Chapter Four

Michael Arrowsmith
Thursday 14 March 2019


The Colonial Film Unit in West Africa, 1946.


In January 1948, the British Film Institute (BFI) hosted a conference entitled “The Film in Colonial Development” in which its European participants outlined the need to “teach the people of the colonies to run the show themselves.” At this same moment, the Colonial Film Unit set up its first training school in Accra (there would be subsequent schools in Jamaica and Cyprus), training a (first) generation of local filmmakers. These schools, closely examined here, would provide the personnel and equipment for the local units that began to emerge from the end of the decade and are crucial, but largely unknown, moments in the establishment of post-colonial cinema cultures.This chapter examines this broader post-war movement – of film equipment and personnel – from London to the colonies and revealsthe seismic social, political and economic changes, which are played out both on, and through, film after the war.




P. 149

READ: “Camera Unit in Africa,” Colonial Cinema, June 1946, 24-27

P. 150

READ: W. Sellers, “Address to the British Kinematograph Society,” Colonial Cinema, March 1948, 9-13.

P. 153

READ: “Practical Hints to the Film Director,” Colonial Cinema, March 1949, 3-5.

p. 153

READ: The Gambia, Colonial Cinema, March 1948, 5-8.

P. 158

WATCH: Here is the Gold Coast (John Page, COI, 1947)

P. 160

READ: “The Film Story of Malaya’s Recovery,” The Straits Times, 4 August 1946, 4.

P. 163

READ: George Pearson, “Health Education by Film in Africa,” Health Education Journal, 7:1, March 1949, 39-42.

P. 165

READ:Films to Educate Populations,” Colonial Cinema, September 1947, 65-67.

P. 166

READ: Norman F. Spurr, “Pamba,” Empire Cotton Growing Review, June 1950, 172-176

P. 169

READ: Walt Disney, “Animated Cartoon,” Health Education Journal, 13:1, March 1955, 70-77.

P. 169

WATCH: The Winged Scourge (Disney, 1943)

P. 170

READ: Norman Spurr, “A Report on the Use of Disney’s Hookworm Film with an African Audience in the Western Province, Uganda,” Colonial Cinema, June 1951, 28-33

P. 170

READ: K. Pickering, “Another Walt Disney Experiment,” Colonial Cinema, September 1954, 50-53.

P. 171

READ: Graham Stanford, “Talkies Rival Tom-Toms,” Daily Mail, 16 March 1949, 4.


P. 171

READ: “They Made 35 Films: Colonial Office Unit Leaves Soon,” East African Standard, 7 March 1950.

P. 172

WATCH: Nairobi (Colonial Film Unit, 1950)

P. 174

READ: John Grierson, “The Film and Primitive Peoples,” in The Film in Colonial Development: A Report of a Conference (London: British Film Institute, 1948), 9-15.


P. 178

WATCH: African Conference in London,1948 (Colonial Film Unit, 1948)

P. 178

WATCH: Colonial Month (Colonial Film Unit, 1949)

P. 179

WATCH: Spotlight on the Colonies (Diana Pine, Crown Film Unit, 1950)

P. 180

WATCH: Colonial Cinemagazine 9 (Colonial Film Unit, 1949)

P. 180

WATCH: Nigerian Footballers in England (Colonial Film Unit, 1949)

READ: “Nigerian Footballers in England,” Colonial Cinema, December 1949, 68-69.

P. 182

WATCH: A Journey by a London Bus (Colonial Film Unit, 1950)

P. 184

READ:The School of Instruction, Accra, Gold Coast,” Colonial Cinema, December 1948, 78-80

READ:School of Instruction, Accra, Gold Coast,” September 1949, 43-45.



P. 188

READ: Colonial Film Unit Man from London on a Survey,”Daily Gleaner, 4 November 1949, 12.

READ: Duncan Keith Corinaldi, ‘Local Films – A Reality 11 Years Ago’, Daily Gleaner, 5 December 1949, 8

P. 189

READ: The West Indies Film Training School, 1950,” Colonial Cinema, September 1950, 66-69.

READ:Colonial Film Unit Training School in the West Indies,” Colonial Cinema, June 1951, 43.

P. 192

READ: “The Cyprus Film Training School, 1951,” Colonial Cinema, December 1951, 87-90.



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