World Day of Audiovisual Heritage: Highlights of UN Audio and Photo Archives
What do the movies Transformers 3, Independence Day, Lord of War and King Kong have in common? They all used archival material obtained from the United Nations in their production. Many more movie did the same.
And what about Khrushchev banging his fist during the debate on the Congo crisis; Yasser Arafat’s famed “rifle and olive branch” speech; Castro, Deng Xiaoping, Mandela, Kings and Queens and occasionally the Pope? These historic footage is all kept at the United Nations audiovisual archives.
And what’s more? Film footage going back to the League of Nations – the Commission of Enquiry into Events in Manchuria on the eve of the WWII, for example; Security Council meetings dealing with all major issues related to international peace and security since 1945; UN Radio dramas featuring Laurence Olivier, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby; interviews with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and footballer Pelé; concerts by world renowned orchestras in the General Assembly Hall…
The audio and photo archives held by the UN Department of Public Information (http://www.un.org/av/) are a unique collection that tells the stories not only of international diplomacy that shaped our history but also of the people and the times they lived in. The collection comprises 37,500 hours of film and video, 800,000 photographs, and about 55,000.00 hours of audio recordings.
27 October is World Day of Audiovisual Heritage, declared by UNESCO in 2005, a day which aims to raise awareness of the importance of audiovisual documents and draw attention to the urgent need to safeguard them.