The First Film premieres in Edinburgh




Guerilla Films are delighted to announce that audiences at the Edinburgh International Film Festival will be the first to learn the truth behind the greatest mystery in cinema history when THE FIRST FILM receives its world premiere on June 23, 2015.

While the French may have invented film, it wasn’t the Lumiére Brothers and it wasn’t in France. In the late 19th century the race was on to be the first to make the leap from stills photography to actual moving pictures. The Lumiéres in Paris, Thomas Edison in New York and many others were all experimenting with the process and new technology but also another French inventor and artist Louis Le Prince based in Leeds, Yorkshire.

In October 1888 it was Le Prince who produced the world’s first films in Leeds, on cameras patented in both America and the UK.

THE FIRST FILM is filmmaker David Nicholas Wilkinson’s personal quest to try and prove, once and for all, that his birthplace has been scandalously overlooked as the real birthplace of film and the cameras document his investigation from start to finish.

Once Le Prince had perfected his projection machine, he arranged to demonstrate his discovery to the American public and thus the world. On September 16, 1890, just weeks before he was due to sail to New York, Louis Aimé 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. As a result, several years later, Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers were to claim the glory and the prize and both Le Prince’s name and his pioneering work was forgotten.

David Nicholas Wilkinson was told this story at school which sparked a lifelong interest in the story but, having spent more than 45 years in the film industry as a distributor, producer and actor, Wilkinson was still baffled that Le Prince was little known or celebrated outside ‘God’s own County’ of Yorkshire.

THE FIRST FILM seeks to discover why this film-making pioneer has never received the acknowledgment he deserves and to right that wrong. The result is an enthralling journey into the origins of cinema – a compelling story of British (and Yorkshire) innovation, ruthless international competition and possibly murder most foul…


Produced, Directed and Presented by
David Nicholas Wilkinson


Michael Harvey, Mark Rance, Stephen Herbert, Daniel Martin, Tony Earnshaw, Adrian Wootton, Tony North, Jacques Pfend, Tony Pierce-Roberts BSC, Laurie Snyder, Carol S Ward, Louise A Handley, Quentin Dowse, Tony North, Liz Rymer with Ronald Harwood, Tom Courtenay and Joe Eszterhas

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