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Michael Arrowsmith


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

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.

Chapter Two

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

Chapter Three

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

Chapter Four

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

Chapter Five

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

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.