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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
1 nomination. See more awards »




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


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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Did You Know?


Due to budgetary constraint, the film was made over an almost three year period. Pre-production began in October 2012 and the film was finally delivered in May 2015. However, David Nicholas Wilkinson began work on the project in 1982 but it was not until 2012 and the Governments introduction of the SEIS scheme that made the film a viable proposition for investors. It opened in UK cinemas in July 2015. If Louis Le Prince had lived, he was due to show his films to the world at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York, George Washington's old headquarters. This would then have become the world's first movie theatre. The First Film (2015) was screened at the Mansion as part of an historic screening, squaring the circle, 126 years late. The New York Times recommended this event as a "must see" for two weeks running. See more »


References The Lone Ranger (2013) See more »

User Reviews

Some Corrections, sort of ...
5 March 2019 | by Hans_VanDerKraanSee all my reviews

Maybe there was a day and age that film classes were overly stressing the importance of Edison and the Lumière Brothers. I myself have witnessed classes at the Dutch Film Academy were the legend of the frightened public fleeing the first performance of the Cinématographe were told. But that is a long long time ago.

Already for another long time the work of Louis le Prince is recognised as an important part of the 19th century saga of many inventors trying to analyse an synthesize still images into moving images.There are many of them, mostly indeed unknown by the general public but the experts know them for sure.

In 1996 the book "Who's Who of Victorian Cinema" by Luke McKernan an Stephen Herbert, two eminent film historians, was published and credit was certainly given to Louis le Prince.

In 1997 Christopher Rawlence wrote the book "The Missing Reel" and made a film of the same title about Louis le Prince. You can find the info about that film here on the IMDb. So "The Missing Reel" was there before "The First Film"'

This is in no way meant to put down "The First Film" in any sort of way. I was also astonished when I read and later saw "The Missing Reel". Le Prince deserves very rightly a place in the history of the development of the cinema as a whole. No doubt about that! Any extra attention to him is very welcome, like so many other contructors/inventors. The 19th century is teeming with them.

But let's not forget the impact the Cinématographe-type of the Lumière Brothers had on the general public and the gulf of innovation that followed. I am not going into any discussions here who invented what, e.g. what was the role of the excellent constructor monsieur Carpentier, but I would like to say that the Cinématographe-type is an amazing compact, very portable machine, very well constructed and very wel designed. It seems simplicity itself. Of course I am an extremely lucky guy who has the opportunity to study the Cinématographe-type no. 311 and no. 88* in real life. That's an absolute joy! * With a great and warm thanks to mr. Michael Rogge (Look him up on YouTube!) for allowing me acces to his Cinématographe-type to study and even partly deconstruct it.

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Release Date:

8 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran misterio de la historia del cine See more »


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GBP400,000 (estimated)
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