Title ID 5275Collection ID749
TitleDigital City
ThemeUrban Life
KeywordsBuildings Communities Entertainment Ethnic Groups Leisure Time Activities Local History Old Age Oral History Parks Piers Performing Arts Religious Buildings Seaside Resorts Sport Urban Areas Youth
LocalBrighton Hove
RegionalBrighton and Hove East Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionDigital Ats Development Association (DADA) Junk Television
DirectorPaul Dutnall; Graham Holden; Scott McPherson; Simon Wilkinson
Commissioning bodyCinecity
Funding bodyArts Council England, South East; Brighton & Hove City Council; Digital Arts Development Association (DADA)
MusicJohn Ovendon; MC Pitman (It Takes Tea)
ParticipantsFurther information available at Screen Archive South East
FormatMixed Colour and Black & White Sound
Duration29 min. 30 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


"24 x one minute films made as part of the Cinecity festival 2003 investigating the links between Brighton and its residents." Two of the films, St Nicholas Church and Birdcage Bandstand, can be viewed on this webpage.


Albion Hill Renee Ansell reminisces about the bombing of her Brighton home in the Second World War.

Orange Row, North Laine The story of bareknuckle boxing champion Tom Sayers who lived in Brighton's North Laine slums during the 19th century. The Digital City compilation also includes a remixed version of this film.

Woodvale Cemetery Adrian talks about his relationship with Woodvale graveyard on Lewes Road. The Digital City compilation also includes a remixed version of this film.

St Nicholas Church This film tells the story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a West African princess who was brought to England in the mid-19th century following the massacre of her family. After gaining favour with Queen Victoria, Sarah lived for a while in Brighton, marrying James Davies at St Nicholas Church. The film tells Sarah's story using archive studio photographs of her in Victorian dress, maps, sketches, images of St Nicholas Church and an interview with Bert Williams of Brighton and Hove Black History. The Digital City compilation also includes a remixed version of this film.

Chain Pier Former Brighton lifeguard Barry Rice recalls finding a gold sovereign whilst fishing off the old Chain Pier rocks.

Theatre Royal Singer John Ovendon recalls meeting the actor Richard Todd at Brighton's Theatre Royal in 1977. The film is set to one of John's records.

Birdcage Bandstand Brenda Weber reminisces with fondness about singing at Brighton's Birdcage Bandstand during the early 1950s. Her words are supported with archive photographs of the performances and with contemporary images of the ornate but rusting bandstand, now a public toilet.

Masonic Centre, Queen's Road A man stands outside a closed door, performing a routine of arm signals whilst a voice-over ponders the closed-off world of Brighton's Masonic Centre. The Digital City compilation also includes a remixed version of this film.

Dumb Waiter Café, Sydney Street Frequent visitor Simon Wilkinson sits outside the Dumb Waiter Café in Brighton, considering the merits of the café and the art of drinking tea.

Embassy Court Abstract images of one of Brighton's 1930s seafront high-rises, Embassy Court, are supported by a voice-over lamenting its lost splendor. The Digital City compilation also includes a remixed version of this film.

South Street A woman walks along South Street - there is a multilayering of her voice-over and image. The Digital City compilation also includes a remixed version of this film.

Knoll Recreation Ground Fourteen year old Daniel Bridge talks about playing football at Knoll Recreation Ground.

St Bartholomew's Church and the Railway Estate The history of St Bartholomew's Church, its parish and the community it once served is told through a series of archive photographs, contemporary interior images and interviews with church wardens John Spink and Chris Tullet.

The Goldstone Ground Former professional footballer Dudley Davies explains his links to Brighton and Hove Albion - his memories are supported with archive photographs and newspaper clippings.

Churchill Square Teenager Josh Haggart speaks via a voice-over about the Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) which forbids him from entering certain areas of Brighton.

St Ann's Well Gardens Eva speaks of her love for St Ann's Well Gardens in Hove and of its history. The Digital City compilation also includes a remixed version of this film.

Brighton Seafront Fred Tester offers his memories of Brighton seafront in the 1920s and courting his late wife Edith - family photographs and archive stills of seafront entertainment are included in the film.


A Still from 'Digital City - St Nicholas Church' (2003) showing a picture of Sarah Forbes BonettaA Still from 'Digital City - St Nicholas Church' (2003) showing an image of Bert WilliamsA Still from 'Digital City - Birdcage Bandstand' (2003) showing a picture of Brenda Weber, singingA Still from 'Digital City - Birdcage Bandstand' (2003) showing Brenda Weber

Contextual information

Cinecity, the Brighton Film Festival, was launched in 2003 with a programme that, "[explored] celluloid cites around the world and [featured] a global mix of new releases and premieres, treasures from the archive and classic reissues, the latest digital wok, live cinema presentations, film-maker events, free schools screenings and much, much more." As part of this exploration, Cinecity commissioned the Brighton-based arts organization Digital Arts Development Association (DADA) to create Digital City (2003).

The advertising for the Digital City project reads, "Four artists have used animation, video, sound and photography in helping 30 Brighton and Hove residents bring their stories to the big screen. The project aims to investigate people's links to their city. The link could be with an area, a building, or a moment in history. Each person was recorded by an artist and their words and images were used to create a one minute video piece. Screenings and interactive performances of the work will take place throughout the festival and online at". Ultimately, the project produced twenty-four one minute films, seven of which were remixed versions.

The four artists involved in the production of Digital City (2003) were chosen from a range of disciplines - Paul Dutnall works with video and photography, Graham Holden with motion graphics and self-generative media, Scott McPherson with motion graphic design and Simon Wilkinson with sound and vision. The link between the four men was an interest in digital arts, in creating links between the work and the community and in creating new audiences for it. The resulting work in Digital City (2003) displays all of the above influences, telling the everyday stories of a cross-section of Brighton and Hove residents.

Screen Archive South East houses several films produced by University of Brighton degree students on digital formats. These include Not California: This is Surfing in Brighton (2002), an energetic and stylish portrayal of surfing along Brighton coastline. Screen Archive South East has an increasing number of artists' films in its collection.

Related titles

Related resources


Myers, Walter Dean. At Her Majesty's Request: an African Princess in Victorian England. n.p.: Scholastic Press, 1999

A biography of Sarah Forbes Bonetta.


National Portrait Gallery

"The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 to collect the likenesses of famous British men and women". The collection, which is searchable online, includes several studio portraits of Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

Other Resources


"Lighthouse is a Brighton-based organisation offering a variety of creative professional development opportunities for film-makers, screenwriters and artists working with digital and moving image media.


"LUX is a not-for-profit organisation that supports and promotes contemporary and historical artists' moving image work, and those who make it, through distribution, exhibition, publishing and research."


Brighton in Pictures

Part of the Brighton and Hove City Libraries website. A selection of photographs from the collection is searchable online by place, subject and people.


The website for Cinecity, Brighton and Hove's annual film festival.

Digital City

The website for Digital City. It includes information on the artists involved in the project - some of their Digital City films can also be downloaded from the website.

Junk TV Ltd

Junk TV is, "Video Production, Education and Screening Company that was established in 1997...based in Brighton, England, Junk TV specialises in Youth and Community Video and DVD Production; Community-based Film Festivals, and Short Film Production." Digital City artists Paul Dutnall and Simon Wilkinson are directors of Junk TV Ltd.

My Brighton and Hove

Described as “a living history of Brighton and Hove”, this web resource gathers memories, photographs, knowledge and opinions about the city.