Last Friday, the 8th of September, acclaimed film director and former UCL Film & TV Society president Christopher Nolan returned to UCL to accept an Honorary Doctorate of Literature (DLit) as part of the Faculty of Brain Sciences’ graduation ceremony. Later that afternoon, current president Anton Volkov and his predecessor Thomas Rebour were incredibly honoured to host him, along with his wife and producing partner Emma Thomas, at the Film Society’s studio. The visit to the production space was part of a tour of the Bloomsbury Theatre, currently undergoing renovations due to be completed in the autumn of 2018.
Christopher, Emma, Anton and Thomas were joined by Professor Michael Arthur (UCL President and Provost), Lori Houlihan (Vice-Provost [Development]), Veronika Tugendraich Garwolinski (UCL Strategic Philanthropy Manager), and the team from UCL Culture – Head of Operations Frank Penter and Director Simon Cane – on the tour. Showing the group around the Bloomsbury Theatre construction site, Simon and Frank outlined the future vision and plans for the venue. These include increased usage by Students’ Union UCL and its clubs and societies, and a new stream of activities teaming UCL researchers with the creative industries. The group also visited the projection booth, housing a trio of celluloid film projectors – two 35mm and one 16mm, to be replaced with a single digital projection system as part of the renovation works – and a couple of unexpected archive discoveries.
The tour continued on to the brand-new Wilkins Terrace and Theatre Link, which will officially open with the start of term later this month, then concluded at the UCL Film & TV Society studio where Nolan once worked on his debut feature, Following (shot and edited using the society’s equipment, including a 16mm Arriflex camera and Steenbeck editing suite which remain in the studio to this day). During their visit to the studio, Christopher and Emma discussed with Anton and Thomas how the society has changed in the 20-plus years that have passed since their graduation, as well as the society’s current activities and plans for the 2017/18 academic year.
Congratulations to Mr. Nolan on the honorary degree, and a big thank you to him and Ms. Thomas for taking their time out to return to London to visit UCL and the society. Thanks also go out to the team at the Office of the Vice-Provost (Development) for putting the day together.
Photos courtesy of Kirsten Holst. You can read more about Mr. Nolan’s visit to UCL on the official site.