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The First Film (2015)

Leeds born filmmaker David Nicholas Wilkinson's thirty three year quest to prove that the worlds film industry started in Leeds, Yorkshire, England in 1888.


David Wilkinson

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1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Bernard Atha Bernard Atha ... Himself
Stephane Cornicard ... Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince (voice)
Tom Courtenay ... Himself
Nigel Cross Nigel Cross ... Himself
Quentin Dowse Quentin Dowse ... Himself
Ben Eagle Ben Eagle ... Adolphe Le Prince (voice)
Tony Earnshaw Tony Earnshaw ... Himself
Joe Eszterhas ... Himself
Aurelie Freoua Aurelie Freoua ... Herself
Paul Goodman Paul Goodman ... Himself
Louise A. Handley Louise A. Handley ... Herself
Michael Harvey Michael Harvey ... Himself - Historian
Ronald Harwood ... Himself
Stephen Herbert Stephen Herbert ... Himself - Historian
Sarah Lancashire ... Lizze Le Prince (voice)


In October 1888 Louis Le Prince produced the world's first films in Leeds,England. These were shot on cameras patented in both America and the UK. Once he had perfected his projection machine 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 Aime 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 of being acknowledged as the first people to pioneer film. Louis Le Prince was never added to history books. But for one lone voice, who worked with him, Le Prince's name and his pioneering work was forgotten. THE FIRST FILM is a feature length documentary proving once and for all Le Prince ... Written by David Nicholas Wilkinson

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Official Sites:

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UK | France | USA



Release Date:

8 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran misterio de la historia del cine See more »


Box Office


£400,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?


Christopher Barnett was the 2016 Media Award Winner: TMT News for Best Original Score in a Documentary: The First Film (2015). See more »

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User Reviews

The truth the whole truth and ......
24 September 2016 | by lesgriceSee all my reviews

It stopped me in my tracks. Literally, The First Film stopped me in my tracks. In 2015 I planned my annual trip to Paris and intended to take a high-speed train to visit the Lumiere museum in Lyon, home of the 'first film'. So I thought. Then I got wind of this intriguing story about the origin of moving images coming from, well, of all places. Silly, I know, but although of course I have no doubt the Lumiere museum is a wonderful treasure trove, it seemed it could take the edge off being it's true home. (I went to Nancy instead, home of Art Nouveau) The First Film is obviously a life's work and ambition, propelled by more than a dash of a desire to get to the truth, no matter how unpalatable that may be to those who have a view of history that is set in stone. It's a beautifully constructed piece of detective work and leads to many avenues and has many fascinating twists and turns, not so much of 'Who do you think you are' rather 'What links us to who we are'. Of course I will not reveal any details, but there is intrigue, mystery, revelations abound and dastardly deeds too and it comes with an added dash of unexpected humour which is not scripted and all the better for it. It's wide ranging in it's locations but yet so close to home that one can't help feel sorry for those who long for the romance of the French tales or the genius of the U.S.A. entrepreneur driven stories, and yet, and yet. Louis le Prince has by his own genius reached through time by turning money into light and in turn Mr. Wilkinson has mirrored him and shed light on history. History will judge and form it's own opinion, but David has added his own unique perspective to movie history and I am certain Louis and all of us will be grateful that someone cared for him and us.

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