SFU Library receives $1.8-million film and television collection

November 27, 2015

By Ian Bryce

Simon Fraser University Library has received a film and television collection worth $1.8 million from Force Four Entertainment, a Vancouver-based film and television production company. With television and film materials spanning 32 years, the collection is the most valuable donation the library has ever received. 

The collection encompasses a unique history of British Columbia’s film and television production industry. There is a 9.5-meter-high stack of scripts and production texts, 31,000 photos and more than 5,000 films and tapes of raw footage.

Significant works in the collection include the award-winning documentary “65_Red Roses,” the docu-reality television series “Village on a Diet,” and numerous biographies of notable Canadians such as Terry Fox and Rick Hansen.

Since Force Four’s founding in 1983 the firm has won numerous awards for its productions, including 10 Gemini Awards and a Peabody Award for “significant and meritorious achievement in broadcasting.”

“We’re very honoured that SFU sees value in our collection and we’re grateful that it will be preserved for the future,” says John Ritchie, Force Four’s chief creative officer.

“I think it’s a tribute to the crews, directors, producers and all the people who have contributed to films and television programs in the collection through the years.”

Says Brian Owen, SFU’s associate university librarian, “This is an area where we’ve had a collections interest for quite some years—we have a mandate to focus on unique items that pertain to British Columbia in particular.”

Materials in the collection are made up of 24 different formats ranging from older Betacam tapes to newer high-definition digital files, and Owen says the library’s first priority is to digitize materials prone to degradation.

SFU Library held a reception marking this significant donation on Thursday, Nov. 26 at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at SFU’s Vancouver campus. SFU President Andrew Petter hosted the evening with guest speakers Gwen Bird, SFU dean of libraries, Jeannette Kopak, associate director of the Centre for Digital Media, and Prem Gill, CEO of Creative B.C.