Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive is a free public access resource for teachers, students, historians and anyone who has an interest in moving images. Spanning from 1897 to the present day, the films in the Digital Film Archive cover all aspects of life in Northern Ireland and includes everything from dramas to documentaries, newsreels and features, animation to amateur footage.
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The Coming of the Black Dawn
Something sinister this way comes in one of The Spence Brothers earliest films.
Horror 1965 25 mins
From the collection of:
One of only a handful of Spence Brothers' films shot in black and white, The Coming of The Black Dawn combines stark, but atmospheric visuals with a nerve-shredding soundtrack. Their debt to H.P. Lovecraft is made clear in the naming of the demon, Cthula. Landmarks such as Helen's Tower and Tulynakill graveyard lend a touch of menace to proceedings.
Twin brothers Roy and Noel Spence have been making films like this for over fifty years; with subjects including crafty leprechauns, creatures from outer space, fifties rock 'n' rollers and the undead. You can enjoy many of these fantastical creations on BFI player. This film is courtesy of Roy Spence and is held in the Irish Film Archive.
Drama 1949 22 mins Silent
Prize-winning amateur film about the fleeting affair between a housewife and a young man on a summer day.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1970 22 mins
A man loses everything he has day-dreaming his way through life
Toys Will Be Toys
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1988 5 mins Location: South Shields
Barbie dolls in pink battle khaki killing machines in a Christmas animation that cocks a snook at the “Disney Doctrine”.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1986 10 mins Location: North Tyneside
An exuberant animated short celebrates writer Sid Chaplins short story about the defiant spirit of an old miner who finds his beloved pigeon loft is under threat.
Boy and the Cat
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1976 10 mins Location: South Shields
A boy and his cat make mischief in the snow at South Shields in this captivating hand-drawn childrens animation created by Sheila Graber.
Student film 1972 25 mins Location: Sheffield
This bizarre science fiction film made by students at Sheffield University gives a great insight into the mindset and aesthetic of the early 1970s.
Documentary 1963 31 mins Location: Derry / Londonderry
A family holiday in Northern Ireland begins an exciting quest into the life of a saint.
Curragh to Iona
Documentary 1963 24 mins Location: Derry / Londonderry
Join a fearless crew on a spiritual maritime adventure from the shores of Derry to Iona.
Science Fiction 1980 18 mins Location: Strangford Lough
Who will triumph when a game of hide and seek turns into a campaign against nuclear power?
Dedication of Colours by the Lord Bishop of down and Dromore , June 22nd 1952
Promotional 1952 10 mins Silent Location: Newtownards
The Princess Royal inspects members of the Red Cross in a large dedication ceremony held in Newtownards
The Tryzzian Exiles
Fantasy 1972 24 mins Location: Newtownards
Alien outcasts run amok on planet Earth in Roy Spence's sci-fi romp, a film that draws on the lo-fi charm of Ed Wood and Roger Corman.
The National Trust in Ulster
Sponsored film 1957 19 mins Location: Giant's Causeway
A quirky tour of Trust properties, from international landmarks such as the Giant's Causeway, to lesser known gems like Springhill House.
Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Silent
The Victorian great and good mark the passing of a political titan
Parade of Troops with Band and Crowds Following
Non-Fiction 1900 2 mins Silent
For Britons during the Boer War, a welcome opportunity to support the troops - and march alongside them
Workers Leaving Work at Vickers
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Location: Barrow-In-Furness
Factory gate glimpses at - we think - Barrow-in-Furness
Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Silent Location: Worthing
Worthing waves at us in this mesmerising early film
The Biter Bit
Comedy 1898 1 mins Silent
Film's first joke? A fresh take on an old prank.
Opening of the Kiel Canal
Non-Fiction 1895 0 mins Silent
This was one of a series of actuality films made by the Victorian pioneer Birt Acres during 1895. The film is thought to have been shot on June 20, on the occasion of the opening of the Kiel Canal by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Acres shot other films at the same time, but they have not survived.
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