Collection - Film archives

Identity area

Reference code


Film archives


  • 1946- (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

12,000 film cans; 8,000 video tapes

Context area


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

UNESCO Division of Public Information

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The UNESCO film archives consist of an estimated 12,000 film cans (4,000 hours of film) on 16- and 35-mm acetate film, dating from the 1940s to the 1980s. They are divided into three parts:

  • The archives of film productions, containing about 7500 film cans of material produced by UNESCO itself.

  • The archives of reference films, containing about 1100 works which not have been produced by UNESCO itself but have been given to the organisation by NGOs, foreign film producers or member states.

  • The archives of distributed films, containing around 2500 copies of 210 films. These films have been produced by the organisation and concern different programmes or projects.

Online search of a portion of Unesco film material is possible via: UNESCO Archives Multimedia Database. Digitizing Our Shared Unesco History

All other film material is indexed in an electronic database, originally created and maintained by the Division of Public Information.

For questions regarding access to the film archives, or to request a search for film titles in the electronic database, please contact:

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Further accruals expected

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Reproduction of UNESCO-copyrighted film material possible upon request.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

1945-1988 film material
1988-1988 3/4 Inch (BVU, Umatic)

Finding aids

AG 12/1: UNESCO Film Reference Library catalogues. 1951 ; 1953 September ; 1958 July ; 1972 (paper copy only) ; 1973-1974, first supplement ; 1975-1980, second supplement (paper copy only) ; 1989

AG 12/1: UNESCO Films 16 mm 1968 (selected list)

AG 12/1: UNESCO films 16 mm, 1975 (selected list) (paper copy only);

AG 12/1: Films of the UN Family: Catalogue of films on international development, 1973 (paper copy only)

AG 12/1: Films of the UN Family: 16 mm. Catalogue, 1980-1981 (paper copy only)

AG 12/1: filmtvfilm, 1969

AG 12/1: UNESCO Catalogue: photos, films, filmstrips, 1974 (paper copy only)

AG 12/1: UNESCO Film and video catalogue, 1987-1988 (paper copy only)

AG 12/1: UNESCO video catalogue, 1992

AG 12/1: UNESCO: television video catalogue

AG 12/1: UNESCO: video programmes (VHS)

AG 12/1: Bureau of Public Information (BPI): indexes on cards to films, 1945-

Generated finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

The majority of the film collection is kept in a film depot in UNESCO headquarters, Paris.

Copies of UNESCO films produced before 1960 on the easily inflammable cellulose nitrate are kept by the National Centre of the French National Film Archives, Bois d’Arcy.

Existence and location of copies

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