11 April 2018

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Film Pioneer Georges Méliès's Long-Lost Autobiography to be Published via Kickstarter

Georges Méliès (1861-1938) is arguably the most important figure in narrative cinema history. He pioneered the Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror genres and was the first to create and use special effects. Many of his concepts are still used today and although his work is over 100 years old, he gave cinema its first iconic image - the moon with a rocket in his eye. Martin Scorsese's 2011 film 'Hugo' was an homage to Méliès...

Georges Méliès's iconic moon from A Trip To The Moon (1902)
Georges Méliès's iconic moon from A Trip To The Moon (1902) (PRNewsfoto/Canal Cat Films)
The autobiography of Georges Melies, the father of cinema, has been discovered by a filmmaker in London, UK. It is being published after being unavailable for 73 years and this is the first time it has been translated into English. 
81 years ago, at the age of 77, Georges Méliès - the father of narrative and fantastical film - hand-wrote his autobiography. It has been completely unavailable since 1945 and has never been translated into English. This is one of the great unseen texts of cinema history.
Georges Méliès (1861-1938) is arguably the most important figure in narrative cinema history. He pioneered the Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror genres and was the first to create and use special effects. Many of his concepts are still used today and although his work is over 100 years old, he gave cinema its first iconic image - the moon with a rocket in his eye. Martin Scorsese's 2011 film 'Hugo' was an homage to Méliès.
"He invented everything, basically, he invented it all." - Martin Scorsese
Jon Spira a documentary filmmaker who works with the British Film Institute and directed recent Star Wars documentary Elstree 1976, discovered a facsimile of Méliès's handwritten manuscript in the collection of an antique bookseller in rural France and is now publishing the memoir in a brand new hardback edition.
Says Spira: "This is a hugely significant, long-forgotten text. A firsthand account of the birth of cinema from a man who was not only there but was its greatest innovator and artist. It deserves to be read."
Georges Méliès
Georges Méliès
More About Georges Méliès's Memoir:
(Via the Kickstarter  page)
This memoir is an enthralling story in which Méliès guides us from his childhood into his early career, explaining how all of the elements fell into place to put him in the perfect position to become a pioneer of cinema. He talks about becoming one of the first people in the world to see a projected moving image at a private demonstration by the Lumiére brothers and the international mission this inspired him to take to become a part of the new medium. He explains how and why he became the first impressario of cinema, how he built France's first film studio and how he invented special effects techniques and helped define the very format of cinematic film. More than this, it's a human story; at times braggadocios, joyous, humble and bitter. We learn how times and the industry changed, how he became the first victim of film piracy and how he ended up in his old age, forgotten, broke and selling toys and sweets in a tiny stall in Montparnasse train station. Most interesting to me was discovering that he was a man already aware of his legacy and surprisingly unhappy about how he could see he was going to be remembered. His memoir crackles with life and is a vivid account of the dawn of movies from its most colourful participant.
Georges Méliès's Memoir
Georges Méliès's Memoir
Film fans and history buffs can pre-order their copies of the book or the deluxe wooden box set now on Spira's Kickstarter campaign at: kck.st/2GkTttH

SOURCE: Canal Cat Films

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