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The Great White Silence by Gemma Starkey
Introduction About the Film A New Score Distributing the Film    

"The Great White Silence is a fascinating national, cultural document and probably the most important film we've got in the National Film Archive." - Bryony Dixon, Curator of Silent Film, BFI National Archive

Shot between 1910 and 1912, Herbert Ponting's epic The Great White Silence is the extraordinary eyewitness account of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's quest for the South Pole. Having acquired the original camera negatives in 1945 and been custodian ever since, the BFI National Archive has now painstakingly restored Ponting's remarkable film to mark the centenary of the Scott expedition.

This tour aims to provide you with an insight into how the BFI restores, re-imagines and promotes an archive film of national and cultural significance. Alongside related film and interview extracts, the first section puts The Great White Silence and its restoration into context. We then explore the challenges of commissioning and creating a new film score with the help of innovative composer Simon Fisher Turner. Finally, Jane Giles, the BFI's head of content, discusses how she approaches selling a two-hour silent non-fiction film to audiences.

Taken together, The Great White Silence and the related film and video material available in this tour have a wide educational application. By enabling students to work with both primary and secondary source material, they encourage students to engage critically, culturally and creatively with an event of historical significance from early in the last century. This tour has been designed for students to explore independently as well as for use in the Secondary classroom. Follow the education links at the side of each page to see how you can start applying some of the material highlighted in each section.

Find your way around the tour using the tabs at the top of the page.

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the Terra Nova

The 'Terra Nova'