Ruta Abolins, Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection, Speaker
Salvatore Botti, Getty Images, Speaker
Big changes are happening in the world of archival documentary. In the last few years, institutional archive houses have consolidated their collection, changed their licensing protocols, and raised their costs. Licensing giant Getty Images added the NBC News archives to their already extensive collection; ABC has continually shifted policies to limit licensing, depending on the whims of its parent company, Disney. Despite the increasing prevalence of mainstream archival-heavy documentaries, access to archival materials has become more restricted for independent filmmakers.
What has spurred these changes, and how have they impeded filmmakers? For the largest archives, how has consolidating archives increased their hold on the archival world – and what does it mean for fewer and fewer institutions to control an increasing amount of historical media? In all of these industry-wide changes, what is being done to put the filmmaker first? Despite the frustrations that filmmakers may have with archives, these institutions offer a vital service.
In this panel, moderated by filmmaker Charlie Shackleton, representatives from an array of archives will discuss these challenging issues, while also highlighting the ways in which archives can serve the independent filmmaking community. Amidst all these changes, how are archives becoming more filmmaker-forward and working towards centering filmmakers over corporations? How can we keep archival licensing feasible for independent filmmakers and not just big-budget films and series? In a world of archives merging, instead of limited access, how can we increase access to archival materials instead of siloing off collections?
Charlie Shackleton is a nonfiction filmmaker living and working in London. His work has screened at festivals including Sundance, SXSW and IFFR, and won awards including a British Independent Film Award and a Grierson. His latest film The Afterlight exists as a single 35mm print, which has toured continually since its premiere in 2021. His one-on-one performance piece As Mine Exactly won the Immersive Art & XR Award at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival.
Emma Simpson, Journeyman Pictures
Emma started her career in factual distribution as Head of the Footage department at Journeyman Pictures in 2009. Since then Emma has worked in all areas of distribution under the Journeyman roof, from footage to news and documentary sales and acquisitions. Today Emma co-runs the company, with a particular focus on acquiring new documentary projects and working on their global release strategies.
Ruta Abolins, Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection
Ruta Abolins is the Director of the Walter J.Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries. She has worked in moving image archives for the past 30 years. She currently manages a collection of over 350,000 analog audiovisual items and over 200,000 digital files with collections ranging from local news content to home movies to the Peabody Awards. She is a past board president of Cine, a non-profit cinema and arts space located in downtown Athens, Georgia. She recently completed a chapter on the history of the Peabody Awards Collection for a book tentatively titled The Archivability of Television edited by Lauren Bratslavsky and Elizabeth Peterson that will be published by the UGA Press later this year. She has a BFA in Filmmaking, an MA in Popular Culture, and an MA in Library and Information Studies.
Salvatore Botti, Getty Images
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Salvatore Botti’s background crosses traditional disciplinary lines between programming, archival work, and filmmaking. After working in short-form Super 8mm and 16mm for many years, Salvatore completed his first feature film, Dreams of Her, which had its world premiere at the 2004 South by Southwest Film Festival. A graduate of Vassar College, Salvatore has worked as a historical film programmer for Austin Film Society, taught film history and been published in a number of publications. In 2014, he completed work on his second feature film, The Future Past. Salvatore has over 20 years of experience in footage licensing having spent the last seven with Getty Images as a Broadcast Archive specialist. He currently manages a team who specialize in NBC, BBC, ITN, and TVNZ archive licensing.