The Elders

Technical information

12’52” duration
Filmed on Digital Betacam
Available on Beta SP, Digital Betacam and DVD
Sterio sound


Bristol has one of the oldest and most established Black communities in the United Kingdom. This film celebrates The Elders – their community, history and culture – through song, rhythm, music, dance and memories. Having worked closely with The Elders over two years, film-maker Lisa May Thomas evokes beautifully their individual and collective experiences, from arrival by boat or plane in the 1950s to growing old gracefully in Britain today.


The film celebrates the Elders’ community, history and culture, and through movement, music and dance, draw on the elders’ memories and past experiences. The film will explore their childhood experiences, much of which has been influenced from their migration during the 1950s and 60s from Black communities of the Caribbean, to cities across Britain; and their more recent experiences living as part of the community in Bristol.
The inspiration for the Elders film project was developed through observing the group at an initial meeting. The group had a core presence and togetherness, yet still enabled a freedom of expression from each individual.
When observing the Elders dancing and moving together, Lisa became interested in their inhibited styles of movement and the freedom of expression as both individuals and through their unison. She wanted to capture this immediacy, the power and energy of ‘being in the moment’, whilst showing how dance and movement can powerfully evoke memories for the individual as well as for the collective whole.