The Oxford Film society and the Oxford Experimental Film Group

An interesting week with many new leads and films turning up to help us understand what films were made in Oxford last century and also a trip to BBC Oxford to spend time with colleagues there chatting about the project and their own video archives. I also was delighted to be asked to talk on air with Radio Oxford presenter Kat Orman about the Dreaming Spools project and some of the material we’ve found. It’s on iplayer for a few more days :

Radio: Kat Orman, BBC Radio Oxford
This month sees the launch of ‘Dreaming Spools’ a project run by Oxford University to unearth film footage for an exhibit on the history of Oxford through time. Project leader Pete Robinson, who manages the educational media team at Oxford University, is interviewed about the new initiative.

As we find out more, we’re starting to piece together the history of film-making at Oxford University in the period before the team’s own memory, the era pre-1990. Although we knew about some films, including my favourite film ‘Our College’ made in 1949 by Hugh Wyn Griffith a student at Jesus College, we were unsure when the Oxford Film Society started, was in it in the 1940s or earlier?, and how it evolved into the Oxford Experimental Film society. Having met many students over the years who want to make a film I know how obsessive they can be and it’s no surprise that some of them from the early years of the society have carried on to work in the film industry after experimenting with filming at Oxford.

We’ve now been in touch with people who can tell us the story of the Oxford Film society and the people involved and we’re starting to find documentation that explains the sequence of events that led to other films being made and how some of the pioneer film-makers of the 50s,60s and 70s got started in their careers with films at Oxford. Below is the very sophisticated letter-headed notepaper used by Guy Coté of the society during the making of the experimental dance film ‘Between Two Worlds.

Oxford Film Society note paper

The story is an interesting one and needs a much longer post to explain, meanwhile here is a still image of the Oxford Film Society’s logo on the ski film ‘Sestriere 1949’ which was previously thought lost even by the director but which through the help of Guy Coté’s daughter has now been made available this week at the comprehensive web site dedicated to this amazing film-maker

Oxford University Film Society logo

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