By J. P. BOLAND, K.S.G.
Contact has already been established with the British Film Institute by those who have at heart the increased use of the film in Catholic schools. And now comes the second annual report to encourage still closer co-operation.
It is not generally known that the grant from the Privy Council to the British Film Institute amounted to £8,000 in all during the first two years. The work of committees, the issue of reports and leaflets are well set out in this report, and if I pay special attention to the educational film section it is because that section more than any other will be of interest to Catholic school managers.
The governors of the institute recommended that the most suitable projector is one for a 16 mm. sound-on-film, capable of showing both sound and silent films at their proper speed. It seems likely therefore that every effort will be made by manufacturers to put on the market a suitable projector of this type.
Removing Customs Duties Most in importance in the report is the stress laid on the " Free Trade in Educational Films," which is now in operation. Customs duties are to be waived by the nations which have adhered to the convention, so that educational films can freely circulate from country to country. The excellent work done by the Bonne Presse in France and by the Catholic educational film producers in Italy, in Belgium, in Germany, can therefore, we hope, be freely utilised under existing postal facilities.
Naturally each national government has to certify in the first place that a particular film comes within the definition of an educational film, and it is the British Film Institute which has been invited by the Board of Education to advise and assist in this country.
Censorship It would appear, therefore, that a great step in advance has been taken to make available in our schools the very best educational films, whatever be the country of origin, if only such country has ratified the convention of October, 1933.
It may be asked, has the British Film Institute tackled the censoring of unsuitable films? I learn from the report that in this respect their intervention is very limited in scope. It amounts to this: Vouchers of approval will be given to films voluntarily submitted for examina
tion. The voucher will be worded "Approved by the British Film Institute as of Educational and Cultural Value," and will only be awarded after actual viewing by special committees set up by the institute.
Just in the same way, therefore, as the C.T.S. Film Library has viewed and thereby given its approval to every one of the 600 films contained in its catalogue, whether dramatic, entertaining, or purely educational in character, so the British Film Institute will vouch for " the educational and cultural value " of those which it lists.
No great advance here, it will be admitted, towards the checking of the unsuitable films. Still, something has been done, and it remains for the Catholic public to continue pressing until the undesirable film becomes a thing of the past.
INTERNATIONAL FILM CHAMBER
British Producers Not To Join
After resolutions passed at an inter• national film congress in Berlin last April representatives of the film industries of twenty-one European countries were invited to attend meetings for the purpose of forming an International Film Chamber for the establishment of closer relations between the film trades of the several countries.
At a meeting of the film producers' group of the Federation of British Industries the reports of its representatives Were carefully considered.
It was unanimously resolved that British film producers would not make application for `membership of the International Film Chamber, and the president-elect of the chamber has been so informed.