Beat the heat with outdoor cinema options this season in London (updated)

We are possibly set for the hottest summer on record here in the UK, so, although this means the planet is doomed by climate change, it also at least allows for one more year where we can chill to open air film screenings in the capital.

Already running screenings or advertising upcoming seasons for the summer are:

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House

Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House is back in the neoclassical courtyard in August, with 14 nights of classic, cult and contemporary films, plus three premieres on London’s largest outdoor screen with full surround sound.

This year, you can play a part in the programme by voting for your favourite Stanley Kubrick classic. The winning film will be shown on Thursday 11 August. The winner will only be revealed to the audience on the night of the screening itself. New films screening include Things To Come starring Isabelle Huppert, and Pedro Almodovar's new drama Julieta.

Rooftop Film Club:

Providing headphones, deckchairs, cocktails, and a blanket if it gets too cold, the Rooftop Film Club, as their name suggests, will be using various roof venues across London this year, including the Bussey Building in Peckham, Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch, and Tobacco Dock. Screenings are running now and include Straight Outta Compton at the Queen, and Withnail and I at the Bussey Building on on 22 May. Future dates through to June on sale too.

The Nomad Cinema:

The Nomad Cinema is the roaming pop-up running since 2010, and has earned the reputation as ‘London’s best outdoor cinema’ [so said the Evening Standard], popping up at a range of beautiful, unique and intriguing screening locations across London and beyond. This year's venues include the Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey and The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Films on offer include the expected crowdpleasers like Dirty Dancing, but also some offbeat choices; including Orlando and Marie Antionette at the aforementioned NMM. Screenings running now and future dates through to September on sale.

Cult Screens:

Similar to the Nomad, in that the mission statement of Cult Screens is to be ".. the country’s most luxurious and comfortable open air cinema experience. We run events throughout the UK and turn some pretty unusual and spectacular locations into cinemas." The difference is it is a UK wide project, but their London venue will by York House and gardens in Twickenham. There you can see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pulp Fiction and Dirty Dancing from 31 August on.

Pop-Up Screens:

Also similar to the Nomad, with venues including Fulham, Greenwich Peninsula, The City, Holborn, Hammersmith and Hither Green.

The Luna Cinema:

Classic cinema under the stars in some of the UK's most picturesque settings. London locations include Brockwell Lido for Jaws and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Alexandra Palace for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

 

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Celebrating the The London Film-Makers’ Co-operative at BFI and Tate this season

The London Film-Makers’ Co-operative holds a very unique place in London film history, one which will be celebrated this year by the Tate Britain through a selection of documents, ephemera and films from the period.

For the uninitiated: The LFMC was founded in October 1966 as a non-commercial distributor of avant-garde cinema. In contrast to similar groups that emerged around the world, it grew to incorporate a distribution service, cinema space and film lab. Filmmakers were able to control every aspect of the creative process, allowing them to explore the material aspects of celluloid and experiment with multiple projection and performance-based ‘expanded cinema’ outside of the mainstream market.  

The original group of film enthusiasts would meet in the basement of the Better Books shop on Charing Cross Road. Its founding members, including Bob Cobbing, Ray Durgnat, Simon Hartog, John Latham and Stephen Dwoskin, were inspired by filmmakers like Jonas Mekas and the New American Cinema Group in New York, who had established their own non-profit distribution cooperative in 1962. The closure of the bookshop the following year led to LFMC screenings relocating to the Drury Lane Arts Lab, until it found a more permanent base at the New Arts Lab on Drummond Street, near Euston Station.

Starting with working in avant-garde cinema, the LFMC also moved into published its own journal, Cinim. More filmmakers joined, including Malcolm Le Grice, Fred Drummond and David Curtis, and the LFMC eventually built its own film laboratory, a workshop for printing and processing 16mm film. This allowed experimental film to be experienced and experimented with first-hand, keeping the LFMC at the heart of independent film culture in London (including screenings and rentals) and the world for decades- though relying on run-down buildings provided by Camden Council in Kentish Town and Primrose Hill. The LFMC eventually folded in 2002, but it lives on in a new organisation: LUX, which continues to be the UK’s leading agency for the support and promotion of artists’ moving image.

