How to use this website

This website contains links to digitised films and archival materials featured in Films for the Colonies: Cinema and the Preservation of the British Empire.



The introduction offers a historical overview of the Colonial Film Unit (1939-1955) and considers its legacies and enduring influence today.

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Chapter One

The opening chapter unpicks the origins of government filmmaking in Africa and the emergence of Documentary and non-fiction film in inter-war Britain.

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Chapter Two

This chapter explores the ideologies and operating practices of the Colonial Film Unit throughout its fifteen-year history.

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Chapter Three

Chapter three examines the widespread deployment of film, and other media, within the colonies during the second world war.

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Chapter Four

This chapter considers the broader post-war movement – of film equipment, personnel, and training – from London to the colonies.

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Chapter Five

The final chapter analyses the local government units that emerged in the 1950s, particularly in Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica and Trinidad.

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