During the past 50 years the Goethe-Institut has built up a central film archive in Germany, to support its non-commercial film activities abroad, along with 40 decentralised film archives located at selected Goethe-Instituts.
The central film archive in Berverungen owns the 16mm and video rights and since 2005 also the DVD rights for the approximately 730 films it has available. It also has the 35mm rights for 177 of its films. All film copies are available with a choice of English, French and Spanish subtitles. When the archive has the rights to the DVD format, up to nine sets of subtitles are available (in addition to English, French and Spanish: German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Arabic or Italian, depending on the anticipated demand based on a prior survey).
The archive also has 23 film series (or “film packages”), each with 12 individual films in three different subtitle versions. All film series curated since 2005 no longer are produced in 16mm Format but exclusively on DVD with a minimum of 5 subtitles.
Since the films are produced on DVD each film archive automatically receives its own copy. In addition, the decentralised archives can provide advice and information to meet the individual needs of the customers and partners of the institute (festivals, film libraries, film clubs, universities, art house cinemas, etc.). The local archive managers are in charge of the decentralised film archives.
They are knowledgeable – sometimes very knowledgeable – about German film culture. They attend regular training sessions in Berlin, Leipzig and Hof, and are available for consultation.
The decentralised film archives have been operating for more than 40 years. Through their work, they have spread German films throughout the world in a quality and quantity inconceivable for other artistic media. They have kept alive the buzz on German cinema in the local film scenes where they operate around the world, and also outside the metropolises and major population centres.