Five years on, we continue our celebration of Bristol’s status as UNESCO City of Film, a global recognition of the city's outstanding contribution to film culture.
This year, as part of #BristolFilm2021, Cinema Rediscovered has teamed up with Bristol Ideas and South West Silents to present Opening up the Magic Box, a celebration of Victorian cinema innovator William Friese-Greene on the centenary of his death; “as famous for not having invented cinema as he is for inventing it.” (The Guardian, May 2021.)
We welcome back film director and historian Peter Domankiewicz who has spent over 20 years researching Friese-Greene, is about to start a PhD on the subject and is determined to reinstate Friese-Greene as one of the great figures in the development of the moving image. Domankiewicz also believes that Friese-Greene is someone who should be credited with more than he has been to date, including his support of women photographers and his willingness to collaborate on projects.
There's an opportunity to watch the all-star 1951 biopic, The Magic Box and listen to insights from Peter Domankiewicz and arts historian Sir Christopher Frayling, who have each contributed a chapter on the rediscovery of Friese-Greene for a new Bristol Ideas book of essays published this autumn. #BristolFilm2021
Always looking to the future, Friese-Greene created some of the earliest colour film systems, leading to his son Claude capturing 1920s Britain in colour in The Open Road, which will screen with a live accompaniment from world famous composer and musician Neil Brand.
Opening Up the Magic Box – a heritage element of the Film 2021 programme – marks the centenary of the death of Bristol-born film pioneer William Friese-Greene and the 125th anniversary of the first public cinema screening in Bristol, which took place at the Tivoli on 8 June 1896, as well as celebrating Bristol – a UNESCO City of Film since 2017.
This event is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.