New nitrate archive opens

The first 50 years of the Danish film heritage are now saved: The Danish Film Institute's (DFI) large collection of historically invaluable nitrate films has finally found a cool home, providing the best possible conditions for the fragile and combustible material.

53 tons of cellulose nitrate
On Thursday, 12 June, Minister of Culture Brian Mikkelsen will be opening one of the world's most advanced nitrate film archives in a converted bunker in Hillerød north of Copenhagen. For the first time since the mid-1950s, it has been possible to take inventory of the DFI Film Archive's collection of cellulose nitrate films: 6,800 titles distributed across 11,500 separate elements in 24,000 cans. In all, more than 53 tons of invaluable cellulose nitrate have been placed under ideal storage conditions in a state-of-the-art archive with a constant humidity of 30% and a temperature of -5 ˚C.Dreyer and Griffith saved for centuries on
Getting there has been a long process, but well worth it. The Danish Film Institute's collection of Danish and international films – from Dreyer's immortal masterpieces to Griffith's seminal "Intolerance" and rare documentary footage from times long past – are securely ensconced in a 1,160 m2 underground refrigerator. The sole sign above ground is something resembling a cemetery of sarcophagi or an enigmatic modern landscape installation.The work of setting up the archive has cost a total of around 5.3 million Euros, but the result is priceless: ideal storage conditions for the films for centuries on. And the Danish Film Institute is not the only institution to benefit. The Royal Library's and the National Museum's collections of nitrate materials have also found a home in the new archive.The all-too-frequent scandalous stories over the past many years of the slow destruction of the Danish film heritage, not to mention the ever-present hazards of fire and explosion, should now be buried once and for all.
For further information:Head of Department, DFI Archive & Cinematheque
Dan Nissen,, +45 3374 3579, cell +45 2425 5225Head of Unit, DFI Film Archive
Jacob Trock,, +45 3374 3622, cell +45 2164 7909Images and background materials