The BFI have also been running a series of film programmes programmed by the actual filmmakers who were part of the organisation: LFMC50, a monthly programme, in partnership with BFI Southbank, curated by the original Co-op cinema programmers (David Curtis, Peter Gidal, Annabel Nicolson, Lis Rhodes, Deke Dusinberre (the next one is LFMC 50: Taking the Time on 24 May, from guest curator Deke Dusinberre). May 2016 also sees the BFI launch Crossing the Threshold: Experimental films and live performances from Malcolm Le Grice, one of the the filmmakers in the LFC who began in the underground scene of London and is well known for reconfiguring images through 16mm printing treatments, looping and other manipulations.

You can search the BFI Shop’s LFMC books and DVDs here.

The Tate exhibition is at Archive Gallery, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
25 April – 17 July 2016.

 

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Sir Ian McKellan spearheads the newly-launched BFI Shakespeare on Film project

Who better to launch the BFI's nationwide celebration of the Bard - The BFI Presents Shakespeare on Film -  than the actor who has played, on stage and screen, some of his most memorable characters, including Richard III and Macbeth? Today, Ian McKellen was at BFI Southbank, in his role as the chief spokesperson for the project, to discuss both the upcoming events that will pay homage to Shakespeare's works, and his own experience making Richard III (1995) and how cinema has transformed and re-imagined Shakespeare's work before and since. McKellen himself will be far more deeply involved in the project than simply making introductions, with plans for him to appear live on stage to present a re-mastered Richard III for UK wide simulcast, as well as hosting London bus tours of Richard III’s iconic locations and opening the Shanghai Film Festival with Shakespeare on Film.

BFI Head Curator Robin Baker was also on hand to introduce this exploration of Shakespeare on film, billed as the biggest ever and which will range from the silent era to present day, marking 400 years since he died. Despite a huge number of events being planned for the UK, the entire programme has an international focus with many films going on tour around the world.

Ian McKellen said “400 years on, Shakespeare’s plays continue to dominate stages worldwide, mostly of course in translation, challenging actors, directors, designers and audiences. 

The BFI’s “Shakespeare on Film” is more than just timely, it is a glimpse of the matchless collection of brilliant endeavour from world-beating Shakespeare experts like Laurence Olivier, Peter Brook and Kenneth Branagh whose films have popularised Shakespeare over the years. Their theatre-roots are evident. They have respect for the text and cut lines with regret.

Other directors have successfully translated the stage plays for the screen, aiming, perhaps to make great cinema than great Shakespeare. Here, I relish Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet; Julie Taymor’s Titus Andronicus; Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight, Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and Ran. And there are more.   

I will not be the only one to be grateful to the BFI for their initiative in this anniversary year.”

 Richard III

Richard III

Some of the highlights of the upcoming programme include:

  • Venues and outlets include BFI Southbank (April-May) and UK-wide, newly digitised content on BFI Player, new DVD/Blu-ray releases and film education activity.
  • Ian McKellen will present a re-mastered Richard III for UK wide simulcast, as well as hosting London bus tours of Richard III’s iconic shooting locations. The film will be simulcast, in partnership with Park Circus, across UK cinemas on 28 April with a special post-film on-stage discussion between Ian McKellen and director Richard Loncraine live from BFI Southbank. It will also be screened extensively at the BFI, and re-released in a special edition DD/Bluray with new material.
  • There will be new 4K restorations of Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet and Akira Kurosawa’s Ran.
  • Screenings of the 'landmark films',  including those by Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Roman Polanski and Kenneth Branagh.
  • Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Cinema - compilation of silent era filmed performances- premieres at BFI Southbank with new live score by the Musicians of Shakespeare’s Globe.
  • Screenings of film's influenced by Shakespeare or which allow routes into his work, including Disney's The Lion King and Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho.
  • From 1 April until 12 June an exhibition in the Mezzanine Gallery at BFI Southbank will showcase items from multi-award-winning Hamlet (1948) directed by and starring Laurence Olivier. 

Read more here on the BFI website.

