The idea of organizing a film archive was born only 3 years after the first film-show of the Lumier Brothers in 1895. In 1898 Polish photographer and cameraman Boleslaw Matuszewski developed the idea of creating national film archives. But first national film archives were founded in 1935 in London and New York, and in 1936 – in France. These three organizations along with the Berlin National Film Archive formed in 1938 the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).
Every institution has a history. Even when it collects history itself. And history likes facts and dates. Unfortunately the Bulgarian Film Archive has only few documents of its foundation.
The year of the making of the first Bulgarian feature film Bulgaran is gallant, dir. Vassil Gendov, is disputable (1910 or 1915) and the exact date of foundation of the Film Archive also varies in the memories of the people who worked there.
After nationalization of our filmmaking in 1948 a National Film Museum was founded.
Its beginnings were laid again by the pioneer of Bulgarian cinema Vassil Gendov.
He collected the film-copies of the distribution net, of the nationalized distributors, found and restored posters, photos and materials about our film-making history. The Film Archive started with 154 newsreels, 117 short films, most of them shot by foreign cameramen, 15 Bulgarian feature-films, 500 foreign feature-films and about 550 Bulgarian documentaries and popular science films.