Imperialism & 'alternative' film culture: the Empire Marketing Board film unit: 1926-1933

Hoare, Jonathan Giles (2010) Imperialism & 'alternative' film culture: the Empire Marketing Board film unit: 1926-1933. (PhD thesis), Kingston University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the early years of the British documentary movement as it formed within the Empire Marketing Board between 1926 and 1933. I begin by offering new insights into this formation by focusing on key institutions that have been under-researched in existing literature. The movement started with government money and resources, in a position formalised by the EMB's use of the Imperial Institute, a Victorian institution with an established history of public education, exhibition and research. Within this official institutional framework the EMB's filmmakers enjoyed an extraordinary level of creative freedom. They were simultaneously embedded within the'alternative' film culture that had developed from the independent screenings of the London Film Society (1925-1939). The Society offered coverage of the art and history of film for the first time in Britain, alongside showcasing a wealth of contemporaneous experimental and avant-Barde fiction and non-fiction work. Drawing on a variety of primary archival sources (some of which have not been previously explored) in the first three chapters I examine how the EMB's film unit developed in a relationship between the Board, the Imperial Institute and the Film Society. This position defined the work they produced, and the style and the content of their films for the EMB. The filmmakers were part of an Imperial discourse that aimed to promote Britain and the British Empire, however they were also engaging with, and contributing to, an international movement of filmmakers and intellectuals who were using documentary film to look closely at contemporary society from new perspectives. The fourth and fifth chapters offer fresh insights into filmmaking at the EMB, with a personal study based on new research into the life and work of Basil Wright. Although he was a central figure at the EMB, his role has remained under-researched. The material I present here offers a new account of the early formation of the documentary movement at the EMB and the original resources that the Board and its filmmakers drew upon.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Physical Location: This item is held in stock at Kingston University Library.
Research Area: Communication, cultural and media studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Katrina Clifford
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2012 12:40
Last Modified: 23 May 2014 13:26
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/21827

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