The results are in

The Files on Film competition asked aspiring filmmakers to create short films, inspired by a selection of diverse documents from our collection. As well as picking a winner and runner up, our judging panel were so impressed with the quality of the responses they also wanted to highly recommend three other entrants. These five films are available to watch below, alongside the documents that inspired them and the judges’ comments. You can also view the complete shortlist on our Youtube page.

With thanks to the Friends of the National Archives for their generous support of Files on Film.

1st place
Angus Campbell Golding: ‘A West Indian in England’

CO 875/59/1: Ministry of Information leaflet (PDF, 36.95Mb)
A draft copy of 'A West Indian in England' by H D Carberry and Dudley Thompson, 1949-1951.

The judges unanimously agreed that this film achieved the perfect combination of humour, emotion and drama in bringing the document to life. They felt the story was told beautifully and elements would resonate with the experiences of both those arriving in England for the first time and those who had lived here all their lives.

2nd place
Eglantine Pillet: ‘No Vote, No Census’

RG 14/2277 f.362 and RG 14/227 f.4: 1911 census returns (PDF, 1.24Mb) Two 1911 census returns showing responses from suffragettes.

The judges were extremely impressed with the ability of this film to make such an important issue accessible and engaging in such a short period of time. They felt the humorous interpretation brought the documents to life in a new and exciting way by imagining the characters involved.

Highly commended

Zoe Rixon: ‘A Letter to Mary’

C 114/190: Jewellery box of a 'lunatic' (PDF, 0.13Mb) An image of the contents of the jewellery box of Mary Smith, a 'lunatic', 1811.

The judges were very impressed by this highly emotive personal response to the document that provided a thought provoking link to mental health issues in the past that are still very present today.

Coral Manton: ‘The investigation of alleged unnatural relationships amongst service women’

AIR 2/13859: Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) - treatment of immorality; policies and procedures (PDF, 8.59Mb) A lecture given to the Women's Royal Air Force Officer Cadet Unit on the treatment of immorality and policies and procedures regarding lesbianism, 1945-1968.

The judges thoroughly enjoyed the humorous side of this interpretation and the feeling that the individual service woman was communicating far more than her superior and the document, telling the audience a different story.

Gabriel Greenough: ‘Lapse’

C 114/190: Jewellery box of a 'lunatic' (PDF, 0.13Mb) An image of the contents of the jewellery box of Mary Smith, a 'lunatic', 1811.

The judges were impressed by this beautifully crafted film and use of atmospheric music. They felt it was a very creative interpretation of the document, linking the past and present without the need for explanation.

Judges' biographies

Julie Anderson is a senior lecturer at the University of Kent and a specialist in disability history. She has written several articles and books on the history of disability, and has appeared on a number of radio and television programmes, most recently on the ten-part BBC Radio 4 series Disability History with Peter White. Julie is a member of The National Archives' User Advisory Group.

David Katznelson is a BAFTA and EMMY award winning Director of Photography whose credits include Shoot the Messenger, This Little Life, Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones.

Oliver Morley is the former Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives.

Anne Samson is Chair of the Friends of The National Archives, having previously been on the Council and Editor of the Friends' Magazine. She is an Historian of British and South African relations post-1910 and an educationalist. She coordinates the Great War (East) Africa Association and has published two books on the First World War in East, Central and Southern Africa.

Patrick Vernon is a leading expert on African and Caribbean diaspora family genealogy, and has worked as an adviser to The National Archives, BBC, British Council in East and West Africa, and a number of local archives, libraries and museums. He is a committee member for Healthwatch England and a councillor in Hackney. He is the founder of 100 Great Black Britons Campaign and Every Generation Media, which publishes books and produces films on Black History. Patrick is a member of The National Archives' User Advisory Group.

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