The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon

Notes from watching the first chapter Life and Times

The lost films (in the 1920’s) of Mitchell and Kenyon was discovered in the basement of a Blackburn shop by some builders who contacted a local film enthusiast (Peter Warden) before deciding to throw them away or not. 2 large metal containers of 850 silver nitrate film reels, which were transferred to the BFI (Berkhamsted) for restoration. Each minute of film consisting of 960 frames restored over the following 3 years, 800 films in all.

Mitchell and Kenyon

Mitchell was a photographer and Kenyon a maker of penny arcade machines jointly founded the firm, which became Norden Films and forayed into short dramas.

These films while not essentially documentaries are records of life in Edwardian Britain. This was a purely commercial endeavour with the films marketed direct to the public by people wearing sandwich boards with details of the weeks lates film. Essentially people were attracted to see themselves on film.

AT the time editing didn’t exist and there was no camera movement so the films were one long continuous shot without zoom and using the same angle so they had to be creative with the mounting of the camera for example on the top deck of a Tram.

There were no Cinemas and so their films were screened in the local halls or at the fairground in tents. They were prolific and visited many locations including Northern Ireland.

Peter Worden (1938-2013)

When the collection, consisting of hundreds of films of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain, was discovered in a basement in 1994, it was Peter who was its initial and tireless custodian and conservator. In 2000, he donated the collection to the nation and it entered the vaults of the BFI National Archive. What followed was a huge preservation, restoration and research project in collaboration between the BFI and the University of Sheffield.

Anon, Peter Worden (1938-2013). British Film Institute. Available at: https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/peter-worden-1938-2013 [Accessed November 17, 2019].

7 minute free writing exercise

In todays seminar we conducted a free writing exercise, which I found particularly useful for collecting my thoughts on a couple of subjects. One example was of how to write a first draft chapter from your notes.

Using the same techniques I decided to set myself the task of in just 7 minutes describing what my PhD is about, without referencing my notes or any other materials – this is the result.

7-minute free writing exercise.

What is your PhD about?

My PhD investigates the relationship between collective memory and the memories of people going to the cinema. In particular I am looking at the relationship between dementia patients and their experience of visiting the cinema. Why dementia sufferers? Because they by definition, because of their short-term memory loss live in the past and their memories of going to the cinema are also in the past. To cater for this there are cinemas across the UK that offer special film screenings specifically for the experience of dementia sufferers. The films screened are from a previous era but to a dementia patient they believe it is in the current time and so they experience it in this way. In addition, there is an article that mentions that dementia sufferers experience something positive when exposed to sound and light which of course is what we all experience when we attend the cinema as the cinema is a sound and light experience. With this in mind it will be useful to consider whether the film shown is relevant or whether it is just the experience of the sound and light coming from the screen that engages the audience. Coming back to the collective memory it is important to consider how people remember the cinema going experience, do they experience it as individuals or is it a collective memory experience?

The guidelines to this exercise are to write continuously without concerns for grammar, punctuation or spelling. In this example I have retrospectively corrected some spelling and punctuation but I haven’t added or deleted any words, so what you see is effectively what I wrote in 7 minutes.

How does this help? well I think most of what I have written is how I subconsciously feel about my PhD and recently acquired knowledge, however to be really useful I would need to go through the text and add citations particularly regarding the sound and light reference as that came directly from a recent newspaper article.

Dementia Friendly Screenings

The Dukes Theatre/Cinema in Moor Lane, Lancaster City, run a series of Dementia Friendly Screenings a number of dementia friendly events events that including Cinema screenings of old films as part of the initiative  ‘A Life More Ordinary’, which involves partner venues nationwide.

The Dukes website states – ALMO was designed to give people with dementia and their family members more choice, control and greater access to leisure and cultural opportunities.It was set up primarily for those living in the community but a significant number from residential care settings have participated too.ALMO began with screenings of classic films which were also open to the general public. (the Dukes)

This would represent an ideal opportunity for further research and for possible inclusion in the films production. There is also the possibility of researching local archives for footage of the Dukes and cinema audiences for background history of the venue and its position in the local community as an independent cinema and events venue.

the Dukes. (2019). A Life More Ordinary Exceeds Expectations | the Dukes. [online] Available at: https://dukes-lancaster.org/life-ordinary-exceeds-expectations/ [Accessed 3 Oct. 2019].

Phenomenology

Phenomenology

Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object. An experience is directed toward an object by virtue of its content or meaning (which represents the object) together with appropriate enabling conditions.

Woodruff-Smith, D. (2019). Phenomenology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). [online] Plato.stanford.edu. Available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/ [Accessed 21 Sep. 2019].

Historical Archive Film Footage – Film pre-production

Notes: Historical Archive Film Footage

Historical Archive Film Footage

I need to research historical/archived film footage for Cinema and Cinema goers typically after the 1960’s but before the turn of the century. I will need to get permission to use this footage in my documentary film.

It would be helpful to find footage that is local to Lancaster in order for there to be a direct comparison between then and now, however if that is not possible then I must consider filming at the locations that I do identify for example Blackpool might be a possibility.