Since its beginning, the Festival dei Popoli has taken on the connotation of an international event, receiving regard from authors and production houses around the world.
The large variety of films collected in the Festival dei Popoli Archives reflects the evolution of documentary cinema over the last 60 years. The Archives cover a broad spectrum of itineraries of human experience: Anthropology and Sociology, historical and political processes, Current Affairs, Way of Life, Society, Information, Art, reflection on the media and the impact of new technologies, Ecology and the Environment, public and private memory, and many others.
In 2019, a project aimed at integrating the audiovisual Archives of Festival dei Popoli within that of Mediateca Toscana was launched, as part of the Agreement for the enhancement of the Archival and Bibliographic Heritage, the coordination of interventions and protection in the field of Archives and Libraries between the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, the Archival and Bibliographic Superintendence of Tuscany and the Tuscan Region. The project foresees the progressive arrangement, digitisation and cataloguing of over 15,000 documentary titles selected from Festival dei Popoli Archives within the Mediateca Toscana Digital Platform.
The possibility of carrying out studies, research and in-depth studies through the consultation of an international audiovisual heritage (more than 92 countries are represented) available in a single archive, through an online catalogue with bilingual Italian-English files, indexed with keywords, amplifies the international scope of the archives, especially for the presence, alongside the works of recognised masters of the genre, of many thousands of films of international origin which have not enjoyed widespread distribution and which remain, to date, waiting to be studied and enhanced. The very nature of the documentary, i.e. the visual documentation of facts and events, is of great interest not only to those who carry out historical and critical studies on cinema, but also to many other disciplines, both humanistic and technical-scientific, which have found in audiovisuals a profitable area of investigation.
Throughout the year, the Institute organises and promotes events to enhance the archives, in the form of film reviews, cycles of meetings and screenings, and thematic in-depth studies. These events, aimed both at the general public and, more specifically, at professionals and students, can also be organised in collaboration with other partners with a view to creating synergies. Among the activities envisaged for the valorisation of the audiovisual heritage, an inventory of the videos filmed during the past editions of the Festival dei Popoli is currently being carried out, containing interviews, meetings and master classes held by some of the most representative international documentary filmmakers. These materials, still unpublished, will be edited for the creation of the series "Memories of the Future", lessons in documentary cinema held by internationally renowned filmmakers.