State Film Centre

Public Record Office Victoria
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Full description


The Australian National Film Board was established by the Commonwealth Government in May 1945. The role of the National Film Board was, to expand, promote, assist and coordinate the production, distribution and importation of films for school and adult education, social development, international understanding, trade and tourist expansion and immigration. The various State Governments were invited to form State Advisory Committees to assist the Board in its duties in making or acquiring suitable films and to act as distributing agencies.

In July 1945, the acting Executive Officer of the National Film Board asked the State Committees, in addition to encourage the expanded use of documentary films, teaching films and other visual aids, and the establishment and development of films and visual aids within their states.

The State Advisory Committee set up in Victoria held its inaugural meeting on 18 December 1945 . On 22 February 1946, the Committee decided that a central organisation was needed in Victoria to distribute educational and documentary films. The Committee submitted a report to the State Government, proposing the establishment of the State Film Centre, whose functions would be: the maintenance of a film library, information and booking service, and the provision of centralised film production facilities for State Government Departments.

In June 1946 the Government accepted the Committee's recommendation and the State Film Centre was established in December 1946. The Victorian Documentary Film Council (formed in 1946 or 1948) advised the Government of Victoria on all matters relating to documentary film and supervised the functions of the State Film Centre.

The State Film Centre purchased its first film in January 1947 and commenced the Library in April 1947.

Finance was determined by the State Government and every two months the Victorian Documentary Film Council met at the State Film Centre to determine policy matters, supervise the general activity of the film library and discuss the reports and correspondence submitted to it. There was close collaboration between the Centre and the Film Division of the National Library of Australia, in Canberra, for which the Centre acted as the Victorian distribution centre.

The governing structure of the State Film Centre changed in 1983. The State Film Centre of Victoria Council Act 1983 (No. 9943) established the State Film Centre of Victoria Council as governing Council to the Centre. The Council was set up as a body coporate and was successor to the Victorian Documentary Film Council. The State Film Centre was given for the first time since establishment, a legislative base from which to operate. The Act defined the functions and objectives of the State Film Centre and articulated the Centre's intent to increase the appreciation of and promote public interest in film as a medium for providing education, information, knowledge and entertainment. The State Film Centre became known as the State Film Centre of Victoria

The State Film Centre functions, while the Victorian Documentary Film Council was the advisory body, were:

- to collect and maintain a list of all suitable documentary and educational films

- to assist and promote the more extensive exhibition of these films in schools and approved public bodies

- to place prospective users of films in contact with the source of supply of suitable films

- to acquire copies of suitable films

- to recommend to the National Film Board the production of films of national interest

- to maintain a record of all National Film Board production, and

- to coordinate where possible the production and utilisation of films in matters of mutual interest to State Departments.

The functions of the State Film Centre of Victoria Council were:

- to operate and develop the State Film Centre

- to preserve, develop and maintain a library of documentary films

- to develop and maintain a library of periodicals, books and other materials relating to or for use in connection with documentary films

- to provide a documentary film information service

- to provide a technical advisory service to assist documentary film users

- to distribute and exhibit or arrange for the distribution or exhibition of documentary films

- to conduct research for the purpose of improving the quality and effectiveness of documentary films

- to advise the Minister in respect of the development of policies dealing with the production, acquisition, exhibition and distribution of documentary films

- to investigate, report and make recommendations to the Minister in respect of any matter relating to documentary films referred to the Council by the Minister

- to perform such other functions appropriate to the State Film Centre as the Minister may direct

Location of Records

Some records are presumed to have been transferred to the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.

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