THE Yorkshire and North East Film Archives have won two top awards for preserving amateur film footage of the region.

The charity won Footage Company of the Year at the awards, held by FOCAL (Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries), the leading authority on audiovisual archives. A panel of judges from the global film archive sector was looking for entrants which had introduced new initiatives that had benefited audiences, especially during the pandemic.

In October 2020 the Yorkshire Film Archive launched a new website - - developed during the first lockdown. Collections Manager Megan McCooley said: “Not only has the new system enhanced the way we manage and care for our collections, it has transformed the way we deliver to audiences. From educational and community activities to commissions and commercial requests, connecting audiences to the footage we care for is at the very heart of what we do. And with greater access to archive content, artists, film-makers, researchers, and producers can more easily discover the content they need to continue to tell their stories.”

The Yorkshire Film Archive was established in 1988 and merged with the North East Film Archive 10 years ago. A small charity with limited capacity, its achievements include developing an award-winning product Memory Bank, a reminiscence tool for older people.

Dating from its earliest film, of Queen Victoria visiting Sheffield in 1897, the collection includes work from early pioneering film-makers and production companies, industrial and advertising collections, local television news and regional programmes, and works of amateur film-makers, cine clubs and home movie makers.

In recent years the Archives have supported TV productions including four-part Netflix series The Ripper and comedy heist film The Duke, starring Sir Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent and filmed largely in Bradford.

The Archives have facilitated artists and film-makers across the North, including short films and outdoor video installations in Bradford, Newcastle and Hull, as well as leading on and editing Lost Connections. The short film, drawing on a century of archive footage from the 12 UK regional and national film archives, won the Best Use of Footage in a Short Film at the FOCAL International Awards.

Archive Manager Graham Relton said: “To be recognised by your peers within the global film archive community is a real honour, and to come away with two FOCAL Awards was surreal. We are immensely proud of the whole team, past and present staff, volunteers, trustees and wider stakeholders who have all played their part in the success of the organisation over the last 34 years.”

Clare Morrow, Chair of the Yorkshire and North East Film Archives said: “I want to pay tribute to the hard work, passion and dedication of all of our staff. They work tirelessly to acquire, preserve and make available to audiences across the UK and around the world wonderful footage which captures the essence of the life of Yorkshire and the North East over more than a century. Our vaults contain thousands of films, and in every can, tape or digital file are thousands more stories waiting to be revealed.”

* Watch over 2,000 films at the Archives website at Watch the Lost Connections at or on BFI Player at

Emma Clayton