Horsforth lecturer's bid to prove city’s link to birth of film-making

Leeds councillor Bernard Atha and film lecturer Liz Rymer filming at Hyde Park Picture House and, inset, the blue plaque in Leeds commemorating Louis Le Prince

Leeds councillor Bernard Atha and film lecturer Liz Rymer filming at Hyde Park Picture House and, inset, the blue plaque in Leeds commemorating Louis Le Prince

First published in News Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

The birth of film-making in Leeds and a mysterious disappearance from more than a century ago will be probed in a new documentary.

A film lecturer from Horsforth-based Leeds Trinity University has contributed to the production of the documentary which traces the city’s connections to the origins of film-making – and one of cinema’s greatest mysteries.

Liz Rymer, associate principal lecturer in the department of media, film and culture, has been working with the producers of a new feature-length documentary, The First Film.

The Guerrilla Films documentary, due for cinema release in July, tells the story of Louis Le Prince, a Frenchman who invented the first moving picture camera.

Le Prince had arranged to demonstrate his discovery to the American public – but just days before he was due to sail to New York in 1890 he took the train from Dijon to Paris and was never seen again. 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.

The First Film aims to prove, once and for all, that Le Prince is the inventor of the moving image and that Leeds is cinema’s spiritual home.

Liz has a long-standing connection to the story of Le Prince. She was part of the team who worked on the original Leeds Inter-national Film Festival reconstruction of Le Prince’s Leeds Bridge film footage in 1988.

She has worked as part of the research team for The First Film, and is also interviewed in the documentary about the importance of Le Prince, his work, his subsequent disappearance and the connection to Leeds.

She said: “From the very early days of Leeds International Film Festival, I have been fascinated by the Le Prince story.

“What happened to him on that fateful journey from Dijon to Paris is a complete mystery, which makes his story all the more enticing.

“Being part of the 1988 reconstruction of the Leeds Bridge footage was an incredible experience and it was then that I discovered Le Prince and his incredible work.

“The documentary has been a pleasure to work on and I hope it goes some way to restoring Le Prince to his rightful place – inventor of the moving image.”

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