As part of the upcoming Scalarama celebrations in Bristol, South West Silents are proud to announce a special collaboration with the Bristol-based brewery Dawkins Ales! Both companies have joined forces to bring a special new beer to Bristol for the autumn season celebrating one of the great film pioneers of British Cinema and one of Bristol’s least celebrated sons: William Friese-Greene.
Born in Bristol on 7th September 1855, William Edward Green (the Friese-Greene was added later) is classed by many as one of the founding fathers of British Cinema and a key figure in the early development of cinematography as a whole. In some circles he is celebrated, while in others he is damned for filing patents on devices he allegedly didn’t invent.
A successful photographer, Friese-Greene opened a number of photographic studios in Bristol, Bath, and Plymouth, before moving his business to London. While managing these shops as well as his business partners, Friese-Greene was experimenting on new forms of colour photography, as well as capturing motion pictures. This particular part of his life became the subject of the 1951 feature film The Magic Box starring Robert Donat, Margaret Johnston, Richard Attenborough and Laurence Olivier.
Over the years Bristol has celebrated Greene by erecting three plaques to the man: firstly a black plaque which can easily be missed when walking past a night club on the Triangle in Clifton. Another was placed outside the Orpheus Cinema in 1939 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his being awarded the guaranteed patent for his own Kinematograph in 1889. Finally a plaque was unveiled at his home at 12 College Street in 1955, which was later moved when the council knocked the building down in 1959. It now sits next to College Green. All told, I think we could do better than just a few plaques here in Bristol!
So on Wednesday 7th September 2016 (Greene’s birthday in fact) we will celebrate Friese-Greene’s birthday by launching a beer dedicated to the great man. The beer, named, The Friese-Greene will be launched at the Dawkins’ pub The Portcullis, in Clifton Village with a selection of films inspired by the work of William Friese-Greene on the night. The launch party starts at 7:00pm and will end late.
Check out the artwork for the Beer Pump Clip:
So come and join us and celebrate one of the great film pioneers who ever lived, William Friese-Greene!