BFIplayer to unlock 10,000 classic UK films from BFI archives

The British Film Institute is planning to unlock its archives, streaming 10,000 classic titles online in a new BFIplayer.

The British Film Institute is planning to unlock its archives for online streaming in a new BFIplayer. In its new Film Forever manifesto, the Britfilm bods promise to offer 10,000 films online for you to enjoy in an equivalent of the BBC iPlayer for classic British cinema and video.

As well as films, you'll be able to watch TV programmes, public information films, newsreels and adverts online. There could also be footage from the Mass Observation Archive, a project that records everyday life in Britain over the course of the last century.

The line-up will be decided by a panel of experts. And like a kind of worthier X Factor -- Strictly Come Cinema, if you will -- the films will be chosen from your nominations. Half will come from the BFI basement, which contains over 60,000 fiction and 120,000 non-fiction films, and the other 5,000 will be nominated by members of the public, subject to the BFI clearing the relevant rights.

The BFI has been forced to rethink its role following the coalition government's unceremonious ditching of the UK Film Council last year. The new plan is to focus on expanding education, boosting audience choice, supporting the future success of British film, and unlocking our film heritage.

As a first step towards digitising the entire archive, BFIplayer sounds like a great way to go about the latter part. I for one can't wait to see it -- the first 10,000 films will be made available over the next five years.

I come over all giddy with the thought of access to the basements at treasure troves like the BFI and BBC. Only yesterday reports emerged of an iPlayer-like service for the Beeb's musical archive, potentially named Playlister . Just think of all the lost musical and filmic delights we could clamp round our eyeglobes and lugholes! Truly, this is the future we were promised.

What forgotten classics would you nominate for the BFI archive? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.


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