Fostering Local Film Heritage

Research Policy Office
Friday 20 February 2015
Filming of Chariots of Fire on the West Sands of St Andrews, April 1980 Image is courtesy of the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum

The historical research of Dr David Martin-Jones, Dr Tom Rice and Dr Joshua Yumibe as part of Cinema and Cultural Studies (Department of Film Studies), as exemplified by Dr Martin-Jones book, “Scotland: Global Cinema” (University of Edinburgh Press, 2009), has been supporting and fostering a thriving community-based film culture in St Andrews by calling attention to the historical, cultural, and economic value of film within the St Andrews community.

Dr Rice and Dr Yumibe have been innovating archival, digital humanities projects in film studies utilising detailed local and national histories as a means of studying global history. This serves, in part, to examine the ways in which digital access is affecting the archival circulation of film culture and capital on a global scale. The research findings have spawned an open access website, Cinema St Andrews, which uncovers and examines local cinema history and curates and contextualises digitised holdings, such as photographs, architectural plans, local interviews, and newspaper clippings, in partnership with St Andrews Museum (2011), British Film Institute (2012) and the Media History Digital Library (2013).

The project has also been used to develop teaching programmes, which have been successfully incorporated across the curriculum in a local secondary school as part of their International Baccalaureate in English Language and Literature.

In addition, the project cultivates local film culture, working with local partners. Such initiatives have resulted in exhibitions and a series of screenings in local venues, which make use of extensive local footage. As a recent example, in 2013 the project ran a film season that celebrated the town’s rich cinematic heritage by curating free film shows in historically significant local sites, helping to build a collaborative network with which to sustain a thriving film culture in St Andrews.

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