Toronto: Cinematheque Ontario/The Film Reference Library a Division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group

By Oxtoby, Susan; Frank, Sylvia | Journal of Film Preservation, October 1999 | Go to article overview

Toronto: Cinematheque Ontario/The Film Reference Library a Division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group


Oxtoby, Susan, Frank, Sylvia, Journal of Film Preservation


Cinematheque Ontario/The Film Reference Library was voted in as an Associate of FIAF at the Congress held in Madrid (April 1999). Becoming a member of FIAF has been a goal of the organization since its inception in 1990, when the Toronto International Film Festival Group took over the administration of the Ontario Film Institute (OFI) and renamed it Cinematheque Ontario. Cinematheque Ontario/The Film Reference Library was born out of the OFI. Founded in 1969 by Gerald Pratley, the OFI developed the tradition of a year-round screening programme and documentation centre mandated to promote the study and appreciation of film culture.

The Film Reference Library has grown out of the wealth of materials developed at the OFI - a collection partly modelled after the British Film Institute. The Film Reference Library's current holding consists of 13,000 monographs, 150 current periodical titles, 50,000 film files, 6,000 soundtracks, 12,0000 photographs, 8,000 posters, 120,000 film stills, 5,000 videos, and 1,200 film prints. In recent years, the Library has acquired a number of impressive special collections : the Cinema Canada collection; the David Cronenberg Collection; and the Atom Egoyan Collection; and is a leading centre for the study of Canadian cinema. In addition, the Library is the primary centre for documentation relating to all programming activities of the Toronto International Film Festival Group. Open to the public and fully computer automated, The Film Reference Library fields requests from cinephiles, students, researchers, film critics and industry professionals.

Cinematheque Ontario presents an ambitious, year-round screening programme at the Art Gallery of Ontario's 200-seats film theatre. Each year over 50,000 viewers enjoy a diverse selection of more than 350 presentations which showcase classic and contemporary Canadian and international cinema. Programmes concentrate on directors' retrospectives, national and regional cinema spotlights, thematically-curated series and special events. Cinematheque Ontario's programmers secure new and rare archival prints so that audiences can see the great works of world cinema under the best possible conditions. Cinematheque Ontario publishes a quarterly programme guide which offers a critical and historical context for the works shown. The programme guide is mailed to the membership and to over 1,000 industry professional in Canada, the US and overseas.

In 1997-98, Cinematheque Ontario toured a retrospective of the films of Japanese master Shohei Imamura and published the first English language book on the director, Shohei Imamura (183 pages) edited by James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario's Senior Programmer. The tour visited 14 cities in North America and Amsterdam, London, Stockholm and Hong Kong.

Cinematheque Ontario is the originating site and organizer of The Bresson Project, which began its 15-cities North American touring retrospective of Robert Bresson's films in October 1998. …

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