: Read more.

Film collection policy

The criteria and principles that govern the acquisition, preservation of and access to the Filmoteca’s film collections are set out in the Film Collection Policy.

On 27 October 1980, UNESCO approved the ‘Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images’, which considers moving images [film] to be an expression of the cultural personality of peoples, and because of their educational, cultural, artistic, scientific and historical value form an integral part of a nation's cultural heritage. Since then, UNESCO has promoted the preservation of this art all over the world.

The approval of the ‘Recommendation’ by UNESCO was an important milestone on the road to film conservation. And the fact is that a large proportion of the world’s film production before the advent of talking films has been lost. Thanks, however, to the creation of the first film archives in the 1930s, a large number of classic silent films were able to be saved – by Murnau, Hitchcock, Gance, Griffith...

Despite these efforts, it is estimated that between 70% and 90% of the films made during this period worldwide were lost. In 1938, within the framework of this fight against the systematic destruction of silent films, four archives that were ahead of their time in considering film to be cultural heritage decided to join forces and strategies and created the International Federation of Film Archives, the FIAF. These archives were: the British Film Institute in London; the Deutsche Kinemathek; the MoMA in New York, and the Cinémathèque Française in Paris. The Filmoteca de Catalunya joined this organisation in 1992.

In recent years, the perception of film archives as institutions that safeguard film heritage around the world has become widely established. For this reason, following the example of other similar institutions such as museums and, more specifically, the International Council of Museums (ICOM), which sets out the guidelines for professional standards in museums, in 1999 the FIAF produced a Code of Ethics to promote and guarantee the best professional practices in film conservation.

The Film Collection Policy of the Filmoteca de Catalunya follows national and international guidelines on cultural heritage in general and film in particular, and adheres to the code of ethics of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), of which the Filmoteca has been a member since 1992, and the recommendations of the European Union as a member of the Association of European Film Archives and Cinémathèques (ACE).

You can consult the film collection policy here.