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Friday 6th March 2015

National Lottery Funding Has Got SWFTA in a Reel

SWFTA are putting on their white gloves, dusting off their film reels and preparing to unlock film heritage.

Under the British Film Institute’s National Lottery-funded ‘Unlocking Film Heritage Digitisation Fund’ and following on from the excellent development work our Discovery Fund team undertook last year (January-May 2014), SWFTA’s latest project is aimed at the transfer of archive footage selected by the Discovery Fund team from film to digital. The Unlocking Film Heritage Project seeks to open up regional archives to the general public by making film archive available to view.

Jilly Payne, SWFTA's BFI-UFH Project Director said: “This is an excellent opportunity for SWFTA to showcase its film archive, some of which has not been seen for decades. We hope that the public will engage with their past and have a nostalgia for what they see but from experience we also know that children are fascinated by old archive videos and we believe some of these clips will generate interest on social media.”

In addition to a successful bid to fund the Discovery Fund phase of the UFH Project last year, SWFTA was again successful in its bid to the BFI for a grant of up to £100,000 to develop the latest phase of the UFH programme and will be offering titles on the main theme of ‘Britain on Film’. From pomp and pageantry to pasties and pilchards, through sailing and surfing to carnivals and carpets, from the exciting to the mundane, the historical to the hysterical, these clips give the viewer a chance to look back at historic moments such as in 1941 a visit to Plymouth by King George VI just hours before one of the heaviest nights of bombing during the Blitz but also to be entertained by old football highlights, street carnivals, naughty goats, camel-racing or a pram derby. They give the viewer a sense of the region as a whole, a changing community with a common past and introduce new viewers to the South West’s last 100 years.

Image: Flying Boats, Group Captain Henry Cave-Browne-Cave, Commander of the RAF Far East Flight Flying Boats. The seaplanes landed in Plymouth in 17th October 1927 en route to Australia and Singapore.

Tim Dollimore, Managing Director of The Media Workshop who is involved with the project: “There’s something very magical about working with film archives and peeking into the past.”

The first twenty tiles are ready for BFI’s ‘Britain on Film’ launch in May and the clips will be available to view simultaneously on the BFI player and SWFTA Tube. SWFTA be offering over 250 film clips over the year with the possibility of more funding in 2016.

Sue Todd, BFI Archive Relationships Manager is excited about the project “It’s looking pretty great. We are now over the 750 mark in terms of live UFH films.”

If you would like more information about the project, please contact Jilly Payne at 01752 202650 or email at