A Glimpse into Britain’s Past — and into the Future of Film

This past week, 120 short documentaries from the British Film Institute National Archive were made available on the British Council’s website. But there is more significance behind the project than simply the films themselves.

Originally produced and distributed in a time before 24-hour online access, today, the films have a new visibility, and with it a new audience.

The online archive is about more than visibility, it is increasingly about finding new ways to bring content into the age of remix. To these ends, the British Council aptly writes that since their digitization these films are now available for a mass-public to not only view, but “to download and to play with for the first time.”

This call for personal reinterpretation not to be discounted. And, in furthering this endeavor, over the summer of 2012 a global competition will encourage and challenge viewers to re-imagine the films with a contemporary lens by altering, editing, combining the original digitized clips.

Opportunities for remix and reinterpretation such as these, only work to further ensure that what could have remained static cultural archives are brought into the oscillating and rapidly reformatted pace of the 21st century.

Check out my full post, and some additional film clips, on the British Council USA Blog.

Alicia Dillon

Alicia transitions to DC having previously attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned her BA in Art with a minor in Spanish in 2009. Currently in her second year of working towards her Master’s in Communication, Culture, and Technology, she is interested in exploring the relationship between individual and collective forms of cultural expression, and their role in the production of cultural identity. A Southern California native, Alicia has lived abroad in both Barcelona and London. In her spare time she continues to pursue her undergraduate endeavors of painting, drawing, and photography.