Better access to films and footage depicting 60 years of national broadcasting history
A start has been made on the second phase of the digitalisation project at PBS so that thousands of hours of historic film footage will be made accessible to the public.
The project was initiated in 2014 when the Board and PBS Directors identified the deterioration of the archives and obtained the financial support of Government and EU funds for the situation to be rectified. Todate, the required infrastructure has been completed and the digitalisation can now commence.
Public Broadcasting Services is investing almost €5 million on this process so that 24,200 hours of filming will become available to the public. Following this first phase the archives in the PBS Creativity Hub, where over half-a-Century of historic films are stored, will be given the name, Malta Audio Visual Memories.
PBS Chairman, Tonio Portughese, said that about 25 persons will be engaged on the digitalisation project and this should be completed by 2021 following the completion of the infrastructure project during recent months. He said the project will salvage many films that were about to be lost.
Dr Portughese said that in 2014 agreement had been reached with the Government for this project to proceed and efforts began to obtain the necessary funding. In fact, €3 million had been obtained from EU funds for Regional Development and €2 million from a national fund of which €900,000 are contributed by PBS.
PBS CEO, Engineer Charles Dalli, said the project entails the films will be digitalised in four categories: Cultural, Events, Historic Personalities and Places.
He said work will commence on the current material and new products will be obtained from it. Clips will be created that will be combined with sites and places of public interest.
Engineer Dalli said an electronic site will be created to enable the films to become accessible. At historical sites there will also be electronic means to enable access to footage related to the same sites through the QR Code.
He said PBS will open its doors for further studies and researches in the academic sphere regarding the country’s audiovisual history. The plan is that of continuing to extend with new products and material related to the archives.
While inaugurating the project, Minister Owen Bonnici said this is an important project because it will extend the country’s media heritage for future years. He added the project will also ensure that important films that document the country’s history will be preserved and made disposable for the use of all. He stressed this is an important element of national heritage.
The Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds, Aaron Farrugia, said the EU Fund for Regional Development is financing a number of heritage and cultural projects which will provide a future for the past and will be enjoyed by forthcoming generations. He said that in the coming fund package to cover the period to 2027, European heritage and European Identity will be given priority.