A live cinema piece commissioned to celebrate the importance of film for the first BFI's Luminous fundraising gala



This multi-screen audio visual piece was written and directed by Christopher Thomas Allen specially for the British Film Institute‘s first ever fundraising gala event in October 2013. It is based around a written text that imparts the importance of film and the importance of the BFI’s role in its preservation and support its new voices. We worked closely with the BFI‘s head curator Robin Baker to select a cross section of the archive’s gems and gathered a long list of contemporary examples of British talent on screen, that took us from the beginning of film making right up to the present day.  Our creative production also involved several location shoots at the BFI archive in Berkhamsted, where we documented their restoration processes and the cavernous acetate vaults which hold thousands of feet of our history on film.

The resulting seven minute piece was something truly special, containing excerpts from over 140 different film titles and unfolding around the room across five separate projections. We were extremely lucky to have celebrity actor Idris Elba feature in it and it was presented as a live cinema performance as the finale to the event with a specially composed live musical score by Jude Greenaway and the Urban Soul Orchestra; immersing the audience in the sights and sound of cinema whilst contemplating its form and social meaning in a philosophical way.

BFI Event Production

Artistic Director:Christopher Thomas Allen
Producer:Alice Ceresole
Technical Directors:Pete Wallace & Brenden Clark @ Insight Lighting
Architectural Mapping:Stuart Mcalister & Simon Risbridger
Editor & Animator:Dave Baum
Reception Film Editor:Jai Rafferty
Custom Software:Joe Catchpole
Musicians:Urban Soul Orchestra”Soliloquy” Production

Written and Directed by:Christopher Thomas Allen
Featuring:Idris Elba
Line Producer:Annie Kwan
Production Assistant:Maddie Yuille
Editors:Christopher Thomas Allen & Jai Rafferty
Research Editor:Helen Omand
Animation:Pete Wallace, Dave Baum & Mark Bailey
Camera:Christopher Thomas Allen, Tim Cowie, James Price & Jai Rafferty
Camera Assistant:Jack Armitage
Lighting:Felix Ollerearnshaw @ Insight Lighting
Makeup:Sandra Bermingham
Locations:BFI National Archives Berkhamstead & Apiary Studios
Music Composed by:Jude Greenaway & Urban Soul Orchestra

Live Performers:
Violin 1:Stephen Hussey
Violin 2:Ruth Elder
Viola:Una Palliser
Cello:Kwesi Edman
Harp:Patrizia Meier

Special thanks to:
Tina Temple Morris, Anna Dudina, Nathalie Morris & Scott Starck at the BFI national Archives