Collection features directors and actors such as Michael Powell, Francesca Annis & Sadie Frost.

The BFI have acquired world rights in all media for the Children’s Film Foundation (CFF) collection of around 400 British short films, features and serials that were produced for young audiences from the 1950s to the 1980s.

A non-profit making pan-industry initiative, the CFF was set up in 1951 to make home-grown entertainment for young cinemagoers with the CFF’s legacy being its encouragement of directorial and acting talent including Michael Powell, Lewis Gilbert, Francesca Annis, Sadie Frost and Michael Crawford. Key themes of the films included adventure, mysteries, science-fiction, ship wrecks and animals, with strong regional content from Scotland to the South West of England.

The films are now preserved in the BFI National Archive with several films from the collection already available to watch for free in BFI Mediatheques, with more to be available soon. A selection of the films will be screened at BFI Southbank and released on BFI DVD over the next few years. The first to be released from the collection will be The Children’s Film Foundation Collection: London Tales, featuring three London-based tales including Operation Third Form [pictured] from 1966, available on DVD from July 23.

Commenting on the collection, Jane Giles, the BFI’s Head of Content said: “These films are a fascinating historical record of children’s entertainment over 40 years with much to say about society. We hope that adults with fond memories will be keen to introduce them to younger generations.”

The CFF is now known as The Children’s Media Foundation, chaired by Anna Home.