The Harvard Film Archive is one of the largest and most significant university-based motion picture collections in the United States, with a collection of well over 25,000 items (primarily 35mm and 16mm) from around the world and from almost every period in film history. As a division of the Harvard Library, the HFA supports the research and study of cinema at Harvard by making films from its collection available for study purposes, for individual viewing appointments, and for classroom screenings.
The Harvard Film Archive collection is available to Harvard faculty and students as well as researchers and scholars from outside the university. Descriptions of collections are available on our website. All research inquiries should be submitted via e-mail to Bob Sennett, Bibliographer and Research Liaison for Film.
Researchers can also find valuable online resources in our Research section. For assistance with film studies reference and research materials, Bob Sennett, Bibliographer and Research Liaison for Film, is available for consultation. Appointments and inquiries can be made via e-mail.
Researchers looking for video copies of films can search Lamont Library’s circulating collection in HOLLIS Classic. Additionally, the Film Study Library, located on the fourth floor of Sever Hall, has a large, non-circulating collection of videos, including many rare titles. The library houses viewing facilities. Its catalog can be accessed at the FSL or inquiries can be directed to Heidi Bliss, Film Study Coordinator, via e-mail.
The majority of the HFA's holdings are now cataloged at a basic level in HOLLIS. Please limit location by Harvard Film Archive to search our holdings. Please contact Bob Sennett via email to make an appointment.
Film prints are made accessible by appointment only and in close consultation with HFA staff. Although films do not circulate for individual use, students, filmmakers, artists, and researchers are encouraged to use the collections on-site. If their condition allows, prints from the HFA collection may be viewed on a flatbed viewer at the HFA’s Conservation Center.
Viewings take place on site only, during the hours of Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fee for the monitored use of the flatbed viewer is $25 per hour for non-Harvard scholars, $15 per hour for non-Harvard students. Payment is due at the end of the session. We accept cash and checks.
Researchers interested in setting up a viewing appointment should contact Bob Sennett via e-mail. In your e-mail, please include:
-Mailing address and phone number
-Job title/student status
-A two-to-three line description of your research project
-Prioritized list of film titles essential to your research project
-Proposed dates of visit
Once staff has reviewed your requests you will be contacted and advised of item availability and viewing appointment dates.
A complete list of HFA print titles must be submitted to Heidi Bliss, the Film Study Coordinator, at least four weeks in advance of the start of each semester so HFA staff has time to inspect the requested titles to determine if they can be projected for class. The Film Conservator will inform the Film Study Coordinator as soon as possible of any issues regarding the quality or availability of an HFA film print.
Please contact Mark Johnson, HFA Print Trafficker, via e-mail for details about using HFA prints.
35mm film must be projected by an HFA-approved projectionist in either the CCVA lecture hall or the North West labs. Use of a number of rare archival 16mm film prints is restricted to the Carpenter Center Lecture Hall. In-classroom 16mm film projection is sometimes available at the discretion of the Film Conservator.
HFA prints are prepped and available one week prior to screening date.
Prints from the HFA collection are regularly loaned to FIAF-member motion picture archives and other venues that meet the HFA’s strict requirements for the professional care, handling, and projection of archival films. All archival loan inquiries should be directed to Mark Johnson, HFA Loan Officer, via e-mail and should be made at least four weeks in advance of screening date. Print sources are listed in the individual film and program descriptions on our website. Inquiries regarding HFA Cinematheque programming can be directed to David Pendleton, HFA Programmer, via e-mail.
Contact Contact Bob Sennett for information about our stills collection.
Learn more about the HFA Collection by visiting the Collections Blog, written by the HFA conservation team.