The Victorian IMAX Experience Announced for the London Film Festival

The 62nd BFI London Film Festival's Archive Gala screening will be The Great Victorian Moving Picture Show on 18 October at the BFI IMAX.

This Archive Gala will project some of Britain's earliest films – shot in 68mm, almost four times the image size of regular 35mm film - on the nation's biggest screen, the BFI IMAX. These rare surviving fragments preserved by the BFI National Archive were restored from the 68mm original nitrate prints under the supervision of the BFI’s Conservation Centre and will be seen for the first time over 120 years, presented digitally.

This one-off gala event will transport the audience back to the end of Victoria’s long reign, a time when moving picture shows were shown in London’s West End. Among them was Scottish-born William Kennedy Dickson, whose British Mutoscope and Biograph Company had a long residency at the Palace Theatre of Varieties (now the Palace Theatre on Cambridge Circus) from 1897 with his large-format films, aiming to beat his rivals with his high quality pictures.

Around a minute long, these films from 1897 to 1901, show us panoramic vistas, “phantom rides”, music hall turns to royal pageantry, from Victorian street scenes to dispatches from the Boer War. The showing has been programmed by will be presented by BFI silent film curator Bryony Dixon, with music from John Sweeney and his Biograph Band.

BFI Head Curator, Robin Baker says, The quality and clarity of these new restorations is extraordinary. They offer an immediacy and connection with the Victorian period that I have never felt before. You almost feel as if you can reach out and touch the past. The Great Victorian Moving Picture Show provides audiences with an exclusive first look at some of the 700+ Victorian films newly digitised by the BFI National Archive that we will launching online in 2019 to mark the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth.”

The 62nd BFI London Film Festival runs from 10 October to 21 October 2018., with the full programme announced on 30 August. Look out for further coverage of the Festival from The Digital Fix.

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