Thursday, January 08, 2015

Rolf Lindfors (FIAF obituary by Jon Wengström)

FIAF, International Federation of Film Archives

Dear colleagues,

We are sad to inform you that Rolf Lindfors, former Head of the Archival Film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute in Stockholm, died on December 22nd, 2014 at the age of 75.

After studies in Uppsala, where he also ran the local ciné-club, Rolf Lindfors was in 1968 hired by Harry Schein, founder and then-CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, to become the Curator of the Archival Film Collections, a position he held until 2003. When Rolf arrived, the collections were still held at the Museum for Science and Technology, and with Schein he ensured that the new facilities of Filmhuset, when they were ready to take in use in 1971, included one of the first sub-zero climate controlled vaults in the world.

In the 1980s and 90s, together with his partner Bertil Wredlund, Rolf published Långfilm i Sverige, a series of volumes on all Swedish and non-Swedish films submitted to the Swedish censorship authorities. The publication included facts about lengths, cuts, distribution titles, release dates etc, which over the years has proven to be an invaluable source of information for scholars and journalists, and arguably the most consulted publication in the daily work of the Stockholm archive staff.

Rolf was a keen champion of the global archival movement, and he was very happy to be involved in hosting the FIAF congress twice (in 1983 and 2003). He served on the FIAF Cataloguing Commission between 1979 and 1997, during which time he worked on the current FIAF cataloguing rules. This experience made Rolf the key figure in the conversion of the catalogue card holdings into the first database of the Swedish Film Institute in the 1990s. He was also very much involved in the establishing of the film archive in Grängesberg, the first Swedish archive for small-gauge and non-professional film, for which he worked as a consultant in his final year at the Swedish Film Institute before retiring in 2004.

Rolf was a very kind and sociable person, with a wry sense of humour and appreciating good food and drinks among friends, and used his vast knowledge of film and archiving for the benefit of others. He was a member of the executive committee of Svenska filmakademin (the Swedish film academy) for many years, and he enjoyed touring all corners of Sweden with illustrated lectures, screening films from the region. I remember with great fondness his generosity in sharing his tremendous experience with me when I was asked to succeed Rolf after his retirement

Jon Wengström
Curator of the Archival Film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute & FIAF Treasurer

Reproduced with the kind permission of Jon Wengström and FIAF.

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