BRADFORD plays a role in a new film unravelling "the greatest mystery in cinema history".

The First Film is the story of French inventor Louis Le Prince, who made the world's first moving picture. Two cameras he patented, including one thought to have shot the historic film, are now on display at the city's National Media Museum.

In the late 19th century, when the race was on to make the leap from stills photography to moving pictures, the Lumiére Brothers in Paris and Thomas Edison in New York were experimenting with new technology.

So too was Le Prince who, in October, 1888 produced the world’s first film, shot on cameras patented in America and the UK.

Just as he was about to sail to America for a public demonstration of his new projection machine, he disappeared in mysterious circumstances.


Edison and the Lumiére Brothers became the acknowledged pioneers of motion pictures and cinematography, and Le Prince’s work was forgotten.

Now Le Prince's story is told by producer David Wilkinson's documentary revealing his 33-year quest to discover why Le Prince is missing from history books, and to prove that film was invented in Yorkshire.

Using archive footage, testimony from the Le Prince family, voiced by Bradford actor Ben Eagle and Bafta-winning actress Sarah Lancashire, and interviews with film historians and patent law experts, it's a compelling story of innovation, ruthless competition, and possibly murder.

The film will be shown in Bradford next month. Le Prince's work, along with cinematography pioneers working in Bradford, formed part of Bradford's bid for UNESCO City of Film status.

City of Film director David Wilson said: "I'm pleased David Wilkinson has brought this compelling story to the big screen. There was so much activity around that time and Bradford played a key role in the continuing development of film and cinema technology.

"Some of the first-ever movies were shown in 1894 at the Kineoptoscope Parlour in Bradford's Town Hall Square. Richard Appleton demonstrated his Cieroscope and Edison showed films at St George's Hall.

"It was a real era for invention and new technology and West Yorkshire was very much at the heart of the action.’

Le Prince's two cameras were presented to the Science Museum in 1930 by his daughter, attending a plaque unveiling at her father’s Leeds workshop. They are currently at the National Media Museum.

*The First Film will be screened at Bradford's Cubby Broccoli cinema on Thursday, July 2, at 6.30pm, followed by a Q&A with David Wilkinson.

Tickets are available at 0871 902 5756 or