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Turkey’s first library of documentaries: Arşivist 17 février 2012

Posted by Acturca in Art-Culture, Istanbul, Turkey / Turquie.
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Today’s Zaman (Turkey) 17 February 2012, p. 12

Sevim Şentürk, İstanbul

In what may come as great news for those who love documentaries, the first digital library of documentaries, Arşivist, has been launched by the Association of Documentary Filmmakers in Turkey (BSB), and will give you access to Turkish and foreign documentaries.

Imagine you want to see a good documentary film, or introduce your hometown to your friends by showing them a documentary. This is not something you can easily do. The documentary you want to see is not always aired on TV, and when it is aired, the timing may not work for you. You may consider downloading or watching it over the Internet, but this is only a possibility. On Feb. 7, however, Arşivist, Turkey’s first digital documentary library, was launched. Arşivist was set up by the BSB and is supported by the İstanbul Development Agency and the Ministry of Development. This library is a response to the many that have stated their interest in having more access to documentaries. The Arşivist offices can be found opposite the TRT İstanbul Radio Station in Harbiye and will give you free access to an array of documentary films.
The Arşivist project is already set to become part of Turkish documentary history. The brainchild of this project, director Yasin Ali Türkeri, set to work with this question in mind, “How can documentaries go a step further in Turkey?” Türkeri explained to Today’s Zaman that he consulted with the BSB, where he is also a member, about his idea. After receiving the go-ahead from the association, Türkeri gathered a team of six together, which later increased to 10, to work on creating the documentary archive and secured funds from the İstanbul Development Agency.

He told Today’s Zaman they had completed the first phase of the project in July 2011. They installed a full HD production unit, a 90 terabyte server, a digital Betacam, Betacam Sp, DVCAM, HDV and Mini DDV in an apartment they rented to set up the digital archive of 3,000 films, of which 600 have already been digitalized.

The documentaries featured in the digital archive, which will be available to view as of August of this year, are not just limited to one subject, with films available for both adults and children. Once the library is complete, it will be available at www.arsiv-ist.com, and starting next month, those visiting the site will be able to access information about the films on the site.

The purpose of Arşivist

According to Türkeri and BSB Chairman Hasan Özgen, Arşivist is a multidimensional project. In addition to the online archive, documentaries will be screened at the offices of Arşivist, while a team will collect documentaries produced in Turkey. It will screen international documentaries with Turkish subtitles for documentary producers and those interested in documentaries, while Turkish documentaries screened will be subtitled in Arabic and English. Arşivist is also aiming to have films by European documentary makers in its library. Further to this, documentary producers will be able to acquire exclusive membership to the site, making it a sort of an online portal for documentary producers.

Within a matter of a few years, a membership system will also be created for those interested in documentary film, who will be able to view any documentary they want from anywhere in the world. Moreover, directors and producers will be able to store documentary footage they have shot, meaning it will not only be an archive of documentaries that are complete, but will also become a source of various visual materials that will also serve researchers, academics, students and art lovers.


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