Esdon Frost

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Esdon Frost (b. Kalk Bay, Cape Town, 25/12/1926 - d. Hampton Hill, Middlesex, 04/05/2019) was a book illustrator and documentary filmmaker.


Ernest Esdon Frost was born on Christmas Day 1926 and matriculated from the Diocesan College in Rondebosch in 1944. He served in the South African Artillery in 1945, which he likes to think was effective, because the war was over within a few months. He studied at the University of Cape Town, from which he graduated with a BA in Fine Art in 1949. He freelanced as a book illustrator before working full-time illustrating and designing books for the Cape Town branch of Longman, the London publishing house.

In 1956 he attended what was then the London School of Film Technique and began his career as a filmmaker working for C. Francis Coley, whom he credits with teaching him much about filmmaking. Eventually he branched off on his own, producing a number of documentaries, especially on cultural subjects, and often working with Charles B. Frater. During this time he also worked as a correspondent for British and American television companies and conducted the first filmed interview with Dr. Christiaan Barnard for Visnews after the surgeon had performed the first heart transplant operation on 3rd December 1967. In 1986 he moved to Great Britain and resumed his career as artist and book illustrator. In 2009 the Africa in Motion Film Festival in Edinburgh revived his film Notice To Quit (1960), which was one of the first anti-apartheid films made in South Africa by South Africans, with the then 82-year-old filmmaker in attendance. In 1961 he married Gillian Ellis, but the couple divorced in 1974. (FO)


1959 – Ou Hollandse huise van die Kaapse Skiereiland (Erfenis Films), 1960 – Notice to quit! (Compass Films), 1960 – Pageant in paint: a mural of Cape history / Kaapse kavalkade (Esdon Frost Films), 1961 – The tragedy of Tristan da Cunha / Die tragedie van Tristan da Cunha (NRS Films & Frost and Frater Films), 1962 – The art of Edward Roworth / Die kuns van Edward Roworth (with Charles B. Frater) (Frost and Frater Films), 1962 – Wheels of yesteryear / Ou wiele draai weer (with Charles B. Frater) (Frost and Frater Films), 1962 – St. Helena ballingskap (Charles B. Frater & Jean Johnston) (Esdon Frost Films), 1962 – Island of St. Helena / St. Helena, ons buureiland (with Charles B. Frater) (Frost and Frater Films), 1963 – The Tristan story (Esdon Frost Films), 1963 – Thomas Bowler – artist / Thomas Bowler – skilder (Esdon Frost Films), 1964 – Kupugani’s war on want (Esdon Frost Films), 1967 – Orange, white and blue: the story of our flag / Oranje, blanje, blou: die verhaal van die vlag (Esdon Frost Films), 1968 – The means of knowledge (Esdon Frost Films), 1969 – Seychelles (Esdon Frost Films), 1969 – Why urban settlements (Esdon Frost Films), 1970 – Klein begin, groot geëindig (Esdon Frost Films for Administration of Coloured Affairs).


Africa in Motion Film Festival, Edinburgh - Programme 2009

Personal correspondence

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