1000’s OF UNSEEN FILMS ABOUT LIFE IN THE UK REVEALED FOR THE FIRST TIME
INCLUDING DISCOVERY OF WORLD’S EARLIEST HOME MOVIES FROM 1902
The BFI today launches Britain on Film, a new project that reveals hidden histories and forgotten stories of people and places from the UK’s key film and TV archives. From today the archives go digital on BFI Player, giving everybody in the UK free1 access to 1,000s of film and TV titles featuring where they live, grew up, went to school, holidayed as a child, or any place of interest in Britain. By 2017, thanks to National Lottery funding and the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, 10,000 film and TV titles from 1895 to the present day will be digitised. The public can get involved with the project via Twitter and Facebook, with a campaign launching today that sees 60 films from all over the UK released over 60 days, and special screenings, events and partnerships across the UK. Also announced today is a newly-commissioned film from Penny Woolcock, using Britain on Film material.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said “Britain on Film is a fantastic initiative and I congratulate the BFI and the national and regional archives on the huge amount of work they have put into creating a truly remarkable project. I’m particularly delighted that Britain on Film will be reaching the British public in so many different ways this summer all over the UK, and encourage everyone to check it out online via the BFI Player.”
Through the project, Britain on Film curators have found extraordinary footage of ordinary people and places from across the collections. These include:
NORTHERN ENGLAND – Davy Crockett (1955): a police officer playing Davy Crockett rides through the city of Hull to get a road safety message across to children
The Bradford Godfather (1976): a heart-warming documentary about the founding father of Bradford’s Pakistani community
There are over 19 clips from Bradford starting as far back as the late 1800’s
Scenes at Chester on the River Dee (1901): shot during the Chester Regatta of 1901 by the pioneering British company Mitchell and Kenyon
THE MIDLANDS – Evidence (1935): first film used in an English court of law to prosecute an illegal gambling ring in the town of Chesterfield, with an appearance by three circus elephants
RobinBaker,HeadCurator,BFIsaid “For120yearscamerashavecapturedalmosteveryaspectof life in the UK on film, but too often these have been inaccessible to all but the most determined researchers. Now, Britain on Film is transforming access to films from the UK’s archives and giving new life to them by making them available, no matter where you live.”
Britain on Film is the result of the BFI National Archive and the UK’s national and regional film archives and rights holders joining forces to bring these films together with a major programme of curation and digitisation that started in 2012 and continues until the end of 2017.
www.facebook.com/BritishFilmInstitute / #BritainOnFilm