The Cristaldi archive represents the first experience in Italy of cataloguing the papers of a film production company and opening them to public consultation.
He took part in the Resistance in northern Italy and, with his brigade, arrived in Rome following th liberation, where he witnessed the making of Roma città aperta. It was this experience that caused him to fall in love with cinema.
It stands as testimony to the activity of Franco Cristaldi, one of the most important entrepreneurs of the postwar Italian film industry, and of the many companies he founded, from Vides Spa Produzione cinematografica (1954) to Cristaldifilm Srl (1980), in the course of a long and remarkably coherent career in film production.
In the early 1980s, Franco Cristaldi acquired exclusive rights to the films he had produced with Lux Film. Later, his heirs completed purchase of the company from the Gualino family. in this way, documents relating to the national and international distribution of Lux from 1945 to the end of the 1970s were incorporated into the Cristaldi archive.
The largest part of the archive is constituted by documents concerning the films, television series and documentaries produced by Cristaldi.
The papers relate to every aspect of his operations and include scripts, lineups, estimated and actual costings, agreements and contracts, schedules, correspondence, collaborators’ notes and memos, work diaries, press clippings, box office reports, national and international prizes and awards.
Of particular interest are materials relating to films that were never made, which range from brief comments on storylines to highly-developed projects which were abandoned just before they went into production.
The large quantity of administrative and accounting papers (payment books, purchase registers, journals and ledgers, financial reports, minutes of company meetings, requests for finance) convey the complexity of Cristaldi’s companies and the evolution of their structure over time, offering significant insights into his entrepreneurial creativity. The hand-written notes that the producer was accustomed to add in the margins of financial statements and account summaries offer a further important source for the understanding of his modus operandi.
Cristaldi was not only a great producer but also an authoritative spokesman for the industry at national and international level. The archive contains papers relating to his activity as president or council member of such national and international associations as ANICA, SIAE, FIAPF and AGICOA.