Established in 1996 the Slovenian Cinematheque is one of the youngest public institutions of national importance in the field of culture. Its main tasks are to form, maintain, and present its collection of world film; to prepare regular programming and retrospectives in its hall; to exhibit artefacts which are important for the history of film and cinema; and to carry out research and publishing activity in the history of cinema. The Slovenian Cinematheque has its hall on Miklošičeva 28 and it publishes the monthly bulletin Kinotečnik.
The Slovenian Cinematheque was founded by decree of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia which introduced the separation of the Film Museum from the National Theatre Museum of Slovenia (previously joined in one institution: the National Theatre and Film Museum of Slovenia) and the merging of it with the Cinematheque Hall (in the former Yugoslavia it was a branch of the Yugoslav Cinematheque from Belgrade from where it also got its programming). The founder and first director of the Slovenian Cinematheque was Silvan Furlan (1953–2005); an essayist and author of numerous film studies and books as well as the most avid promoter of the film industry in Slovenia, who succeeded to gather around him a team of young film professionals who fostered film presentation, preservation, education, creation, and reflection under the roof of Slovenian Cinematheque. The newly formed institution divided its activities into four departments: the Programme Department, the Museum Department, the Film Archive Department and the Research and Publishing Department with a specialised library (the latter department was later abolished, only the library is still working).
The Slovenian Cinematheque Programme Department is located next to the recently-renovated Cinematheque Hall (completely renovated in 2006 and named after Silvan Furlan in 2010) at Miklošičeva 28, which has 126 seats (2 of them are for people with disabilities) and where it screens its programme from Monday to Saturday. The Museum Department is situated at Miklošičeva 38, where most of its collections (photographs, posters, scripts and screenplays, manuscripts, leaflets) are held. The offices of the Film Archive Department and the small part of its repositories are located at Metelkova 2a, while its main archive is in Gotenica (in an ex-army underground facility). The library and the administration offices are also situated at Metelkova 2a.
The Programme Department presents film heritage in all its diversity to the general public. It prepares regular daily screenings and various special events, such as personal retrospectives of known and less known directors, retrospectives based on various themes, overviews of national cinemas and film movements, special screenings (like silent films accompanied by live music, screenings of avant-garde and experimental films), and varied educational activities (round tables, seminars, lectures). It cooperates with numerous international institutions (embassies, cultural missions) and publishes the bimonthly printed newsletter Kinotečnik that is meant for the detailed presentation of its programme. The Programme Department also runs Kinopolis, the Cinematheque Club which offers to its members discounts on tickets and publications as well as other benefits.
Slovenian Cinematheque has launched the project Zgodbe iz omare, collecting the 16mm, 8mm and Super 8mm amateur and home movie films, in collaboration with the Filmoteka Institute for Promotion of Film Culture. On 18 May 2019 the 1st Day of the Home Movie took place in the Cinematheque.
Archives and collection
The principal tasks of the Slovenian Cinematheque are to set up and preserve a library collection of international films, including the corresponding technology for showing, preserving and processing film copies; to present a programme in its cinema hall based on its own resources and those of related international institutions; to collect, preserve, classify, catalogue and present museum materials relating to the history of film; to establish and maintain contacts with international organisations and associations; and to carry out research and publishing activities related to its basic areas of operation. It is funded from the national budget, and by donors and sponsors.
Efforts to establish a collection of works which are fundamental to the history of world cinema are ongoing; up to now the Slovenian Cinematheque has managed to collect more than 3,500 titles, mainly from the last two decades, but it still has to complete its longer-term project to build a collection of film classics. The most precious prints in the Cinematheque’s collection are undoubtedly its three greatest discoveries – the only surviving original print of Ernst Lubitsch’s first film Als ich tot war [When I Was Dead] (1916), an original print of Franz Hofer’s first film Des Alters erste Spuren [The First Signs of Getting Old] (1913) and the only remaining original colour print of the short film Le jongleur [The Minstrel] (Pathé, 1913).
The Slovenian Cinematheque is a member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) and the Association des Cinematheques Européennes (ACE). It also regularly collaborates with foreign embassies and cultural centres in Slovenia.