The Greenpeace Communications department moved from London to Amsterdam in 1996. As is often the case, the move deeply affected the organization. Staff members resigned, and others were hired. New staff members were confronted unexpectedly with legacies from the past for which they had little use at the time. Among the surprises was a vast film and video archive. The GPI staff members had the presence of mind to appreciate what a wonderful collection they had received.
Greenpeace, which was established in 1971, attributes much of its success to selecting the right motion pictures. Greenpeace has understood better than any other organization the power of images in the struggle against global environmental pollution. Few will ever forget the scenes of the activists risking their lives rushing through the icy Antarctica waters in inflatable dinghies among the cruel hunters and whales. In the early 1970s the organization consisted of activists and film and television producers, who were not always clearly distinct.
The preservation of motion pictures from the early years is of immense historical importance (the collection includes material from 1975 onward). This also complicates access and conservation, which are difficult and costly operations for an organization dedicated to current events. Council has been sought regarding the most practical storage method. In the course of 1998, Greenpeace contacted the IISH and entrusted its film collection to the Institute. As a result of all these activities, activists and camera people who had preserved this material over the years added ever more to the collection, in the hope of ensuring proper storage.
As a result, the IISH now has a collection of 1,667 films (16 and 35 mm), including wonderful documents such as films on the struggle against whale hunting: Salvad las Ballenas and Voyage to save the whales. Antarctica is well represented in the collection. The films are from the period 1975 to 1997, with most from the 1980s. Greenpeace authorizes consultation of the collection. The original owners will obviously retain all rights as well.
A small selection of Greenpeace films.