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Fig. 1. The 1982 Oxford Film Foundation Handbook
Privilege, which had Hugh Grant and Imogen Stubbs in key roles, directed by Michael Hoffman, had its charity premier at BAFTA in June 1982. Interest in film making and TV production grew out of student theatre groups such as the Oxford University Drama Society (OUDS) and student publications such as the newspaper Cherwell and the magazine Isis.
Using Sony Betamax kit a student group called ‘Last Stand Video’ videoed activities across the university and regularly compiled this into a student news programme called ‘Oxford Television News’ that students distributed to colleges on video cassette.
Recently, over 12 hours of video footage was successfully digitized and will in due course be released online.
I was on the Fringe helping out with the Oxford Theatre Group so that I was around to video all that went on.
Shot on Sony Betamax I covered life on the fringe, rehearsals and performances.
Three decades on and I have the original Betamax tapes and from a box of 20 have had one digitized.
The hope is that this can be shared with the original participants in due course.
From early 1982 to graduation in June 1984 I used a Sony Betamax kit to video undergraduate life at Oxford University.
The 18 tapes and some 40 hours of content I am digitizing includes:
- The Oxford Union Debating Society (featuring Hilali Noordeen) The day I was in the Union Chamber I was sitting next to Susanna White and Steve Garvey who were shooting a documentary about ‘Women in Oxford’.
- The Oxford Theatre Group at the Edinburgh Fringe (Featuring all the plays: 13 Clocks, The Hunger Artist, Edward II, Titus Alone directed by Patrick Harbinson, produced by Nicky King and the Oxford Review)
- I shot this over three weeks while helping out behind the scenes at St. Mary’s Street Hall (the OTG venue) and kipping in a Free Mason’s Lodge by the Castle. Nicky King and Matthew Faulk edited in my Balliol Room (now the Oxford Internet Institute) cum edit suite the following term.
- The Oxford Student Union elections.
- The Lightweights Boat Crew in training with David Foster et al (11th March 1983)
- Torpids (various)
- Romeo & Juliet (in which I played Mercutio and lost my pants during the fight scene)
- The Taming of the Shrew: an OUDS production (in which I played Baptista) And the rehearsals.
- Abigail’s Party (directed by Anthony Geffen)
- Various other plays and boat crews
- The May Day Celebrations 1982
- Training for the Oxford Students Union president
- Oxford Television News (Various episodes of OTN in which Hugo Dixon does a Jeremy Paxman and we are introduced to the Chicken Pal Society at the Gate of India + TCG, PWG and CJP) (9th May 1983)
- OTN. Visit of Prince Charles (18th May 1983) + ‘Exter guy in glasses’ or is this in fact a Jesus guy doing a ‘party political broadcast’.
- Oxford University Boxing
- A workshop on how to shoot video (10th February 1983)
- A corporate promotional film for the language school ‘Speakeasy’
- The Oxford & Cambridge Varsity Ski Trip to Wengen
- perhaps a play produced by Tessa Ross directed by Clive Brill
- perhaps Andrew Sullivan directed by Alex Ogilvie in ‘Another Country’
- and perhaps the Women’s Eight.
and various other antics around Balliol College and the university that will reveal themselves in the course of being downloaded, graded and digitized.
I believe my aim should be to use this as the foundation for a documentary.
I need to raise £2000 to digitize/archive this content and am therefore looking for backers.
P.S. It is six weeks since I was behind a camera. I may be about to shoot some swimmers for a swimming e-learning app but if you have anything immediate let me know.