East Anglian Film Archive history

Since the early days of the East Anglian Film Archive, founded in 1976, different ways have been explored to bring archive film to new audiences. Before domestic video (and later DVD and websites), film shows to audiences were essential access activity. Copies made of original films were joined together specially for each show, and projected with live commentary and interpretation by archive staff. New film compilations with recorded commentaries and newly filmed scenes were produced by the archive to capture and present some of that knowledge and historical context, particularly for classroom use. These were the starting point for the archive’s published series of over 50 VHS videos which reached a large audience in the 1980s and 1990s. The many-faceted work of the archive was captured in two local television documentaries of 1979 and 1989.

Cat no. 380

Past Positive

Running time30:48 Black & White Sound 1979 East Anglia

A BBC East documentary programme about the East Anglian Film Archive, directed by Douglas Salmon and broadcast in 1979.

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Cat no. 532

Maritime East Anglia

Running time9:40 Black & White Silent 1921 Cambridgeshire

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Film Archive produced a series of new films which placed archive films in their historical context. This film by David Cleveland drew on the wealth of film of the fishing industry, ship building and maritime service industries, as well as achievements in life-saving and the development of seaside holiday resorts.

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Cat no. 1363

To Plough To Sow

Running time26:13 1984 Suffolk

Another compilation by the Film Archive. ‘To Plough To Sow’ was particularly successful because the vivid quality of the 1930s films of Suffolk farming was combined with new film of the same men seen in the films looking back over their working lives, and scripted by George Ewart Evans who had studied the local agricultural community through recording oral history interviews.

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Cat no. 216014

The Moving Past

Running time25:11 Colour Sound 1989 Norwich, Norfolk

A decade on from the BBC East programme ‘Past Positive’, this documentary about the East Anglian Film Archive was directed for Anglia Television by David Kenten.

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Cat no. 1342

Film Show At Skeyton

Running time2:31 Colour Silent 1993 Skeyton, Norfolk

The Film Archive’s staff and volunteers would present 250-300 film shows a year to audiences large and small all over the region and this was valued as access to historical records and as community entertainment. This record of a village hall show for Skeyton harvest supper was filmed by Jenny Hammerton while studying for the MA in Film Archiving at the University of East Anglia, then taught by David Cleveland and Jane Alvey of the Film Archive.

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