The Film Reference Library (FRL) is a resource centre devoted to the study of film as art and industry. The Library maintains the world’s largest resource of English-language Canadian film and related materials as well as a wide range of other local, national and international film resources.
The Library assumed operation of the Ontario Film Institute in 1990, when the Province of Ontario selected the Library to be guardian of its film-related holdings and to continue the dedicated work of Gerald Pratley, founder of the OFI, by collecting and preserving materials indispensable to film education, production and research.
The Film Reference Library is a division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG) and is located in downtown Toronto.
Use these links to go directly to these sections of the overview:
Using the collection
What's in it?
How to donate materials
Using the collection
The FRL is open to the general public. Scholars, students, film buffs, journalists and industry professionals from around the world consult its considerable resources.
For more information about what to expect as an FRL user, check out the User Guide & Policies, or Visiting the FRL to help you plan a visit. If you want to become an FRL member, get the details in Membership & Passes.
What's in it?
Books and periodicals
With over 17,000 titles on various topics, Library users have access to a wealth of ideas, information and advice on topics such as film criticism, history, biographies, acting, budgeting, production, screenwriting, experimental film, science fiction, and so forth.
Among the many current periodicals to choose from, you'll find popular magazines (Premiere, Take One), trade papers (Playback, Screen International), critical journals (CineAction!, Asian Cinema, Sight & Sound) and journals devoted
to specific areas, such as writing (Canadian Screenwriter, Creative Screen-writing, scr(i)pt).
Scripts and videos
You can study scripts in various stages — drafts, shooting scripts and published screenplays. For a unique viewpoint, users can combine the Library's script and screening resources — selecting a screenplay, then taking the video and the screenplay to one of the viewing stations. The Library's extensive video study collection includes Canadian features and shorts, hard-to-find materials, Hollywood classics and contemporary and seminal foreign films.
Film production files
In the 60,000 or so film production files, you can examine press kits, photographs, promotional materials, reviews and much more.
The Special Collections feature written documentation, storyboards, scripts, music scores, set designs and memorabilia from Canadian filmmakers. They include extensive donations from David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan and new collections from Jeremy Podeswa, Bruce McDonald, Don Shebib, Prudence Emery, a veteran publicist, and recent additions from Don McKellar and Patricia Rozema.
Posters, photographs, soundtracks and other materials
As part of its exceptional resource bank, the Library has thousands of international film posters, including half-sheets, lobby cards and advertising materials, and over 300,000 production stills, head shots and publicity stills. Approximately 6,000 soundtracks are available on vinyl. The FRL also offers a good selection of film industry and general reference materials.
How to donate materials
Donations of books, periodicals, audio-visual materials, equipment, scripts and other film-related documents contribute to the growth and development of the Library’s collections; therefore, they are given careful consideration. The Library reserves the right to accept or decline prospective donations. If the Library does not accept a gift, the Library director will attempt to suggest alternate courses of action to the donor.
The following guidelines refer to gifts-in-kind only; monetary gifts are referred to the manager, Individual & Foundation Giving. See Ways of Giving for more information about monetary gifts.
Guidelines for acceptance and appraisal of gifts
All gifts shall be directed to the Library director who will determine whether or not to accept them, in consultation with the Acquisitions Committee. The donor must provide a written inventory with the details and in the format specified by the Library.
The donation must meet the criteria of the Acquisition, Access, Cataloguing and Maintenance Policy (click here to review the current policy).
At the time a gift is handed over to the Library, a Deed of Gift Agreement will be signed by the donor. The Library will retain one copy and one will be given to the donor. Single item donations do not require a donation agreement, nor do those materials collected through research or chance. Once the Deed of Gift Agreement is signed, the donor no longer owns the physical material and cannot demand its return.
Tax receipts and tax certificates
Tax receipts and tax certificates will be issued upon the advice the Library director. A written appraisal is required before a tax receipt can be issued.
Material valued at under $1,000 can be appraised in-house by the Library at a nominal cost to the donor. Materials valued at over $1,000 must be professionally appraised by two certified appraisers at the cost of the donor. Three certified appraisers must appraise gifts valued over $500,000.
Tax receipts will be issued in accordance with the Income Tax Act (Canada). Tax certificates will be issued in accordance with the Cultural Property Export and Import Act and the Income Tax Act. Normally, tax receipts or certificates will be issued for the calendar year in which the gift is received. Valuation of donations, when requested, will be at fair market value expressed in Canadian dollars.
In some cases, substantiation of values may be required using documentary evidence such as reference to a recent sale, auction catalogue or private information. For example, a dealer might state personal knowledge of the sale of a comparable item without identifying the client.
Normally, the Library does not accept gifts with restrictions or special conditions attached to them. The Library director, in consultation with the Acquisitions Committee, will decide if special restrictions or conditions are warranted.
TIFFG is a charitable not-for-profit entity serving a public trust, therefore, conflict of interest guidelines must be observed. Province of Ontario officials, TIFFG board of directors, advisory council members, staff or others legally associated with the direction or operation of TIFFG who wish to donate materials for tax receipt purposes must declare a conflict of interest and observe established guidelines. The law prohibits personal profit by those defined above through transactions of this nature.
Documentation and use of materials
Documentation regarding the donation will be retained as part of the collection. The donor will be acknowledged in the provenance field of the database record. Material will not be circulated once it has been added to the collection, as it is for reference purposes only. Researchers are advised of the Canadian Copyright Act when using materials.