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London: A Bigger Picture

Date posted: 11.09.2013

Film London, through the London's Screen Archives (LSA) network, has received a grant of almost £500,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for 'London: A Bigger Picture'. A major three-year project starting in January 2014, it will give people in 15 of London's Outer Boroughs a chance to see and learn about historic film of their area and encourage them to share their own home movie records of the region's past.

"This groundbreaking project will explore London's history through the medium of film over the past 50 years," says Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London. "Aiming to open up a visual window onto a world gone by through the discovery of public information films, home movies, and newsreel the project will engage people of all ages across the capital to get involved and help bring alive this fascinating aspect of our history."

Though much wonderful material exists documenting local life on film, there are huge gaps in the collections of areas, decades and communities that are not represented and this project will work with local groups - from elders to schoolchildren - to fill these gaps and create a 'bigger picture' of London life.

In an exciting initiative, the project will re-create the hugely popular travelling outdoor cinema of the 1930s, the 'KinoVan', which will tour shopping areas, festivals and schools to screen local footage and offer expert assessment of residents' home movies. Screenings in local venues will also introduce residents to the rich treasures that exist in the borough collections and there will be lots of opportunities to get 'hands on' with real film and find out how to look after it.

Through screenings, outreach events, training and digital initiatives, 'London: A Bigger Picture' will engage local communities with their borough's screen heritage and expects to benefit over 65,000 people, with thousands more engaging online. The project will focus specifically on reaching groups who would not typically watch heritage film and those whose stories are not well represented in London's current moving image collections.

"I am delighted to get 'London: A Bigger Picture' off the ground and am grateful for the vision and commitment of the Heritage Lottery Fund for seeing the potential in this innovative project," Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission. "London is as unique as it is varied, and this project will work to ensure the richness and diversity of this great city is properly documented through film, across the whole of the capital."

Other elements of 'London: A Bigger Picture' include the 'Make Your Own Screen Heritage' project which will see young people seeking out hidden films in their communities and using them to make their own films reflecting on their local area, which in turn will become a future archive film. While newly digitised films and videos will be screened online, and the public will be invited to add vital information to the film's catalogue records, enhancing the value of the films for future viewers.

All activities will encourage local communities to collect and donate 'home movies' to their borough collection in order to build a more comprehensive archive, preserving precious records of London's past for current and future audiences. All donated material will be digitised, and the donors will receive a DVD copy of their contribution.

Managed by Film London, London's Screen Archives (LSA) is a network of over 120 public collections with moving image materials. It acts as the virtual 'regional film archive' for London. Digitised films and videos can be viewed on the LSA YouTube channel.

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