Media Burn Archive collects, restores and distributes documentary video created by artists, activists and community groups. Media Burn is a project of the Fund for Innovative TV, which has been producing challenging documentary video and television since 1990.
    Our mission is to preserve audiovisual records of history and culture and to engage audiences with their creative reuse.
    The national significance of the collection of more than 7,000 videos has been recognized with grants from the National Archives, the “Save America’s Treasures” program of the NEH, the NEA, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Your support is a critical part of our success. Please donate today.
    The boxes of tapes in your basement or closet may be deteriorating much faster than you think. You will have no better chance of transferring them successfully and for a reasonable cost than today. Media Burn is a boutique footage transfer service that provides highly personalized attention to your project.

New Videos

  • The Legacy of Chernobyl

    The Legacy of Chernobyl

    “I can see war. I cannot see radiation. I look around one day and I am dead.” —Dick Gregory, 1979 Illinois is a state of nuclear renown. The first ever atomic chain reaction took place at the University of Chicago in 1942. In 1960 the nation’s first full-scale, privately financed nuclear power plant, Dresden Generating Station, opened in northern Illinois. Today, Illinois continues to be the number one nuclear power producer in the U.S. and a nexus of the debate around … Continue reading

  • Never before seen Prince profile from 1984

    Never before seen Prince profile from 1984

    Prince, superstar singer, songwriter, and producer, died yesterday, April 21. We just unearthed and uploaded a never before seen profile of Prince from 1984 from a TV pilot called Rocker. The hosts of the show are Chicago radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier and TV personality Paula Yates. It was produced just after the release of Purple Rain. The video has never been broadcast or seen in 32 years.

  • An independent perspective on Trump’s “postponed” rally in Chicago

    An independent perspective on Trump’s “postponed” rally in Chicago

    The New York Republican and Democratic primaries are tomorrow (April 19). No doubt, Donald J. Trump has been the most surprising and controversial candidate in 2016. Trump, a television star, and his relationship to media are historically significant, regardless of how one feels about him or his candidacy. He has more Republican delegates, has spent more of his own money, and had far more media coverage than any other presidential candidate. Trump’s Chicago rally in early March brought out hundreds of … Continue reading

  • [Selects from Daley]

    This video features segments from a documentary about Richard J. Daley, the 48th Mayor of Chicago, entitled “Daley.” In the video, we learn about Daley’s upbringing, his rise to the mayoral office, and his influence in both Chicago and national politics. Continue reading

  • Opening Day: Bill Veeck’s Signs of Spring

    Opening Day: Bill Veeck’s Signs of Spring

    “I have discovered in 20 years of moving around a ballpark that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats.” —Bill Veeck It’s opening day at Wrigley Field and the Cubs will play the first game of their 100th season at Wrigley. To celebrate we have a video of legendary baseball owner Bill Veeck in the stands at Wrigley on opening day 1985. As a fan and an owner Bill Veeck offered a … Continue reading

  • The Purpose and Power of Video

    The Purpose and Power of Video

    Founded in 1985, Videomaker Magazine became the first magazine for non-professional video camera users. Beginning as a bi-monthly publication, Videomakerstrove to make the process accessible, including a beginner’s guide for users and cataloging the video cameras available at the time. Videomaker Inc. has since grown into the #1 national consumer magazine for video enthusiasts and continues to empower people to make video through an increasing variety of educational platforms. Matt York is the founder of Videomaker and has been ahead … Continue reading

  • Hate Mail: Lost documentary saved

    Hate Mail: Lost documentary saved

    Earlier this month, we got a nod from the Dallas Morning News for our recent digitization and ongoing preservation of “Hate Mail,” a 1992 documentary on racism produced by Mark Birnbaum and Bart Weiss that has been unavailable to the wider public for most of its life. The documentary gets its name from the spiteful missive sent to Bob Ray Sanders, a black talk radio host on an otherwise predominantly white radio station in Dallas, TX. Birnbaum and Weiss interviewed … Continue reading

  • Right On: A Friend Remembers Fred Hampton

    Right On: A Friend Remembers Fred Hampton

    “Right On: A Friend Remembers Fred Hampton” [1989 |18 minutes] Veteran community activist Jorja English Palmer [1930-2005] talks of the events of 1948-1969 which led Fred Hampton to the leadership of the Illinois Black Panther Party and to his murder by Chicago police as part of the FBI’s secret counter intelligence program – COINTELPRO.