Biography of 'Dawn Cine Group'

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Socialist film-making group

The Dawn Cine Group was founded in 1954, as a production wing of the Clydeside Film Society by Charles Bukelis. A Glasgow socialist from an immigrant family, Bukelis began filmmaking in the early 1950s. He formed the Dawn Cine Group to produce films that reflected political and social issues in Scotland. Together with thirteen other members, notably William McGregor, Donald Fletcher, Hugh Dunlop and Helen Broadbent, Dawn members arguably represented the last of Scotland’s radical political filmmakers. They were inspired in principle by the Communist Party and Soviet agitation cinema, although were never a direct instrument of party propaganda. The Dawn Cine Group was aware of the dramatic impact of cinema and hoped that the power of their films would promote political thought.

The most successful Dawn production was Let Glasgow Flourish (1956) highlighting the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions of Glasgow’s inner city slums. For the first time, this film portrayed the reality of Glasgow’s housing crisis from the perspective of the inhabitants, as opposed to the optimistic propaganda films released by Glasgow Corporation’s Housing Committee. Dawn shot newsreel footage documenting events in the Labour movement calendar - the anniversary march, to commemorate the Calton Weavers and the renaming of Larkhall Park in honour of the of mining leader Robert Smillie. They were also commissioned to make two films. The first Into Action was a promotional film showing how a Labour candidate was selected (featuring a young John Smith), and the second was for the Education Department.

Two uncompleted projects illustrate the ambitions of Dawn to reflect less publicised aspects of the Labour movement. The first, known as the OAP project’, to highlight the problems of poverty among pensioners. The second and more ambitious was the ‘Highland project’ on the crisis of depopulation in rural areas, the production of which took up a tremendous amount of the group’s time and energy between 1955 and 1956. Some surviving camera rushes are preserved in the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive entitled Lost Treasures.

The Dawn Cine Group was largely funded by the members of the organisation themselves but this was not enough to buy equipment and support bigger scale productions. Despite appeals to Labour organisations to help the Dawn folded in the late 1950s, due both to lack of funding, and because radical left wing politics began to subside in the Cold War era.

Researcher: Melissa Stewart

Films associated with 'COCOZZA, Enrico'

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'FAMILY PARTIES' thumbnail

FAMILY PARTIES [1743]

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Children enjoy a Hallowe'en fancy dress party and a family celebrates Christmas.

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1957

silent

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'LET GLASGOW FLOURISH' thumbnail

LET GLASGOW FLOURISH [1721]

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Film about housing conditions in Glasgow using footage shot in 1952 during the proposed sale of Council houses in Merrylee.

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1956

silent

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'LOST TREASURES' thumbnail

LOST TREASURES [1725]

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Sequences shot for a film on Highland depopulation; interiors of houses in Sutherland and in Glasgow, the lime kilns at Eriboll, fishing boats at Lochinver, Dounreay under construction and the hydro board work at Altnabreac, Golspie.

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1956

silent

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'PEACE DEMONSTRATION, CLYDEBANK' thumbnail

PEACE DEMONSTRATION, CLYDEBANK [2397]

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Possibly a film of the Youth Festival held in Clydebank on 28th September 1952, it shows a campsite and various sports taking place. Crowds gathering for a demonstration and groups carrying banners including "World Youth Friendship and Peace" and "Ban th

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1952

silent

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'PROCESSION IN COMMEMORATION OF CALTON WEAVERS/ROBERT SMILLIE CENTENARY' thumbnail

PROCESSION IN COMMEMORATION OF CALTON WEAVERS/ROBERT SMILLIE CENTENARY [1723]

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Glasgow Trades Council commemorate the martyrdom of the Calton weavers and lay a plaque in the Calton graveyard. Robert Smille founding member of the Scottish Labour Party has a park opened in his honour.

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1957

silent

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'RENTS PROTEST MARCH, GLASGOW' thumbnail

RENTS PROTEST MARCH, GLASGOW [1771]

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General views of Glasgow's Blythswood Square and streets in the city centre as marchers assemble and demonstrate against rents increase. Shots of speakers at the rally including Jimmy Reid.

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1973

silent

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'SCOTTISH CND PROTEST' thumbnail

SCOTTISH CND PROTEST [1741]

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Shots of Scottish CND marchers during a protest against Polaris.

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1962

silent

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'TEN GLASGOW ARTISTS EXHIBITION' thumbnail

TEN GLASGOW ARTISTS EXHIBITION [1744]

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Shots of paintings by J.M. McChlery, W. Rennie, C. Sinclair, T. Macdonald and Bet Low with close-ups of some of the artists.

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1956

silent

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'VISIT TO SOVIET UNION' thumbnail

VISIT TO SOVIET UNION [2425]

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A visit to the Soviet Union by a group of British delegates (possibly trade unionists), including a display of a national dance and the laying of flowers on a memorial.

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1960

silent

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