Colonial Film Project

In 2007, a three-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council was launched to create a catalogue of moving images of the British Empire.

A collaboration between two universities (Birkbeck College and University College London) and three film archives (IWM, the BFI, and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum), this project resulted in the creation of a dedicated website, hosting information on over 6000 films, with 150 available to view online. The portal gives unprecedent insight into a major, but frequently hidden, aspect of the global cultural heritage of the British Empire. 

Sergeant E.E. Miller in action with the 5th Indian Division during the drive on the Rangoon.

The film catalogue is available to browse by country, date, topic, or keyword. Furthermore, over 350 of the most important films in the collection are accompanied by in-depth historical commentary authored by the project team.

In addition to the database, the project led to multiple film seasons,  a series of seminars, and two major international conferences, in Pittsburgh and London. It also produced a book: Film and the End of Empire, published by Palgrave Macmillan and the BFI in 2011.