The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Naming Event Brochure

Canterbury Christ Church Brochure Cover

The College wishes to commemorate film maker Michael Powell by naming after him the recently opened building which houses the Department of Radio, Film and Television Studies. Powell's work and his connections with Canterbury make him a particularly relevant and important figure for the College and the Department.

Powell was one of Canterbury's most famous sons and a legendary film director. The College wishes to honour his memory and mark his unique place in the local landscape and world cinema history.

Michael Powell's contribution to British, and world cinema, was remarkable. His influence can be seen today in the works of top film directors, such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. The College is delighted that Powell's widow Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, herself an Oscar winning film editor, will participate in the naming ceremony and dedicate the building.

Two years ago, the interest this esteemed filmmaker commands, not only locally but also nationally and internationally, was highlighted when Thelma Schoonmaker Powell came to the College. She discussed her collaboration with Martin Scorsese and the influence of her husband on one of the world's greatest living film directors. Many of Michael's friends and associates gathered to celebrate the event. They included Kathleen Byron, Marius Goring, Noreen Ackland, editor of Powell's serial killer masterpiece Peeping Tom, and Professor Ian Christie, probably the world's leading authority on Michael Powell.

Nine years after Powell's death, his work continues to excite interest and respect. His influence lives on in a generation of filmmakers who find stimulus for creative, emotive and imaginative cinema in his ideas and his achievements.

The formal naming ceremony is followed by a presentation by Thelma Schoonmaker Powell. A one day conference, on the following day, will include a screening of Powell's A Canterbury Tale. Lady Sheila Attenborough, the star of the film, will attend both events. The conference will contextualise the film, by examining Powell's local roots, consider his comments upon our ever changing world and give an insight into his working methods.


7.00 pm - 7.30 pm NAMING CEREMONY

10.30 am - 11.00 am ARRIVAL AND COFFEE
11.00 am - 11.30 am NICK BURTON
Head of Department, Radio, Film & Television Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University College.
Introduction to conference.
11.30 am - 12.15 pm DR PETER VUJAKOVIC
Principal Lecturer in Geography at Canterbury Christ Church University College. "People, Place & Landscape" - The cultural geographies of Powell and Pressburger.
12.15 pm - 1.00 pm PROFESSOR IAN CHRISTIE
Professor of Film, Birkbeck College, University of London "History is Now and England" - A Canterbury Tale in its wartime context.
2.15 pm - 2.45 pm PAUL TRITTON
Journalist & Author
Introduction to A Canterbury Tale

Thelma Schoonmaker Powell,
2nd from left, alongside Eddie
McMillan, naming events co-
ordinator and students at the
College in 1996
Thelma & CCC people


Michael Powell was born at Howletts near Canterbury, and spent his childhood at Hoath Farm, Bekesbourne. He was educated at the King's School. On starting work in the film industry, he observed with eagerness the creativity, professionalism and craftsmanship needed to produce a feature film. In 1937 Powell made The Edge of the World, which led to a fortuitous meeting with Emeric Pressburger. The two then began what would become one of the most remarkable partnerships in British cinematic history.

Future productions by their company, The Archers, would carry the joint credit title: Written, Produced and Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Their films The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1 943), A Canterbury Tale (1 944), A Matter of Life and Death (1 946), Black Narcissus (1 947) and The Red Shoes (1 948) established their lasting reputation as imaginative and compelling filmmakers.

In 1960 Powell directed Peeping Tom, which at the time was unfairly misunderstood and condemned; a judgement that effectively ended his career.

Rediscovered in the 1970's by a new generation of directors including Martin Scorsese, Powell moved to America. In 1978, he married Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese's editor, spending the last years of his life as part of Scorsese's creative team.

The Michael Powell Building

Department of Radio, Film and Television
Canterbury Christ Church University College
Tel: 01227 782348 Fax: 01227 782914

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