Martin Scorsese backs project promoting Scotland on film

Oscar winning movie director Martin Scorsese has added his support to a project promoting more than 100 years of Scottish history on film.

Martin Scorsese

Photograph by: Brigitte LacombeMartin Scorsese

The Hollywood giant is among a group of leading figures backing a campaign for the creation of a unique public archive at The National Library of Scotland.

The Moving Image Archive will transfer to a new home within a transformed Kelvin Hall in Glasgow this autumn.

The Library has launched a fundraising campaign to secure the final £250,000 needed to create state-of-the-art facilities for viewing and studying this national priceless collection.

Mr Scorsese has been joined by Scots-born Hollywood film producer Iain Smith, actors Brian Cox, Alan Cumming and Bill Paterson, crime writer Ian Rankin and broadcaster Kirsty Wark in supporting the campaign.

“Moving image archives hold our common memory,” said Mr Scorsese, whose commitment to historic film saw him set up the World Cinema Foundation.

“For that reason, we need to care for them, and treasure them. That is our obligation. We owe it to future generations.

“Films shouldn’t be locked away and neglected in a vault somewhere. They need to be protected and preserved, but they also need to be seen, studied, and enjoyed. I enthusiastically support the efforts to develop the Scottish Moving Image Archive, and I urge you all to support this vitally important initiative.”

His view is shared by other prominent individuals from the world of entertainment who agreed to contribute to a short campaign film.

Actor Brian Cox described the archive as a vital resource and said: “It’s so vital and especially for us because we have such a rich and fecund history.”

Fellow actor Bill Paterson described the project as “the most exciting venture”.“I can’t imagine a better use of the Kelvin Hall,” he said.

“I can’t see it being anything other than incredibly popular. People are longing for their past and we now live in a world where we take pictures every second of every day. We are deeply fascinated with the pictures and moving images that were made 50 or 100 years ago.

“Scotland’s Moving Image Archive is the national collection of amateur and professional films which reflect Scottish life, society, industry and culture from the 1890s to the present day. It holds over 46,000 items in total.

Film cans at Moving Image Archive

Film cans at Moving Image Archive

In the autumn it will move from its current home on an industrial estate at Hillington outside Glasgow to a purpose-built facility at the Kelvin Hall. The central location in Scotland’s largest city will make it easier for the public to visit and take advantage of the new facilities for exploring the archive.

The fundraising campaign will help to create improved viewing and learning areas including videowalls to showcase films, a public drop-in area, a curated content area, research space, viewing booths and manuscript consultation space. There will also be a small cinema to provide a high quality screening experience.

Visitors to the Kelvin Hall will also be able to access digit al content from across the Library’s 24 million items and explore a permanent exhibition space.

“The move to the Kelvin Hall will provide the perfect showcase for our Moving Image Archive and for our wider digital collections,” said National Librarian Dr John Scally.

“It is important to have such high profile endorsements for the developments we are planning. We will be working hard to raise the funds needed to make this into a memorable destination for visitors.”

In summing up the importance of the archive actor Alan Cumming said it presented a unique opportunity to remember Scotland’s past and people’s dreams.

“It’s Scottish, it’s the moving image, it’s about our culture and our country, it’s available to everyone and it’s free,” he said as he encouraged people to donate to the project.