University presents rare insight into freemasonry

The University of Sheffield's Centre for Research into Freemasonry, together with the Showroom Cinema, will screen two radical films this Autumn, documenting the mysterious world of the fraternal organisation.

Forces Occultes, a Nazi propaganda film made during the 1940's, will be shown for the first time with English subtitles on Monday 13 October 2008. The film opposes the Freemasons and the Jews and depicts them attempting to push France into a war against Germany. The Director, Jean Mamy (a.k.a Paul Riche), a journalist at the French fascist newspaper "Au pilori" and a fierce anti-Semite, was condemned to death because of his overt collaboration with the Nazi's. The film was later used during the Nuremberg trials as evidence of Nazi propaganda.

The Scottish Key, the first documentary film to look at the different theories about freemasonry and its origins, will have its UK premiere on Monday 10 November 2008. Spread across the globe, the Freemason's discrete and mysterious association has been a source of curiosity, fascination and suspicion for over 300 years. The film, soon to be broadcast in Australia and Germany, examines previously unrevealed documents and reconstructs intriguing historical events to shed new light on a little known history.

Producer and co-author, François de Smet, will attend this special event and be available for the panel discussion that will follow afterwards. De Smet studied political philosophy at the Free University of Brussels and has published books and articles on human rights, racism and cultural diversity.

The Centre for Research into Freemasonry was established in 2000 as the first centre in a British university devoted to scholarly research into the freemasons, the fraternal organisation. The Centre studies the historical, social and cultural impact of freemasonry, particularly in Britain.

Doctor Andreas Önnerfors, Director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry, said: "The origins of freemasonry have triggered the fantasy and imagination of many people. Freemasonry invented a history of its own dating back to the creation of the world and involving many of the most important figures in world history. For many historians it is a big challenge to establish the truth. These two films represent two entirely different approaches towards this question, the one building entirely on prejudices and assumptions and the other on a scientific investigation."

Forces Occultes and The Scottish Key will be shown at the Showroom Cinema on Paternoster Row and will be followed by a panel discussion. Tickets will cost £3 and are available from the Showroom Cinema.

For further information please contact: Lauren Anderson, Media Relations Assistant, on 0114 2221046 or email l.h.anderson@sheffield.ac.uk