Securing and digitising the cinematographic works in the Bertolt Brecht Archive of the Akademie der Künste
Project duration: January 2016 – December 2017
The cinematographic holdings of the Bertolt Brecht Archive of the Akademie der Künste comprise around 50 titles on approx. 70,000 metres of analogue film material. The holdings were largely part of Brecht’s artistic estate and, after his death, were supplemented by Helene Weigel with other works. The film material dates from the late 1920s to the 1970s.
In 2008, in agreement with the Land of Berlin, the cinematographic holdings of the Bertolt Brecht Archive were deposited with the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum für Film und Fernsehen. This made it possible to use the film technologies and archival infrastructure available there to index and store this collection.
In cooperation with the Deutsche Kinemathek and funded by the LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin and the Federal Government’s Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), the cinematographic works in the Bertolt Brecht Archive are being secured and subsequently made available to the general public.
In the first step in the project, the material is secured in an analogue form by copying the film and audio material on polyester material. In the run-up to this process, research was conducted to establish whether the materials in the Bertolt Brecht Archive were unique or whether further source or duplicated materials existed in archives and film institutions or in private collections. Subsequently, the materials identified in the course of this research were compared with the materials held in the Bertolt Brecht Archive. On that basis, a decision could be taken for each individual film title on the necessity or practicality of securing the materials in an analogue form. The copying needed was carried out by an external service.
Ultimately, the project aims to provide the films to be viewed at the digital reading desks in the Akademie Archives. To achieve this objective, an external service has been commissioned to work in parallel to digitise and so secure the film material.
In the final step, the metadata of the films is to be integrated in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (DDB) and the Akademie Archives database, thus facilitating general online research.
Project Management: Anja-Christin Remmert and Maxi Zimmermann (film restorers)
In cooperation with the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen
Funded by the LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin and the Federal Government’s Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).