FIVE QUESTIONS FOR..
By Wayne Burrows
The Media Archive for Central England is the depository for moving-image material from the region. Philip Leach is a programmer at MACE and has recently helped to compile Fun In The Sun, a look back at the quirks of the East Midlands summertime for Broadway’s Bar Screen.
Where does MACE get its footage from?
We collect all kinds of moving images, so anything relating to the area comes to us, from ITV’s regional news archive to home-movie reels.
Does Fun In The Sun use clips from the whole history of film?
It’s mainly from the period between the 1930s and 1970s, which is the strongest part of the archive. From the end of the 1920s ordinary people were beginning to get access to cheap film cameras, and by the 1960s and 1970s we had a golden age of Super 8.
Did any particular stories emerge from the selection?
We avoid chronological order because that feels flat. Instead, we mix the clips together, allow different eras to comment on one another, and develop threads in the editing that hold viewers’ interest and stop it seeming completely random.
Would you say it’s an exercise in nostalgia?
You see the British seaside at its peak, before package holidays began to take over, and there are lots of clips from Skegness, with the Butlin’s camp, the donkeys on the beach, people trying to put deckchairs up in the wind. I’m sure they will jog a lot of East Midlands memories.
Having studied the evidence, was the weather really better in the old days?
Nearly every clip seems to be shot outside in glorious sunshine, so it may look like that, but families wouldn’t have got the camera our on rainy days, would they?