During his early career as a highly successful dealer in Old Master and modern paintings, Anthony Roland realized the importance of communicating the art experience. He felt that through film he could capture the cinematographic qualities in art. Art film was to become his vocation.
His first film was an immediate success, and subsequent titles won wide acclaim and numerous awards. He developed a technique of filming without narration, creating an aesthetic continuity that emotionally envelops the audience, allowing them to sense the 'soul' of the artist.
The founder of the collection Anthony Roland has devoted himself to the medium of film on art and its promotion, unearthing the best examples of the genre – those which combine filmic excellence with real empathy for the art they deal with – steadily developing his collection and establishing efficient worldwide distribution for its titles.
He has lectured, conducted workshops and acted as consultant to museums and public bodies internationally. During the late 1960s he founded the two-cinema Art Film Centre in central London. Then in the 1980s in Edinburgh, Washington DC and New York he presented the revolutionary 'Artscope', a traveling art museum in motion-picture form, consisting of sixteen open-air cinemas, which took his collection literally 'to the people'.
The passion and integrity with which Anthony Roland crusades for the cause of the art film is evident in the quality of his collection. Many of the titles have been secured only through enormous determination and against the odds – saving unique material, pursuing film rights, tracking down negatives, transferring footage laboriously on to new formats compatible with developing technology. At the same time he is committed to keeping original, superior-quality formats available. Where possible, he offers programs in one or more languages in addition to English.