Most of the video information retrieval systems today rely on some set of computationally extracted video and/or audio features, which may be complemented with manually created annotation that is usually either arduous to create or insufficient for capturing the content. This thesis looks at the specific domain of motion pictures to identify the computational features relevant to films and, moreover, to investigate the use of actual motion picture planning documentation as a source of high quality annotation and metadata on films. The goal is to enable more advanced content-based retrieval of films without proportionately increasing the amount of manual annotation work. The underlying research includes a study of the concepts involved in film grammar and narrative structure, and a series of empirical viewer tests through which a key set of metadata describing the content and structure of motion picture material is identified. Through these activities the requirements for an end-to-end framework for harvesting and utilizing motion picture metadata is developed. The framework includes a range of tools for processing the motion picture documentation into metadata descriptions, a novel browser through which films and their metadata can be explored and the metadata models used by these tools.