Contrast / Brilliance* – Featuring the World’s First Colour Film!!!

I made this film to open the UK’s first Archive Film Festival for Cine Yorkshire. This is a very special piece of work for me personally and is a major landmark in the history of film – this film features (incredibly!!) the world’s first color film!!! And it was here (at the opening of the festival) that the world first glimpsed these incredible images. It was here also that this film was edited for the first time in over a hundred and eleven years – by me!!!

I was allowed unique access to the film in Aug/Sept 2011 – a year before it was declared to the public as the world’s first colour film. I used the images of the girl on a swing to start and end the film I made. At that time though the importance of these images was to be kept a closely guarded secret, I was allowed to use them but no one was to be made aware of how incredible and history-changing these images were.

I stood in the wings at the opening of the festival whilst the audience gave the film I’d made a standing ovation – I was so proud of my work at that point and remember thinking how bitter-sweet a feeling it was, that with applause and cheers ringing in my ears, still no one knew the full extent of how amazing and important this film actually was.

The opening and closing shots (girl on a swing) are digitised from the original scraps of film restored by The National Media Museum. The films were made by a young British photographer and inventor called Edward Turner, a pioneer who can now lay claim to being the father of moving colour film, well before the pioneers of Technicolor. Turner and his financial backer Frederick Lee patented this three strip colour process in 1899 pre-dating what had long been thought to be the first successful colour process – Kinemacolor – by eight years.

I am honoured to have become a part of film history in this way and am extremely proud that my film will go down in history as the moment that these incredible images were revealed to the worl for the first time. But I’m prouder still that the audience gave my film a standing ovation without even knowing any of this!

Watch the film – I hope you will enjoy it as much as the person who commented on Screen Yorkshire’s facebook page:

On Screen Yorkshire site:

On Cine Yorkshire site:

Featuring the world’s first colour film which was revealed to the world for the first time since 1899 here.

By Ed Torsney