Varsity Trip 1949 – ‘Sestrieres’

We will soon have the pleasure of interviewing Derrick Knight, filmmaker and secretary of Oxford University Film Society in the early 1950s. He worked with Guy L Coté, who became president of the Society, on many projects, and describes their meeting:

“During my first term at Oxford, having done my national service as an army education sergeant, I busily explored the whole gamut of clubs and societies whose guest speakers afforded a cheap way of seeing and hearing some of the great politicians, writers and thinkers of the time. I also discovered a greater opportunity to see good films than I’d ever known – and I learned that a certain Guy Coté, a French-Canadian, was secretary of the Oxford University Film Society (OUFS). I wrote him a cheeky letter laying out my experience of film society organization and programme planning and asked if I could be of help. I was invited to come round to his bedsit for a chat. When I got there I could hardly get into his room because it was festooned with strips of film hanging from a network of strings, but by careful ducking and diving it was just possible to reach a chair. Guy, it turned out, was not only the Film Society’s secretary but also the captain of the Oxford University ski team that he had led to inter-varsity ski championships in Sestrieres in the Italian Alps that year. Not only had he competed but had also helped with the shooting of an amateur film around the event.” (

This 1949 Film of ‘Sestrieres’ has been kindly provided by Guy’s daughter, Natalie Coté, to whom we are most grateful for her help in our research. We’ve uploaded a preview onto our Instagram channel, which you can find here.

Natalie has also published the documents surrounding the production of the film, which detail how a training film originally budgeted at £40 became the £700 wonder that was shown in Norway, Canada, and over French television:

© All rights reserved by Natalie Coté (

© All rights reserved by Natalie Coté (

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