Biography of 'Glasgow School of Art Kinecraft Society (GSAKS)'

Student Film Society

Glasgow School of Art’s Kinecraft Society (GSAKS) was formed in 1933, principally around students Norman McLaren and Stewart McAllister. Much of their early films were hand crafted, with animation playing a large part, often displaying avant garde influences. Despite strict limitations on equipment and budget, the films were highly inventive, which McLaren later described as ‘making virtue of necessities’.

One of the earliest works of the society, Seven Till Five, detailing a day in the life of the Art School, won the Award For Documentary at the 1934 Scottish Amateur Film Festival (SAFF). Building on this success, the group developed a piece entitled Camera Making Whoopee, based around the Art School’s Christmas Carnival Ball. Taking nine months to make, it featured many filmmaking tricks such as superimpositions, dissolves and bisected frames. Entered into the SAFF in 1936, it led to McLaren and McAllister being offered the opportunity to work with John Grierson, widely considered to be the founder of British documentary film, at the General Post Office (GPO) Film Unit. Norman McLaren later moved to the National Film Board of Canada, whilst Stewart McAllister moved on to British Transport Films.

Other members of the society included Helen Biggar, Violet Anderson (later Violet Neish), John Neish, and member of staff William J. McLean, who was to join Campbell Harper Films after the Second World War.

Researcher: David Ross

Films associated with 'COCOZZA, Enrico'

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'ASK NO QUESTIONS' thumbnail

ASK NO QUESTIONS [7209]

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An animated film concerning a monkey and wooden toys.

Film clip available

Onsite only

1939

silent

bw

'CAMERA MAKES WHOOPEE' thumbnail

CAMERA MAKES WHOOPEE [1098]

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The Annual Fancy Dress Ball at Glasgow School of Art: "Something New Under the Sun". Includes two ballets, "Hungarian" and "Machine Age" and animated sequences.

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1936

mute

bw

'GLASGOW JUVENILE INSTRUCTION CENTRE, a' thumbnail

GLASGOW JUVENILE INSTRUCTION CENTRE, a [2106]

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An entry for the 1937 Scottish Amateur Film Festival, this film shows daily life at South Carntyne juvenile instructional centre, one of several in Glasgow for unemployed people.

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1934

silent

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'GLASGOW MAY DAY 1937' thumbnail

GLASGOW MAY DAY 1937 [1722]

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Promotional film for the Clarion Film Society. Members are involved in the Glasgow May Day procession, filming the march for "fallen comrades" in the Spanish Civil War.

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1937

silent

bw

'HEIL OESTERREICH' thumbnail

HEIL OESTERREICH [2105]

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An entry for the 1938 Scottish Amateur Film Festival, the film shot in Austria, includes scenes of local festivals. [Violet Anderson was a contemporary of Norman McLaren at Glasgow School of Art].

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1936

silent

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HOPPITY POP [1457]

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Experimental film using coloured shapes to illustrate a dance to old fashion calliope music. Filmed by Norman McLaren.

1949

sound

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'JUNGLE JINKS, HEIL OESTERREICH, POTTERY and GLASGOW JUNIOR INSTRUCTION CENTRE' thumbnail

JUNGLE JINKS, HEIL OESTERREICH, POTTERY and GLASGOW JUNIOR INSTRUCTION CENTRE [2108]

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Composite reel of family film and footage from other titles by film-maker. [JUNGLE JINKS entered for the Scottish Amateur Film Festival 1940].

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1937

silent

bwcol

LITTLE PHANTASY, a [0651]

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Animated film of an island in a painting which is subject to the forces of nature and the supernatural. [Original painting by Arnold Boecklin].

1946

sound

col

OBEDIENT FLAME, the [1044]

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A cartoon advertising the advantages of gas and gas cookers.

1940

sound

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POTTERY [2107]

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An entry for the 1937 Scottish Amateur Film Festival, it shows a potter at work in a small house and yard in Somerset.

1936

silent

col

'SEVEN TILL FIVE' thumbnail

SEVEN TILL FIVE [1100]

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Filmed by Norman McLaren and Willie J. MacLean, it shows a day in the life of the Glasgow School of Art. [Awarded SAFF prize].

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1934

silent

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STARS AND STRIPES [0650]

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An experimental film by Norman McLaren, made without camera, by drawing directly on 35mm film with ordinary pen and ink.

1943

sound

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