View From Here

A British Council Film Collection Competition

In the 1940’s, the British Council made a unique Collection of short documentary films to tell a story about Britain then. This summer, we want you to use those films to tell us another story about Britain - or about your own country - now.

Collection film Let's See - British engineers make movie lenses


During the 1940s, the British Council was charged to promote an idea of ‘Britain and British-ness’ by becoming an enthusiastic commissioner of over 120 documentary films designed to showcase Britain to the rest of the world.

Seen at the time by millions of people worldwide, the films give a fascinating snapshot of Britain at the time, portraying its industry, its landscapes and its people. They provide us with a unique glimpse - not necessarily into how Britain actually was, but more into how we once wanted to be seen by the rest of the world.

Since 2011, many of the films have been available online right here and have been viewed by vast numbers of people across the world.  As we upload the final selection of films to the Collection online, we want them to be more than just a static archive of old movies. Now we’re inviting you to use the Collection as a creative resource: to download the films, to reinterpret them and to share your interpretations with the world.

VIEW FROM HERE is an international filmmaking competition which invites you to plunder the British Council Film Collection to make your own short film.

You could:

  • add a new soundtrack or voiceover to one or more of the existing films
  • re-edit the films to give them new meaning
  • insert your own new pictures using either still photos or moving image
  • crowd-source a new version of one of the films with images collected from your friends
  • go back to the site or subject of one of the films and re-make it using updated images, sound or other techniques
  • find a subject in the films choosing from hospitals, schools, train stations, newsrooms and factories to iconic buildings, institutions and traditions – and make a parallel film from a similar location in your own town or country
  • or simply imagine what themes the Collection might cover if we were trying to commission films like this now in order to give an image of the UK, at home, at work, at play to the rest of the world.

Each film must be no more than 3 minutes long and you can make your film in any format using any form of moving image – be it on your mobile phone, flip camera, camcorder or even professional quality camera.  Remember that slick and professional quality is less important (provided we can still see and hear what you submit!). More important is that you tackle the British Council Film Collection and its subjects and themes, in as funny, serious, thoughtful or flippant way you choose.

Use the films to ask ‘Who were we then? Who are we now?’ – but above all, have fun giving us your ‘View From Here’!

Get some inspiration from the Collection here.

Deadline for entries to our View From Here Competition is Friday 29 August 2014.

You can enter View From Here either in our Schools competition (divided into two groups ages 5-11 or 12-18) or you can enter the General Public competition (open to any age).

A jury of esteemed film and TV personalities including Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin MacDonald, Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, and presenters Claudia Winkleman and Edith Bowman will judge your films to find a series of winners. 
Find out more about our Judges here.

Entries will be showcased on the British Council’s website and vie for a top-notch series of money-can’t-buy prizes, ranging from a guided tour of Pinewood Studios, to a visit for your whole class to the Harry Potter Experience, Gala Tickets for the London Film Festival and tea with one of our celebrity judges.
Find out about our Prizes here.

Have a look of the 'View From Here' Terms and Conditions here.

There's a handy summary of Resources available here to help you make your film.

And if you're now ready to submit, you can find out exactly how to enter here.

Good luck!