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VIEW FROM HERE - A British Council Film Collection Competition

May-July 2014

In the 1940s, here at the British Council we made a unique Collection of short documentary films in order to tell a story about Britain then. This summer, we want you to use those films to tell us another story about Britain now.

During the 1940s, the British Council was charged to promote an idea of ‘Britain and British-ness’ by becoming an enthusiastic commissioner of over 120 documentary films designed to showcase Britain to the rest of the world.  We’ve been posting the films online over the last few years and they’ve been seen by millions of people worldwide, who have enjoyed a fascinating snapshot of Britain - its industry, its landscapes and its people – in a very particular point in time.

Today, we’re delighted to complete the Collection by adding the final 25 films online. Highlights of today’s newly uploaded films include:

  • 'The Sweeney' 40’s style - Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad works to solve the mystery of some stolen cases of tea in Routine Job
  • English pubs as the heart of our nation in The Story of English Inns
  • Moving stories of wartime evacuees and how London prepared for War in These Children Are Safe and War Comes to London
  • Films from all across the country from Scotland to Wales, and from Newcastle to Cornwall
  • And, as a highlight of the whole Collection, we’re thrilled to unveil Steel, the 1945 Technicolor masterpiece from the brilliant cinematographer Jack Cardiff, recently used to great effect in the Jarvis Cocker/Martin Wallace collaboration The Big Melt – and seen online in its entirety for the first time here today.

But,  this is much more than a static archive of old movies... Today we’re inviting viewers to use the Collection as a creative resource:  to download the films, to reinterpret them and to share your own versions with the rest of the world, by taking part in View From Here, an international filmmaking competition which invites you to plunder the British Council Film Collection to make your own short film.

You could add a new soundtrack or voiceover, insert your own new images, go back to the site or subject of one of the films and re-make it using updated images, sound or other techniques, or simply imagine what themes the Collection might cover if we were trying to commission films like this now in order to give an image of the UK, at home, at work, at play to the rest of the world.

Each film must be no more than 3 minutes long and you can make your film in any format using any form of moving image. Use the films to ask ‘Who were we then? Who are we now?’ – but above all, have fun giving us your ‘View From Here’!

You can enter as a school group or an individual – and you can send entries from anywhere in the world. A jury including Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin MacDonald, Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, and presenters Claudia Winkleman and Edith Bowman will judge your films to find a series of winners.

Entries will be showcased right here on the British Council’s website and vie for a top-notch series of money-can’t-buy prizes and goodies ranging from a guided tour of Pinewood Studios, to a visit for your whole class to the Harry Potter Experience and Gala Tickets for the London Film Festival.

STOP PRESS: Deadline for entries has been extended to Friday 29 August 2014 - click now for full details about View From Here.