The Israel Film Archive is the official institute responsible for the collection and preservation of tens of thousands of Israeli and international films. The largest film archive in the Middle East, the place holds over 30,000 screening prints, 20,000 video cassettes, and thousands of negatives of Israeli films.
The archive holds treasures that cannot be described such as rare footage by the Lumière brothers depicting vistas of Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Bethlehem. This footage, captured by these cinematic pioneers 120 years ago, is considered to be the first film to be produced in pre-State Israel.
One can see the archive's collections as parts of a mosaic, portraying the visual history of 20th century Israel. It is difficult to underestimate the importance of these collections, not only to the State of Israel, but the whole Jewish world.
As a member of FIAF - The International Federation of Film Archives - the archive cooperates with other archives around the world for the purpose of research, film exchange, acquisitions, and more. Through this productive dialogue films concerned with Jewish heritage are located and great effort is made to bring a copy of them to the archive.
Likewise, most of the feature and documentary films are deposited in the archive for preservation. Different copies of these films are used to ship to International screenings. The other Cinematheques working in Israel also use the rich collection of the archive to build their monthly programs.
The 1999 Cinema Law states that every film supported by an Israeli fund must deposit a copy of the film in the Israel Film Archive.