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The Association of Moving Image Archivists

Gregory Lukow introduces The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is the world's largest professional association for film, television and video archivists.

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is the world's largest professional association for film, television and video archivists. More than that, however, the association brings together archivists, producers, historians, film and television documentarians, scholars, and students to create a unique and vital community dedicated to preserving our moving image heritage. For those interested in animated film, it provides a network for dialogue and information exchange with the many North American archivists, in both the public and private sectors, who are responsible for safeguarding and providing access to the animated image in all its forms. These images span the history of animation, from the earliest years of pre-cinema to the classic output of the Hollywood studios, from the pioneers of avant garde film and video animation to the latest work in digital, interactive and special effects technologies, from paper prints to Disney and DreamWorks. History Since the late 1960s, representatives from moving image archives have recognized the value of regular meetings to exchange information and experiences. In the 1970s and 1980s, this group of archivists expanded from a handful of participants to several hundred archivists from scores of national, regional and local institutions. In 1991, the group voted to establish AMIA and formalize itself as an individual-based professional association, the only one of its kind in the moving image archival field. Currently, AMIA represents over 400 individuals from the United States and Canada. In recent years, AMIA has taken on an international dimension as many archivists from around the world have joined the association. AMIA members are drawn from a broad cross-section of film, television, video and interactive media, including classic and contemporary Hollywood productions, newsreels and documentaries, and national and local television productions, including news, public affairs and entertainment programming. There are also a number of significant specialized collections, including independently produced film and video art, amateur footage, and films and television programs reflecting ethnic and minority experiences. AMIA Annual Conference Every fall, AMIA's annual conference holds a premiere place on the calendar of international archival events. The conferences are open to all, regardless of membership in the association. In 1998, AMIA's eighth annual conference will be held in the Fontainebleu Hilton on Miami Beach from December 7-12. The full range of issues involved in collecting, preserving and using archival moving images will be discussed in an ambitious schedule of panels, presentations, workshops, technical symposia, and vendor exhibits. Other events will include the association's annual membership meeting; the fifth annual AMIA awards luncheon; and the immensely popular "AMIA Evening of Archival Screenings," featuring excerpts from films and television programs recently-acquired or newly-restored by a broad range of archives and producers. Over the years, many rare and rediscovered animation treasures have been shown in these screenings, some for the first time in decades. AMIA-L, The Organization's On-line Listserv AMIA's listserv (AMIA-L) is one of the archival communities most dynamic and valuable resources. Using this electronic forum, anyone interested in film and video preservation can post messages and communicate on a daily basis with experts in the field. Every week, a broad range of questions are asked and answered on AMIA-L about such topics as: the rediscovery of lost films, archival holdings, the location of specific collections and footage, new preservation technologies, the life expectancy of digital video formats, case studies in copyright law, the availability of equipment and services, job openings, upcoming conferences and meetings and new publications.

To subscribe to AMIA-L, send the following message to SUBSCRIBE AMIA-L Your Name. You will be automatically added to the list and will receive a "welcome" message and further instructions. All mail messages intended for the list members should then be sent to


AMIA exists to advance the field and foster cooperation among individuals concerned with the collection, preservation, exhibition and use of moving image materials. The organization promotes standards and practices, stimulates research, and encourages public awareness of moving image preservation. It publishes the quarterly AMIA Newsletter, maintains the AMIA web site, and is developing a journal that will combine scholarly and technical approaches to moving image preservation. AMIA also honors the work of film and television archivists through its awards program. Each year AMIA bestows its Silver Light Award in recognition of career achievements, and the Leab Award for important contributions to the field. Education and Training One of AMIA's most important goals is to establish scholarship and internship programs to help educate and train the next generation of moving image archivists. With support from the Mary Pickford Foundation and Sony Pictures, AMIA offers the only scholarship program in North America that supports students pursuing graduate-level studies in moving image preservation and archiving. In addition, AMIA conducts an annual Basic Training Workshop and presents special workshops, forums, and advanced technical symposia, including the "Reel Thing Laboratory Technical Symposium," which discusses recent preservation work. National Plans AMIA is heavily involved in the crucial work of developing the national plans for moving image preservation that have been published in both the United States and Canada in recent years. AMIA delivered testimony before the U.S. Congress in support of the National Film Preservation Act of 1996, and now holds a seat on the National Film Preservation Board. The association is also a member of the Alliance for Canada's Audio-Visual Heritage. In 1997 AMIA's Board of Directors created a new AMIA Committee on U.S. National Moving Image Preservation Plans. The committee's mandate is to review, prioritize and develop strategies for implementing the many recommendations included in the two U.S. moving image plans published by the Library of Congress: Redefining Film Preservation (1994) and Television and Video Preservation (1998). The strategies will identify what needs to be done, who should do it, and how much will it cost. They will be forwarded to the Library of Congress, after which AMIA will work with the Library and other organizations to carry out their implementation. Committees and Interest Groups AMIA's three membership committees, "Preservation," "Cataloging & Documentation," and "Access," are standing committees established by the membership to develop, promote and facilitate archival related activities. They meet at least once a year during the annual AMIA conference, and are open to all members who agree to participate actively in the work of the committees. AMIA's Interest Groups are affiliation groups created by individual members who share common interests and work together for mutual benefit. They are open to all who wish to participate. Current AMIA Interest Groups are devoted to "News & Documentary Collections," "Inédits" (amateur footage), "Copyright," "Regional Archives," and "Digital Archiving." The latter group will be of special interest to animation and special effects professionals interested in the rapidly developing area of "media asset management." AMIA Membership Membership in AMIA is available on a calendar year basis to any interested individual or organization. Members receive the AMIA Newsletter; invitations to all AMIA meetings and events; discounted registration fees for AMIA annual conferences; and the benefits of affiliation with the world's leading professional association of moving image archivists. Annual membership dues are U.S. $50 for individuals, $150 for non-profit institutions, and $300 for commercial institutions. Subscriptions to the AMIA Newsletter are available to students and libraries at a cost of $35 per year. For more information about AMIA, contact the association's office in Beverly Hills, California at (310) 550-1300 or e-mail Membership and annual conference information can be found on AMIA's web site at Gregory Lukow is director of the American Film Institute's National Center for Film and Video Preservation. He has served as AMIA's founding secretary and member of its Board of Directors since 1991.