Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

New Radio 4 season explores history and impact of cinema

Francine Stock

One hundred years after the first Hollywood studio opened in 1911, BBC Radio 4 puts the spotlight on film with a season of special programmes (14-29 January) – and the launch of two fascinating BBC collections of archive interviews with some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Mohit Bakaya, Commissioning Editor, Radio 4, says: "Today people can watch films outdoors, in living rooms, in multiplexes, on phones, on planes, in cars... almost anywhere. And the digital revolution is changing how films are made and who the filmmakers are. Giving insight into this dynamic industry, Radio 4's special season of programmes takes listeners to the heart of cinema and explores where our relationship with film is heading."

Highlights of Radio 4's film season include: a personal history of film by historian and film critic David Thomson; broadcaster Francine Stock on pop-up cinema and Hollywood's grip on the industry; artist filmmaker Isaac Julien on artists working in film; filmmaker Asif Kapadia on London's underground filmmakers; broadcaster Barry Norman on the history of British cinema going; and writer, journalist and broadcaster Matthew Sweet on "pocket film", featuring a specifically commissioned mobile phone film by British film director Gurinder Chadha. With contributions from: Oscar-winning film producer Sir David Puttnam; director Ken Loach; and director Sam Mendes. Radio 4's The Film Programme and regular arts programme Front Row will also be supporting the season with special features on film.

To coincide with the season, the Radio 4 website has released over two hundred interviews with contemporary film stars, directors and producers broadcast on the network since 2002 via the Radio 4 Film Interview Collection. Interviewees include: Ben Affleck, Clint Eastwood, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, the Coen Brothers, Helena Bonham Carter and Renee Zellweger.

And BBC Archive launches a large collection of radio interviews with the stars of the "Golden Age" of American cinema. Hollywood Voices features a mix of broadcasts and unedited interviews with film stars of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties – many available in full for the first time.

This historic collection has interviews with stars from Harold Lloyd to James Cagney, Debbie Reynolds to Rita Hayworth. Further highlights include: a "round table" with Charlie Chaplin; conversations with Buster Keaton and Louise Brooks on the early days of American cinema; a fiery exchange with Bette Davis; and an insight into the power of music courtesy of Alfred Hitchcock. Two galleries of photos from the BBC stills library also provide a rare glimpse of Hollywood glamour in and around the BBC from 1930-1970.

Notes to Editors

Film season programme information:

Going To The Flicks with Barry Norman on how the experience of going to the cinema in Britain has changed over the last century, as recalled through the voices of British cinema-goers (Saturday 15 and 22 January, 8pm).

Acclaimed British director, Asif Kapadia, uncovers Exploding Cinema – a coalition of underground filmmakers who challenge listeners to rethink the ways they watch and rate film (Sunday 16 January, 1.30pm).

In Brief Encounters, a series of 15 three-minute vignettes transport listeners to cinemas across the world to meet cinema owners, audiences and others whose lives revolve around film (Weekdays at 12.55pm, 4.55pm and within Front Row from 7.15pm starting Monday 17 January).

A 10-part narrative history film, Life At 24 Frames A Second, as interpreted by historian and film critic David Thomson; David takes listeners on a personal journey through how cinema has changed us (Weekdays at 3.45pm from Monday 17 January).

Francine Stock presents a two-part series on Hollywood. In Hollywood: The Prequel, she examines this early example of globalisation, discovering exactly when and why it happened – despite the roots of many of Hollywood's staple genres being found in Europe. In Hollywood: The Sequel, Francine considers whether the digital revolution will impact the USA's grip on the global market (Tuesday 18 and 25 January, 9am).

Leading artist and filmmaker, Isaac Julien gives listeners an insider's view to the approaches, issues, developments and setbacks facing leading artists working in film in Isaac Julien's Guide to Artists Filmmaking (Tuesday 18 January, 11.30am).

In the lead up to the film season, The Film Programme has looked at the growth in community cinema and the power of film to bring people together. In January, it features listeners' film-viewing diaries and presenter Francine Stock will be tweeting about her film life during the season and beyond. In a special edition (Friday 21 January), Francine tries to set up her own pop-up cinema event in Scotland. She enlists the help of experts but what she needs most is a director – will Ken Loach come to her rescue? (Fridays at 4.30pm and Sundays at 11pm)

In Pocket Cinema, Matthew Sweet looks at how the mobile phone is transforming the way people watch and make movies. The programme follows and features a specially commissioned "Pocket Film2 by British film director Gurinder Chadha which can be viewed on the Radio 4 website (Sunday 23 January, 1.30pm).

Radio 4's Front Row will be running special features on film throughout the season – including an Oscar nominations special on Tuesday 25 January (Weekdays at 7.15pm).

And as the film season draws to a close, in a special Archive On 4, there's another chance to hear highlights from the Brief Encounters series in Brief Encounters: A World View Of Cinema. As well as an omnibus selection, listeners will hear from filmmakers and film experts who will be their guide to the global consumption of cinema (Saturday 29 January, 8pm).

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