Historical Film Archive Project

Our Film Archive Project is preserving our past for the future

Old films capture moments in time, providing a unique glimpse into the passions, concerns and values of those that came before us. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has one of the most important private collections of vintage films in Canada. Protecting the films that capture the sites and sounds from our early days will ensure we remain connected to that past, and that, in turn, will help guide us into the future.
The Story of Ducks Unlimited (circa 1953)

From its inception in 1938, the DUC leadership knew they had to get their story to audiences across North America. Films were produced annually to document and promote conservation efforts across Canada. Today, DUC has 200,000 feet of 16-millimetre film with more than 70 titles at its national offices at Oak Hammock Marsh, Man. This makes the collection an important historical record of DUC, early Canadian conservation, and—arguably—the nation itself. The collection’s scope makes it unique, among the largest Canadian corporate film archives anywhere.

In 2018, the Government of Canada designated the founding of Ducks Unlimited Canada as a national historic event, the only national conservation organization to be recognized this way. Specifically, this designation acknowledges Ducks Unlimited Canada’s first 40 years of conservation efforts.

The DUC film collection captures just about every major step of its first decades as a fledgling organization. Unfortunately, the films themselves are notoriously fragile. Film stock is particularly vulnerable to the ravages of time and the elements. Without proper care and attention, films from this era simply disintegrate into dusty fragments of acetate.

The urgency to save this extraordinary film archive is very real, and DUC’s response is the Film Archives Project. Using published histories, board meeting minutes, film inspection reports and distribution materials, the scope of the archive has been outlined in a film catalogue. The goal now is to digitally preserve all 70-plus films for current and future use. It’s an ambitious, expensive, labour-intensive project and there’s still a long way to go.


Thank you

Ducks Unlimited Canada acknowledges the support of the Province of Manitoba, Sport, Culture and Heritage, in the creation of this important Film Archive Project.

  • Province of Manitoba

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