The National Film Society Collection

Film poster depicting a sinister-looking bearded man dressed in black

The National Film Society’s collection came to the Academy Film Archive in late 2006. It consists of videotaped interviews with industry professionals, film preservationists and scholars at the society’s annual convention, as well as footage of various awards ceremonies including the Artistry in Cinema Awards. The collection also includes footage of the Jack Oakie Awards, an awards show which highlighted the best in comedy on film (named appropriately after comedian Jack Oakie), as well as footage of an awards show dedicated to achievements in Hollywood musicals. The National Film Society also hosted other events, including panels and educational seminars that were open to the public and film community. In addition, the society produced a bimonthly publication, American Classic Screen, which highlighted filmmakers from the past and present and gave film historians and enthusiasts a forum for education and discussion. These publications, as well as original programs from the various awards shows, are available for viewing at the Margaret Herrick Library.

More about the National Film Society

From 1974 to the mid-1980s, the National Film Society held a prestigious place in the entertainment industry, producing a heavily attended annual convention of filmmakers, actors, scholars, collectors, film archivists and enthusiasts alike. The yearly convention included a star-studded, high-profile awards show called the Artistry in Cinema Awards, honoring cinema’s greatest pioneers. The convention, held in New York City, allowed the multi-faceted organization to present events ranging from screen tributes to the ladies of jazz and blues from book signings of major biographical works to appearances by stars such as Bette Davis.  Davis appeared in 1982 at the Artistry in Cinema Awards to accept the Golden Reel Award for her contribution to cinema. She is quoted in the 1983 awards program as saying, “It’s a wonderful thing…that a group of people give a damn about an industry that has been for 52 years a great part of my life… It is so commendable.”