San Francisco Cinematheque Digital Archives

San Francisco Cinematheque's Archives

About San Francisco Cinematheque: Founded in 1961 by filmmaker Bruce Baillie in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Cinematheque is a non-profit media arts organization dedicated to the cultivation of the international field of non-commercial artist-made cinema. San Francisco Cinematheque inspires aesthetic dialog among artists, stimulates critical discourse, and encourages appreciation of artist-made cinema across the broader cultural landscape. Cinematheque is dedicated to presenting and encouraging study and appreciation of film, video and performance works which engage with the histories and traditions associated with forms of cinema identified under various non-commercial rubrics as avant-garde, experimental, underground, personal, graphic, abstract, expanded, visionary (etc, etc, etc), including formally innovative narrative and documentary, animated works and other marginalized forms. In its dedication to supporting aesthetically radical cinema from all historical eras and geo-political locales, Cinematheque celebrates the breadth and depth of this vibrant art form.

About the Archives: The physical Archives of San Francisco Cinematheque consist of approximately 5,275 files of paper materials (including over 1,600 artist files); hundreds of still images; approximately 800 individual books, periodicals and film distribution catalogs and countless digital files (of varying formats) collected during the 61-year history of the organization. These collections contain information on thousands of films, hundreds of individual artists, hundreds of exhibiting organizations and the curatorial and administrative history of San Francisco Cinematheque itself. In maintaining and developing archival collections, San Francisco Cinematheque is dedicated to supporting academic and curatorial research into the field(s) of non-commercial artist-made cinema (as described above).  Largely uncataloged, these Archives are accessible to the research public (by appointment) as a benefit of Membership. For inquiries (general or specific) relating to Cinematheque’s Archives, please contact We encourage exploration of our Online Resources.

Books: Cinematheque’s collection of publications is cataloged on LibraryThing at These books do not circulate. For inquiries regarding this collection, please contact

Digital Archives: As of May 2022, Cinematheque’s digital collections include the organization’s compiled Program Notes 1984–2000 and the Avant to Live! Craig Baldwin/Other Cinema Digital Collection. Coming soon(ish): San Francisco Cinematheque Programming Calendars 1978–2013! Access Digital Collections here.