The Arts Council England film collection

The BFI holds the Arts Council England collection of c.450 films made between the 1950s and 2000s, and we are in the process of remastering materials and clearing rights to make the films properly accessible to cinemas, film societies, art galleries and through BFI Player.

The ACE films are mostly innovative short or mid-length documentaries made for non-commercial use to inform audiences about the arts. Subject areas include:

Films about British artist: Francis Bacon, Edward Burra, Gilbert and George, Richard Hamilton, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Peter Kennard, the Pre-Raphaelites, Henry Moore, Bridget Riley, Stanley Spencer, Turner, Vorticism, Pop Art, Performance Art and the YBAs.

European art: Duchamp, Magritte, Giacometti, Matisse, Picasso, Dada and Surrealism, Futurism, Psychotic Art, American Art: Edward Hopper, Roy Lichenstein, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol.

Music: Steve Reich, Benjamin Britten, Sir Michael Tippett, Peter Maxwell Davies, John Cooper-Clarke. Black Britain: the Notting Hill Carnival, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Ballet Black, Aubrey Williams.

The ACE collection also includes films about photography, architecture, crafts and design, music, dance (a big collection, including the Dance for the Camera series), theatre, animation and literature.

Some key experimental filmmakers and academics represented in the collection include Stuart Brisley, Noel Burch, Steve Dwoskin, Jeff Keen, Malcolm LeGrice, Ken McMullen, Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, the Quay Brothers, Franco Rosso, James Scott, Michael Snow, John Smith, Margaret Tait, Judith Williamson.

Films in the ACE collection can be freely viewed online for research if accessing the Arts on Film website at the University of Westminster via a UK academic server and anyone can browse the titles and data about the ACE collection via the Arts Council England Film Collection catalogue.

For film bookings, please contact the BFI film bookings team.

For footage sales, please contact our archive footage sales team.

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