Taking off with 'Britain from Above' at the Swindon Film Festival

2 & 7 March 2013

Participants in the fourth annual Swindon Film Festival have a treat in store in March. Films as diverse as the latest James Bond blockbuster, Skyfall and Pablo Larraín’s No will be joined by stunning aerial views of Swindon past and present, when English Heritage’s Britain from Above project receives an airing on Swindon’s Big Screen, Wharf Green on Saturday 2 March between 12 noon and 3pm.

The “Chocks Away! Take Off with Britain from Above” event explores the early days of flight and aerial photography, showcasing pictures taken between 1919 and 1953 of the Swindon area, contrasting with the modern day pictures kindly provided by the Swindon Advertiser. Whilst the older generations can enjoy the nostalgia of times past in the town, younger visitors will be invited to complete jigsaws and explore their own aerial exploits with a paper plane competition.

“We’re delighted to be working alongside the Britain from Above project, which is bringing some wonderful new perspectives to this year’s festival. When you think of films you think of just sitting in your seat – the event at Wharf Green is going to be a lot more interactive! I hope people will get along for a just a few minutes or a couple of hours to see some unusual views of Swindon in all their glory on the Big Screen and take part in the family activities,” comments Barbara Hoffbauer, the co-ordinator of the film festival.

Later in the festival, on Thursday 7 March, at 7.30pm, English Heritage will be co-hosting an evening of vintage films at Swindon Central Library. Entitled “Those Magnificent Men – the Real Life Heroes!”, the event will celebrate some of the pioneers of aviation and cinematography , with screening of films from the Swindon Viewpoint and British Film Institute archives. Included in the programme is Claude-Friese Greene’s 1920’s documentary “The Open Road”, which used an innovative early colour technique in filming road trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats . The evening will open with a talk on the Britain from Above project, an online resource which features digitally-stored images of aerial photographs from the first half of the 20th century.

“The Britain from Above website currently contains thousands of aerial photographs of the whole country, but it as events like these, where you meet people who have lived in the areas photographed for many years that you start to understand some of the stories behind the pictures,” comments Sandra Brauer, Britain from Above activity officer. “These events really provide us with a showcase for some of these stunning photographs and we always encourage people to continue their exploration of the archive and share their own memories and factual knowledge about the photographs when they get home on www.britainfromabove.org.uk .”

Admission to both events is free, but places must be prebooked for the evening. Tickets should be booked at Swindon Central Library, in person, by telephone on 01793 466454 or by email at infocentre@swindon.gov.uk. Further information on the Swindon Film Festival, which runs from 1 to 10 March 2013, is available online at www.swindonfilmfestival.org

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Britain from Above is a four year Heritage Lottery funded project managed by English Heritage to conserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online the first 95,000 images of a unique collection of aerial photography, taken between 1919 and 1953. The collection comprises of over 1.2 million photographs in total, taken by the pioneering company Aerofilms Ltd between 1919 and 2006.

The images provide an unparalleled photographic history of Britain from the air in the twentieth century illustrating the enormous changes that have taken place in housing, leisure, industry, transport and agriculture and the physical impact of two World Wars. English Heritage works in partnership with the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales and Scotland to make those images freely available on www.britainfromabove.org.uk for all to see.

For further media information, please contact:

Jay Commins – PRO English Heritage (Education)

Tel: 01904 500698

Mob: 07810 546567

Email: jay@pyperyork.co.uk

Swindon Film Festival 2013 is a ten-day event running from 1stto 10thMarch with films and events at various venues in and around Swindon. The festival is organised by partnership of community arts organisations headed by Swindon Film Society. This year’s festival is supported by a grassroots grant from Swindon Borough Council

For more information please contact

Barbara Hoffbauer – Swindon Film Festival co-ordinator

Tel: 01793 330639

Email: swindonfilm@ntlworld.com

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