This is the entertaining story, by Howard Smith an accredited Arts Society lecturer, of how documentary films started from the early French and Edwardian days of silent movies. Film was still at a very much experimental stage and we will look at the Soviet influence with Battleship Potemkin and Man with a Movie Camera to the formation of the GPO Film Unit by John Grierson with Alberto Cavalcanti in the 1930s.

• The lecture has many clips from films including Coalface, The Granton Trawler, Love on the Wing, Spare Time and of course, Night Mail, the classic film featuring the poetry of
W H Auden and music by Benjamin Britten.  

• The influence of the GPO Film Unit was extraordinary over its short life. Many of the team joined the Crown Film Unit or went on to production companies like Ealing Studios to use their innovative skills in feature films.