Film makers Laz Carter, Joe Hickinbottom and Hannah Brown

Students put film museum on screen

A group of student filmmakers have made a 10-minute documentary about the work of the University of Exeter’s museum, the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture.

MA Film Studies’ students Hannah Brown, Laz Carter, and Joe Hickinbottom were commissioned to make the documentary, undertaking the project as part of the ‘Elephant Pictures’ company.

The museum has an internationally renowned collection of over 70,000 items on the history of the moving image from the seventeenth century to the present day – anything from magic lanterns to star memorabilia. The film documents all aspects of the Bill Douglas Centre’s (BDC) work, including research and teaching, student volunteering, and community engagement such as the highly successful Family Fun Day and a visit from a local school. It also features interviews with fellow students, academics, the curator, and with the museum’s major donors Peter Jewell and Don Boyd.

The film is being premiered at a reception as part of Student Arts Week on Monday 13 June - in Seminar room A/B in the Old Library from 5pm.

Curator of the BDC, Phil Wickham said, “The film is designed to make more people, particularly Exeter students, aware of the amazing resource they have on their doorstep. Hannah, Laz and Joe were previously undergraduates at Exeter and have all been involved with the Bill Douglas Centre throughout their time here and appreciate its enormous potential to enhance the student experience.”

The film seeks to capture all aspects of the BDC from its outstanding archive and excellent research facilities to its unique educational museum experience.

Elephant Pictures’ Joe Hickinbottom said of the experience, “Producing the film provided us with the invaluable opportunity to follow the entire filmmaking process from start to finish. From the development of our initial ideas through to shooting and finally editing, we experienced all elements of film production in a way that many other projects may not have allowed for. We have all learnt vital skills that we can carry on into our future careers.”

He added, “We are incredibly proud of the final film and hope that it will offer both students and the public an insight into the vast resources and entertainments that the Centre has to offer. It truly is a unique collection – one of the West Country’s real gems.”

The film was made possible by the generosity of the Exeter University Foundation who funded the purchase of camera and sound equipment to produce the film. The equipment is now available for future filmmakers within the Bill Douglas Centre. The Foundation owns the collections and is a major supporter of the BDC. It is investing funds to improve the museum’s facilities, as well as encouraging the Centre’s ambition to strengthen its profile through the use of virtual and digital scenarios.

Eric Dancer CBE JP, a trustee from the Exeter University Foundation, said, “This new film, which I hope is the first of many to be sponsored by the Foundation, has really captured the essence and importance of the collection and I congratulate the film makers.”

Date: 10 June 2011

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