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G.A.Smith (1864–59) was one of the great early film pioneers.

A stage mesmerist and an associate of the Society for Psychical Research, his six ‘spooky’ films of 1898 represent his fascination with the ‘other side’ and his close association with late-Victorian paranormal culture. The series featured ghosts, telepathy, fairies, the devil, transformations and visions. Its only survivor is Santa Claus. In it, Santa fills the children’s stockings with presents and then … vanishes. This was a simple and effective demonstration of the new medium’s ability to create an image of wonder.

Dr Frank Gray is the Director of Screen Archive South East at the University of Brighton and a specialist in late-Victorian cinema. He has written and lectured widely on the two key members of the ‘Brighton School’: the film-makers George Albert Smith and James Williamson.

As this series of talks is entirely free it is advisable to come early.

Tickets will be issued from 6pm

Download the entire programme here.