Jane Mercer was passionate about film research and film archives. She was pioneering and ground breaking in formalising the Art of Film Research. She defined the profession, without her, production would not understand nor appreciate the work that the film researcher does. She set parameters of the craft and insisted that production see the merit of good film research and by extension how the relationship between researcher and archive brings the best in archive programming. Ever generous with her experience and knowledge, she then set about training, inspiring and encouraging new entrants to the profession. Film Research and Archive Producing today would not the be same without her.
She began her career with Associated Rediffusion Television, later working at the British Film Institute as Press Officer and in the 1970s moved into film research. During the course of her career she worked for all the UK major television companies and in the mid 1990s began teaching a short course at the National Film and Television School. This led her on to do similar work at the BBC, ITN, PACT (the Producers Alliance for Film and Television) and the European Documentary Network.
Jane was Chair of FOCAL International 2000-2005, during which time she championed professional development and training. She received the FOCAL International Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Jane’s words sum up her passion and beliefs: ‘I believe deeply and passionately in what FOCAL is and does and I think that the world of footage libraries and archives, unlike much of the media industry, has a community of aims and ideas and a generosity of spirit which makes working for it not only a great responsibility but also a huge pleasure’.