Films with a Mission – 6th June

Christian Missions in Global History Seminar
In association with
Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image
presents a 
Workshop on Missionary Film 

Films with a Mission

Gordon Square Cinema, Birkbeck,
43 Gordon Square WC1H 0PD
Saturday 6th June, 2015. 13.30-18.00 p.m.

This half-day workshop will explore some of the key issues and questions in historically assessing missionary film collections and the significance of the ready acceptance and use of film technology by Christian missions for evangelistic purposes. The workshop includes screenings of films made in Africa and India by and about British Protestant missions: The Salvation Army, London Missionary Society and the Methodist Missionary Society, all of which produced a significant amount of film in the first half of the twentieth century. We will also screen a fiction film made by Thomas Gavin Duffy and R.S Prakash at the Pondicherry Catholic mission in South India. The presentations by academic and independent scholars will discuss how we can begin to assess the motivations, reach and impact of the production and screening of these films on local and global audiences, contemporary to their period. The workshop will thus reflect on the importance of film in the history of missionary activities and raise new perspectives for the study of collections of missionary film archive.

1.30pm Welcome
Emma Sandon (Birkbeck)

1.35pm The London Missionary Society on film in Southern Africa up to 1925
Neil Parsons (Author and Independent Film Historian)

2.20pm Methodist Missionary Society: filming conversion in Southern Africa and South India, 1920s-1940s
Emma Sandon

3.00pm Break

3.15pm The Catechist of Kil-Arni (1923), filmed at the Pondicherry mission in South India
Stephen Hughes (SOAS) 

4.30pm India’s Coral Strand: A Cinematographic Tour of Salvation Army work in the Indian Sub-continent, 1897-1929
Tony Fletcher, (Author and Independent Film Historian)

There will be discussion after each presentation and a round-up discussion.

A Wine Reception and Book Launch of Tony Fletcher’s new book will follow:
The Salvation Army and the Cinematograph 1897-1929 – A Religious Tapestry in Britain and India.
(Local History Publications, 2015)

Entrance is free and all are welcome. No booking required. There is disabled access and a café for refreshments.