In the late 19th century, the race was on to be the first to make the leap from stills photography to actual moving pictures. The likes of the Lumiére Brothers in Paris, Thomas Edison in New York, and many others were all experimenting with the process and new technology but also a French inventor and artist Louis Le Prince based in Leeds, Yorkshire. In October 1888, Le Prince produced the world’s first films in Leeds, on cameras patented in both America and the UK.
Once he had perfected his projection machine, which took some time, Le Prince arranged to demonstrate his discovery to the American public and thus the world. On 16th September 1890, just weeks before he was due to sail to New York, Louis Aimé Augustine Le Prince stepped onto the Dijon to Paris train and was never seen again. No body was ever found so legally no one could fight the Le Prince claim that he invented a camera that recorded the very first moving image. As a result, several years later, Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers were to claim the glory and the prize and Le Prince's name and his pioneering work was forgotten.
David Nicholas Wilkinson was told this story at school, in Leeds. “The moving picture” i.e. the capturing of continuous movement from a single point of view, which laid the foundations for everything we see in the cinema today, was invented in Leeds and Louis Le Prince was the world’s first Cameraman, Director and Producer.
The fact that his home town could have been the birthplace of film sparked a lifelong interest in the story of Le Prince but, having spent over 45 years in the film industry as a Distributor, Producer and Actor, Wilkinson was still baffled that Le Prince was little known or celebrated, outside ‘God’s own County’ of Yorkshire.
THE FIRST FILM is the story of Wilkinson’s quest to uncover the mysteries surrounding the origins of film, to celebrate a true ‘Yorkshire’ hero of cinema and discover why Le Prince’s name has gone missing from the history books and to prove, once and for all, that film was invented in Leeds.
TICKETS are £20 (no concessions) which includes a copy of the wonderful book MADE IN YORKSHIRE as well as FREE DVDS worth in excess of £50.
All funds raised will be donated to the Alzheimer's Society