Archival Documents of Official Film
The documents available for scrutiny on this website have been collected over the course of more than five years. The research was funded by six Hong Kong government grants and various internal HKBU grants, and covers the colonial official film in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, Malaysia and India. The majority of the documents were written by government officials and deal with the use of the official film in the South and South-East Asia region over the period from 1945 to the 1970s. These documents reveal the process of colonial withdrawal from the region, the project of nation building and the role played by the official film in that. As such, they offer insight into the region at the end of empire and during the first phase of independence. The material has already seen publication in one book, various book chapters and several journal articles, and more are planned, including an edited anthology (Aitken and Deprez, eds) on the colonial film to be published in 2016-17 by Edinburgh University Press, and a research monograph (Aitken), to be published in 2016-17 by Palgrave Macmillan.
Currently, this platform contains documents from three sources:
The National Archives (UK)
These documents from the UK National Archives consist of 1,787 pages of official reports and correspondence between officials relating to the use of the British official film and official information services in Hong Kong, Malaya/Malaysia and Singapore over the period 1945-75. The documents through light on the British withdrawal from empire in the South-East Asia region, and the forms of arrangement made with post-colonial states such as Malaysia and Singapore. The use of official information and the official film would play an important role in this process, and the documents available on this website attest to that.
National Archives of India
These documents from the records of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting held in the National Archives of India consist of 2,233 pages of official reports, memos and correspondence between Indian officials relating to the use of the official documentary film and its relationships with the private film industry, public television services and art cinema in India over the period 1948-75. The official papers presented here primarily document the organisation, role, development and governance of the Indian documentary film sector in the first three decades of independence in India, in the context of nation-building.
The Private Collection of Mr. Jagat Murari
These documents belong to the private collection of documentary film pioneer Jagat Murari, who worked for the state-sponsored Films Division of India (in charge of the production and distribution of official documentary films) and for other public film organisations, such as the Film Institute of India. These 235 pages include scripts, production notes and letters and document the process of making documentary films in India in the early days of independence, in the context of nation-building.
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