The Arts Council England film collection

The BFI holds the Arts Council England collection of films made between the 1950s and early 2000s.

These are mostly innovative short or mid-length documentaries made for non-commercial use to inform audiences about the arts.

Films about British artists

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 are all covered.

European art

The ACE collection has films on Duchamp, Magritte, Giacometti, Matisse, Picasso, Dada and Surrealism, Futurism, Psychotic Art, American Art: Edward Hopper, Roy Lichenstein, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol.


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

Other subject areas

The ACE collection also includes films about photography, architecture, crafts and design, 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.

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

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