5 Star. A 30 year obsession Revealed.
A documentary that reads more like a murder mystery than just a history documentary as David Nicholas Wilkinson searches through 125 years worth of evidence, crossing continents looking for clues to show the world that the greatest entertainment industry on the planet started in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. A must see for historians of film and anybody that likes to be behind a camera, as Mr Wilkinson uncovers some amazing things in his obsessive search for the truth. set in a time when ownership of patents is the only thing that matters, how far will industrialists or family go to get them. Step back to the 1880’s with David Wilkinson and immerse yourself in the skill and imagination of these inventors of the Victorian age.
AT UK CINEMAS FROM 3RD JULY 2015
While the ‘French’ may have invented film, it wasn’t the Lumiére Brothers and it wasn’t in France. In the late 19th century, the race was on to be the first to make the leap from stills photography to actual moving pictures. The Lumiéres in Paris, Thomas Edison in New York, and many others were all experimenting with the process and new technology but also another French inventor and artist Louis Le Prince based in Leeds, Yorkshire.
In October 1888, it was Le Prince who produced the world’s first films in Leeds, on cameras patented in both America and the UK.
THE FIRST FILM is filmmaker David Nicholas Wilkinson’s personal quest to try and prove, once and for all, that his birthplace has been scandalously overlooked as the real birthplace of film and the cameras document his investigation from start to finish.
Once Le Prince had perfected his projection machine, he arranged to demonstrate his discovery to the American public and thus the world. On 16th September 1890, just weeks before he was due to sail to New York, Louis Aimé Augustine Le Prince stepped onto the Dijon to Paris train and was never seen again. No body was ever found so legally no one could fight the Le Prince claim. As a result, several years later, Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers were to claim the glory and the prize and Le Prince’s name and his pioneering work was forgotten.
David Nicholas Wilkinson was told this story at school which sparked a lifelong interest in the story but, having spent over 45 years in the film industry as a Distributor, Producer and Actor, Wilkinson was still baffled that Le Prince was little known or celebrated outside ‘God’s own Country’ of Yorkshire.
THE FIRST FILM seeks to discover why this film-making pioneer has never received the acknowledgement he deserves and to right that wrong. The result is an enthralling journey into the origins of cinema – a compelling story of British (and Yorkshire) innovation, ruthless international competition and possibly murder most foul……
Produced, Directed and Presented by
David Nicholas Wilkinson
Michael Harvey, Mark Rance, Stephen Herbert, Daniel Martin, Tony Earnshaw, Adrian Wootton, Tony North, Jacques Pfend, Tony Pierce-Roberts BSC, Laurie Snyder, Carol S Ward, Louise A Handley, Quentin Dowse, Liz Rymer with Ronald Harwood, Tom Courtenay and Joe Eszterhas