Landmarks

2008-9

We spent over a year delving into stories behind two films which Philip Donnellan made at the BBC in Birmingham in the late 50s and early 60s. Donnellan was a skilled and infinitely curious documentary-maker who chronicled communities and lives rarely seen on British television then or now. His subjects included miners, travellers, road-builders, runaway teenagers, the blind – all captured on 16mm film talking with honesty and humour. Intrigued by what might have become of some of the people in these films, we decided to return to the places filmed in Joe the Chainsmith (Cradley Heath, 1958) and The Colony (Birmingham, 1964), show the films again and see what memories they might stir up.

…The BBC is not just a small entrepreneur producing short-term consumables; its product has been made with the public’s money and should be made available to them. Much of it – even the trivia – has a political, cultural and historical significance which is part of their birthright. It should not be locked away out of reach.

– Philip Donnellan, in his unpublished memoirs (1994)

A printable copy of the Landmarks booklet can be downloaded here:
Landmarks.pdf (4.1 MB)

Other Projects

Green Man Festival

2007-2011 in Glanusk Park, Powys For five years we enjoyed an annual residency in the big-top cinema tent at the reliably excellent Green Man Festival, presenting a range of oddball midnight screenings, raucous family matinees and live guests. 2007 Painlevé rescore by Pram/Film Ficciones; Dougal and the Blue Cat on 16mm. 2008 Bibio; Travelling for […]

Birmingham on Film

You can’t move without tripping over a film crew in Birmingham these days, whether it’s zombie dystopia The Girl With All the Gifts or 70s spy thriller The Game. Even Spielberg is shooting his latest across the city, and it’s easy to see the attraction: Victorian grandeur and 60s brutalism; leafy suburbia and post-industrial grit; […]

Screen Juniors on Holiday

Three packed summer weekends of family film action at mac Birmingham, from silent comedy and groundbreaking animation, to musical treats, foley workshops and a sing-a-long screening of Yellow Submarine. macbirmingham.co.uk/screen-juniors-on-holiday/