Lights, camera, action!

… and where it all began.
Our guest speaker at our next monthly meeting on Thursday 14 November 2019 at the Union Church and Community Centre will be Professor Ian Christie. Ian will give an illustrated talk on Robert Paul, Britain’s forgotten creator of cinema Rescuing a pioneer: Britain’s forgotten creator of cinema.
Not many people, even among film enthusiasts, realise that what we know as cinema really started in London in 1896. Robert Paul demonstrated his new projector on the same day at the Lumieres reached London, and within weeks both their and his shows were competing at major music halls in Leicester Square. But unlike the Lumieres, or indeed Edison, Paul wanted to expand the range of what animated photography could do. Over the next five years, he pioneered multi-scene fiction films, literary adaptation, documentary and many other kinds of film. With his wife, he opened Britain’s first studio, in Muswell Hill, in 1898, and built up a substantial international business – not only in film, but also in scientific instruments. So why is Paul not better known? Ian will be offering some suggestions, as well as showing a selection of Paul’s surviving films.

Ian Christie is a film and media historian, currently professor at Birkbeck College and also lecturing for Gresham College. He broadcasts regularly and turns up on DVDs of films by Powell and Pressburger, Terry Gilliam and assorted Russians. Before Birkbeck, he worked at the British Film Institute, where he ran distribution, regional programming and video publishing. Exhibitions he has worked on include Spellbound: Art and Film (1996), Unexpected Eisenstein (2016), Revolution: Russian Art 1917-32 (RA, 2017), Animatograph! (re-opening at London Metropolitan Archives, Sept 2019).
Doors open for refreshment at 10.00 a.m. (please bring your own cup or mug). Talk begins at 10.45 a.m.