Irish Film & TV Research Online is a website designed to bring together the wide diversity of research material relating to Irish-made cinema and television as well as to Irish-themed audio-visual representations produced outside of Ireland. It incorporates three searchable databases: Irish Film & Television Index; Irish Film & Television Biographies; and Irish Film & Television Bibliography; and the Irish Postgraduate Film Research Seminar, an annual conference of film studies’ postgraduate students based in Ireland or engaged in researching Irish material elsewhere. The project is based in the School of Drama, Film and Music, Trinity College Dublin.
The impetus for the Irish Film & Television Index was Kevin Rockett’s The Irish Filmography: Fiction Films 1896 – 1996 (1996), which documented all fiction films made in Ireland and about Ireland and the Irish produced worldwide since the beginnings of cinema. Under the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ Major Grant Scheme, 2003-05, funding was awarded to update the original filmography and to document, with the same worldwide remit, all major non-fiction films, including newsreels, and animation, made for cinema and television. In addition to the IRCHSS, the other sponsors of the project are Trinity College Dublin; the Higher Education Authority’s North South Programme for Collaborative Research, 2003-06; and Bord Scannán na héireann/Irish Film Board, 2006.
Since 2003, filmographer and archivist Eugene Finn has been expanding the database which, incorporating the original Irish Filmography, has drawn on the archival and paper records of many of the world’s leading film archives and specialist libraries, including ones in Ireland, Britain, the USA, and Australia. We are especially grateful for the on-going support we receive from the Irish Film Institute’s archive and library. At present the Irish Film & Television Index has almost 40,000 titles, while new entries will be added in an on-going way.
The two complementary databases covering biographies and bibliography which are still in the early stages of development will be expanded over time. In addition, the ambition is to use the website as a publishing outlet for new research, as well as for out-of-print publications and archival documents, including, it is hoped, the extensive records of Ireland’s film censors.
While the website will need on-going editorial maintenance and development, its value for researchers, whether academic, from within the film industry, or the general public, is in its easy packaging of information concerning Irish-made or Irish-themed audio-visual material. In many cases, such information may have been gathered from numerous sources both within Ireland and elsewhere. Using the searchable fields, a researcher can almost instantly find a particular film, its cast list or production personnel, read a synopsis of its content, establish where a copy of it might be held, what has been written about it, identify a list of complementary titles through a keyword search, or, using the biographical database, access further information on cast and crew.
As a living archive, we would encourage feedback and invite online visitors to contribute to the development of the project by sending us information, additions and amendments.