Pam Armstrong

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Interview Date(s): 
24 Jun 1998
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Married to Derek Armstrong (Editor, Director, at Shell)


[This CV, written by Derek, is attached to his wife Pamela Armstrong’s entry. DS]

Freelance Director, scriptwriter and Editor. Professional History.

1946-1947 Assistant Editor: Crown Film Unit

1947-1953 Assistant Editor: feature films at Shepperton, Worton Hall, MGM and Pinewood studios. Assembly cutter 1951-53.

1953-1957. Shell Film Unit (on contract). 1954: became managing editor of Shell Film Unit quarterly magazine film Look at Your World, and also directed some of the inserts. Producer: Stuart Legg

1958-1962. Producer, Kuwait Oil Company Film Unit in Kuwait. Unit was set up on the initiative of British Petroleum (BP) with Foreign Office approval to make films in English and Arabic, explaining the oil industry to the Kuwaitis and the Kuwaitis to the world at large, with the secondary purpose of assisting the company with technical and instructional films. A fully professional unit from the UK was employed, together with Arab staff having experience in film and broadcasting. Many of the films were necessarily topical and have long since gone out of date. Two or three however remain[ed] in circulation having achieved a ‘mileage’ of more than ten years. Unit was under management of Film Centre (International) Ltd., throughout. Majority of films in 35mm and in colour.

1962. Director. Wrote and directed Business Goes by Jet (Film Centre for Hawker Siddeley), introducing the HS125 Business Jet to potential market. 2 reels, 35mm Eastmancolor. Producer Raymond Spottiswoode, Film Centre

1963-1964. Director.  Wrote and directed Day in, Day Out (Film Centre for British Oxygen), a film on the British Oxygen Company’s service to industry. 3 reels, 35mm, Eastmancolor. Quite a big film involving 17 locations in the UK and Europe. Producer: Raymond Spottiswoode for Film Centre.

1965-1966. Director: wrote directed and edited films for British Transport Films (BTF) and carried out several investigations into possible subjects. Completed Locomotive Line Maintenance (3 reels, b& w), a film on reorganisation, which is still in use. Producer John Shearman (BTF).[ BEHP Interview No 23].

1966-1967. Director. Devised, wrote and directed How the Motor Car Works, for Shell Film Unit. This film exploited new lighting techniques as an aid to narrative. It was nominated for the SFTA award for the best specialised film in 1967, exhibited at the Edinburgh Festival and received a BISFA (British Industrial & Scientific Film Association) award the same year. It also received the following awards abroad: 1967: Granat Grand Prize, Pardubice, Czechoslovakia; First Prize, 5th International Festival of Motorist Film (sic), Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia; Second Prize, Industrial Film Festival, Lisbon; and 1970: Diploma, Triennial Technical Film Festival, Budapest. (I understand that this film has had particular success with Women’s clubs in the US and has been described as a “smash hit” by the GLC Schools’ Films Officer). Producer: Douglas Gordon (Shell Film Unit). [Interview No 425].

1967-1968. Director: writing and directing and editing for Film Centre Limited, in connection with their BOAC [British Overseas Airways Corporation] contract. An Introduction to Blind Landing completed. Major film on Boadicea, BOAC’s very ambitious computer system shelved after extensive shooting owing to changes in computing overtaking production. Completion possible at a later date. Producer: Lionel Cole (Film Centre).

1969-1970. Director: Writing and directing There’s an awful lot of Science about these days (provisional title) for British Transport Films. (4 reels, 35mm, Eastmancolor). This is a major film on the far-reaching research effort in progress on British Rail and which is now beginning to show results. Film dubs July 16th. Producer: John Shearman (BTF).

This list takes no account of minor jobs involving editing or re-editing, ad-hoc shooting, or scripts for films I did not direct.

How an Aeroplane Flies. 1975. Shell Film Unit. Producer, Director, Writer and commentary.

Part 1: Lift and Weight. 16 ½  minutes

Part 2: Thrust and Drag. 11 ½ minutes

Part 3: Balance and Stability. 11 ½ minutes

Part 4: The controls and their effect. 17 minutes