Film research and cinema studies guide

Ways of researching film at the State Library Victoria

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Alex Gionfriddo
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Subjects: Art & architecture

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Film (also known as cinema or movies) has been one of the main forms of entertainment worldwide since its inception in the 1890s. This medium has adapted to technological advances and in today's age of smartphones and the internet, people still want to watch films.

This guide has been developed to assist film and cinema research using the varied resources of our Library, both online and in print.

Watercolour of scene at night, men seated in open air cinema, movie screen in front of them, bamboo fencing and doorway with crown at lintel in foreground. Moon partially hidden by clouds.

Regent Theatre, Noemfoor Island [art original] / Vernon Jones H2007.115/33

Watching film and documentary

State Library Victoria holds a small collection of documentary, short films and feature films.

To check if we hold particular items, search our catalogue and use the 'Refine results by' options to filter results by selecting 'Video/DVD' underneath 'Resource type'.

These items can be ordered from storage and viewed on viewing screens within our Arts Reading Room.

Many local public libraries have very good holdings of films and tv shows, as do various academic libraries.

Other places that hold thorough resources (including very hard to find items) to view by appointment are:


The library subscribes to some streaming databases that are related to documentary and filmmaking in general. Please see the databases listed below (library login required)