The Cineteca Nazionale, established by state law in 1949, is tasked with preserving and spreading The Italian film heritage.
The first nucleus of the collection has been established since the birth of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, in the 1930s, to support educational activities. In particular Chiarini, Barbaro and Pasinetti are committed to the research and acquisition of films; classics abound, such as Chaplin, Vidor, Pabst,Clair, Dreyer, Lang. But in 1943 the collection was requisitied by the Germans and was finally dispersed. After the war, the work of reconstruction began. In 1949 the Cineteca joined the FIAF – Federation Internationale des Archives du Film, born on the eve of the conflict. In the same year, Law 958 of 29 December bases the “Cineteca Nazionale” on this archive and establishes the legal filing: a copy of every Italian production or co-production film must be delivered to the Cineteca Nazionale. In 1965, Law 1213 of 4 November extended the legal deposit to short films, newsreels and current affairs. Under Decree 28 of 2004, the obligation is extended for productions that have received government subsidies, even to new matrices.
Over time, public and private donations have contributed and continue to contribute to enriching the heritage, to assure exchanges with other archives around the world and the purchases of film materials, deposits by third parties and agreements with private individuals. Since 2005 the Cineteca Nazionale has included the Ivrea National Archive of Industrial Cinema, established in the same year with the task of preserving and disseminating the film materials produced by Italian companies.
To the preservation of its precious heritage, the National Film Library is accompanied by an intense activity of cultural diffusion, making available to cultural bodies for events without commercial purposes a vast catalog, within 75% of Italian films. More than 1500 screenings are played every year in Italy and abroad. Since January 2003 until 2019, the Cineteca Nazionale has been running the Cinema Trevi in Rome as an exhibition venue where to present both the extensive heritage of the archive and exhibitions from other national and international cinemas.
The Cineteca Nazionale is engaged in the restoration of Italian cinema: every year not only great masterpieces but also “minor” works are restored and re-proposed, to respect the complex articulation of a cinematography, such as the Italian one, in which great authors and great artisans have alternated with equal success. In these activities, the Cineteca Nazionale is flanked by public and private institutions.
Inside the Cineteca Nazionale has a photo archive and posters dedicated to cinematic iconography, with a collection, partly computerized, of more than one and a half million photographs and about 50,000 pieces of advertising kit including posters and fliers. The photographic archive includes the funds of some of the leading Italian photographers, but also of directors and producers: Sergio Poletto, Osvaldo Civirani, Roberto Rossellini, Alfredo Bini.