Shortlist symbol Add to shortlist button.

'The First Film' - The fascinating documentary about the forgotten inventor of motion pictures




LOS ANGELES (Aug. 3, 2016) – The first motion picture was not filmed in America by Thomas Edison, or in France by the Lumiére Brothers. The first capture of moving images was produced in October 1888 in Leeds, England by the forgotten inventor of motion pictures, Louis Le Prince. David Nicholas Wilkinson’s acclaimed documentary, THE FIRST FILM, played to rave reviews in the U.K., and will premiere online in North American on September 12 across all major platforms from Guerilla Films.


In October 1888, Louis Le Prince produced the world's first films in Leeds, England. These were shot on cameras patented in both America and the UK. Once he had perfected his projection machine, Le Prince arranged to demonstrate his discovery to the American public and thus the world.


On 16th September 1890, just days before he was due to sail to New York, Louis Augustine Aime Le Prince stepped onto the Dijon to Paris train and was never seen again. No body was ever found, so legally no one could fight the Le Prince claim that he invented a camera that recorded the very first moving image. As a result, several years later, Thomas Edison and the Lumiére Brothers were to claim to the glory and the prize of being acknowledged as the first people to pioneer film. Louis Le Prince was never added to history books. But for one lone voice who worked with him, Le Prince's name and his pioneering work was forgotten.


THE FIRST FILM is David Nicholas Wilkinson's decades long quest to prove to the world that a Frenchman Louis Le Prince made the first films in 1888 and that the birthplace of motion pictures was not America nor France, but in fact the city of Leeds in the county of Yorkshire, England.


THE FIRST FILM will receive its U.S. premiere on Sept. 8 at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, with an encore screening on Sept. 9. The Morris-Jumel Mansion was chosen by Le Prince to debut his first footage in 1890, as he recognized the significance of debuting the world’s first film in New York. Le Prince disappeared en route to New York, and his footage, as seen in THE FIRST FILM, will finally make its New York debut 126 years later. Each screening will feature a Q&A with Wilkinson and the Executive Director of the Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum, Carol S. Ward.


“Like every British filmmaker of my generation America is the country to have your film seen. With THE FIRST FILM, it is doubly important,” said Wilkinson. “By screening at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, we are completing the journey the French born, American Citizen Louis Le Prince was denied when he disappeared in 1890. Le Prince recognized how important it was for his footage to be shown in America, rather than Britain or France in order to have the greatest impact on the world stage. I am humbled to complete this significant screening for him by premiering his footage within my film.”

“Beyond that, as a veteran of the film industry, I was astonished by how little my colleagues knew of Le Prince and his contribution to motion pictures,” continued Wilkinson. “After 33-years of investigation into his claim, I am certain that Le Prince produced the world’s first film in Leeds, England. His story must be told.”



THE FIRST FILM will be available online from Guerilla Films on Sept. 12 on iTunes, Xbox, Googleplay, Amazon, CinemaNow, Vimeo and more to be announced.

THE FIRST FILM is Produced, Directed and Presented by David Nicholas Wilkinson; Featuring Michael Harvey, Mark Rance, Stephen Herbert, Daniel Martin, Tony Earnshaw, Adrian Wootton, Tony North, Jacques Pfend, Tony Pierce-Roberts BSC, Laurie Snyder, Carol S Ward, Louise A Handley, Quentin Dowse Tony North, Liz Rymer with Ronald Harwood, Tom Courtenay and Joe Eszterhas

THE FIRST FILM was shot in Leeds, Bradford, London, Hastings in the UK, Metz, Dijon, Cannes and Paris in France; and Memphis, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Fire Island and New York in the U.S.

To learn more about the film, please visit


To learn more about the Sept. 8 & 9 U.S. premiere screenings at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York and to purchase tickets, please visit


The First Film