Ref NoLA/1/02
TitleFree Cinema
DescriptionIn the early 1950s young British film-makers like Lindsay Anderson found it very difficult to get their work seen. In 1953 Anderson made O Dreamland, a short film presenting a disturbing snapshot of an amusement park. He shot this film in Margate where he was co-directing a documentary with Guy Brenton about a school for deaf children. The film, Thursday's Children, won an Oscar for best documentary short in 1954. Following the success of Thursday's Children Anderson made a number of short films for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in 1955. Frustrated at the continued lack of opportunities for new directors Anderson coined the term 'Free Cinema' to grab the attention of the press and public and provide a banner under which new work could be screened. The first Free Cinema programme was shown at the National Film Theatre, London, in February 1956. The films shown were Anderson's O Dreamland, Momma Don't Allow, directed by Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson, and Together, directed by Lorenza Mazzetti. The screenings were a great success and The National Film Theatre showed five further Free Cinema programmes between 1956 - 59. As well as screening films by Anderson and his colleagues the Free Cinema programmes also introduced new, experimental works from France, Poland and the US. In 1956 Anderson's colleague Karel Reisz was commissioned by the Ford Motor Company to produce a series of documentaries about Britain. Reisz invited Anderson to direct a documentary on the workers in Covent Garden Market as part of the series. Anderson's film Every Day Except Christmas was shown as part of the third Free Cinema programme in May 1957. The film was well received and won the Grand Prix for best documentary film at the Venice Film Festival in 1957. Material relating to this period of Anderson's film-making career includes typed drafts of commentaries for Thursday's Children and Everyday Except Christmas; brochures, leaflets and additional promotional material for Free Cinema programmes at the National Film Theatre; a small amount of contemporary correspondence and later correspondence re Free Cinema films; photographs including making of Thursday's Children and Together and audiences at National Film Theatre; press cuttings
Date1953 - 1994
Extent1.5 boxes
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