Our Story

The VCA Film and Television Digital Archive provides online access, for the first time, to more than 1,850 short films belonging to Australia's oldest continuing film school.

The archive brings together a rich collection of celluloid and magnetic student films, including films from the former Swinburne School of Film and Television, (which transferred to VCA in 1992), along with those made by VCA filmmakers.

The archive is recognised as a University of Melbourne Cultural Collection, due to its historical, social, aesthetic, cultural and research significance. It is the University’s first-ever moving image digital archive available for teaching, learning, research and engagement purposes.

Inside you will find heritage and contemporary short films, dating all the way back to 1966 (when the school opened) and made by many of Australia’s most prolific film and television artists, celebrating the influence of past, present and emerging filmmakers in the industry. Each year, new films will be added by the next generation of filmmakers, complete with metadata to enhance the collection’s meaning. Films are curated into genres and easily searchable so that audiences can discover films based on themes, cast, locations, settings and more!

The digital archive project began in 2014 and brought together students, staff, filmmakers and the wider University with the industry to digitise, preserve and curate this fascinating cultural collection. Read the timeline of our journey below.

Digital Archive Progress

February 2014

Funding secured from VCA Film and Television to complete a significance assessment of the film collection.

July 2014

VCA Film and Television Digital Archive recognised as a University of Melbourne Cultural Collection.

October 2014

Digital Archive Committee established.

November 2014

Volunteers engaged from Cultural Collections Placement Program to assist with the establishment of digital archive.

January 2015

Funding secured for the digitisation of 50 films for the VCA Film and Television 50th Anniversary.

October 2015

VCA Film and Television awarded a $4,500 federal Community Heritage Grant, National Library Australia to fund a Preservation Needs Assessment.

January 2016

Project awarded a Digitisation Investment Grant from Film Victoria to digitise the celluloid films in the archive

February 2016

Funding secured from the University of Melbourne Engagement Grants for archive promotion.

March 2016

First focus groups with future users are held.

Funding secured from University of Melbourne Engagement Initiative Grants - Object Based Seed Funding for the implementation and design of a new student film database.

June 2016

Partnership agreement established with ACMI for the digitisation of celluloid films.

July 2016

50th Anniversary of VCA Film and Television. Selection of first 50 digitised films released on Youtube.

December 2016

Established a partnership with Research Platform Services and Arcitecta for the use of their digital asset management system, Mediaflux.

The Project is awarded a $250,000 grant from the University’s Student Services Amenities Fund to aid the development, implementation and release of the digital archive portal and curation of materials. Project was acquitted in June 2019.

June 2017

First 50 films imported to Mediaflux.

August 2017

'Film and Data EXPOSED' event held at ACMI. Public view a selection of digitised films and hear about the project from the Project Lead, Film and Television Head of School, and Arcitecta.

January 2018 to July 2018

Digitisation of magnetic media begins with the aid of volunteers from the Cultural Collections Placement Program

January 2019

Engagement articles written by students, staff, and researchers about films in the archive begin, published on the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music website, Precinct (2019)

August 2019

VCA Film and Television Digital Archive goes live with the aid of Research Platform Services and Arcitecta

October 2019

‘Discover the Digital Archive’ exhibition held at The University of Melbourne’s Old Quad building. Public able to access the archive for the first time during this exhibition.