 Ran

Ran



Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

The Genesis Cinema says goodbye to David Bowie with "The Man Who Fell to Earth"

 Bowie as an alien vistor lost in America in The Man Who Fell To Earth

Bowie as an alien vistor lost in America in The Man Who Fell To Earth

It was no surprise to see, amidst the outpouring of sympathy and praise following the recent death of David Bowie, that several London cinemas intended to honour the legendary artist by arranging screenings of his film work. Bowie never committed to film in the same way he did music, and his impact on the latter was undeniably more memorable. He will never be regarded as a 'great actor' and the argument that the roles he took simply involved him transmitting his preternatural charisma to the screen will never go away. But he did, over the course of his long career in the arts, turn in some interesting, provocative, and undeniably (certainly in the case of the Jim Henson 1986 puppet film Labyrinth) crowd-pleasing performances.

This weekend though it was to one of his more unconventional turns in front of the camera that the East London-based Genesis Cinema turned, in order to pay tribute to Bowie. In aid of Cancer Research UK, the Genesis screened a sold-out show of the 1976 Nicholas Roeg sci-fi drama The Man Who Fell To Earth, alongside live music and DJ's spinning Bowie's greatest hits late into the night.

 Screen 1 in the Genesis Cinema on Bowie tribute night

Screen 1 in the Genesis Cinema on Bowie tribute night

The film, which stars Bowie as the extremely pale, and extremely thin 'Thomas Jerome Newton', an alien visitor to our planet disguised as a billionaire tech inventor, is perhaps the best example of the unearthly qualities Bowie could bring to the screen. The BBC's Alan Yentob was actually responsible for getting the singer this proper first feature-film role, after director Nicolas Roeg watched the 1974 documentary Cracked Actor. In that documentary, Bowie is captured at perhaps his most exotic; rake-thin and with a shock of bleached orange hair. Notoriously, his drug use had become epic by that point, further enhancing his air of odd detachment, as well as that extremely gaunt appearance. Roeg was fascinated by the possibilities of using Bowie as the POV character in a film about an alien lost in modern Earth.

 Tributes to Bowie in the Genesis Cinema lobby

Tributes to Bowie in the Genesis Cinema lobby

As stranded alien Thomas Jerome Newton, seeking to transport water back to his parched planet, Bowie apparently required little physical transformation, even though its not clear how much directing he actually took or 'acting' he actually was able to do given his diet of cocaine at the time. But the film is striking in other ways too, particularly how the script, cinematography and sound mix make the world around Bowie, particularly 1970s New Mexico, ironically more strange than the extraterrestrial main character. Skewed camera angles, a character roster full of American eccentrics, endless rows of TVs (Newton becomes a TV junkie, as well an alchoholic) and a soundtrack laced with electronic quirks, all make this new America of cheap booze and cable TV appear like another planet itself.  Despite being far superior to us in terms of intelligence, Newton's quest ultimately grinds to a halt because our own planet freaks him out so much, to the point where he is reduced to yelling "get out of my mind' as he lies before a bank of TVs in his suite, unable to resist the allure of a device which fascinates him even if, as he muses, "it never tells you anything".

The Genesis were fortunate to be able to screen this strange but captivating film, given reports surfaced soon after Bowie's death that the UK distributors were not likely to allow screenings due to a desire to re-release the film in the near-future. Until that day, those wanting to see what happened when Bowie collided with the dystopian sci-fi sub-genre, are advised to look around retailers like Amazon, where previous bluray releases and VOD options can be found.

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

1000 Londoners: Mapping Londoner's stories one film at a time

Documentary specialists 1000 Londoners (with Chocolate Films) are currently hard at work on a highly ambitious and unique ethnographic filmmaking project- producing a series of 1000 short films charting lives of all kinds across contemporary London.

1000 Londoners is a digital portrait of the city aiming to offer an insight into the lives of 1000 people who consider themselves to be Londoners, taking in all ages, religions, race, income, interests and opinions. Each week, a 3 minute profile of a Londoner is posted on the 1000 Londoners home page, and at the start of a new week at midnight GMT, the home page changes to show the profile of a brand new Londoner. All the profiles are archived into a searchable online gallery of Londoners.

The plan is not just to leave these stories sitting on the website however, and over the last few weeks sets of these short films have aired across London venues, each week devoted to a different theme and group of people. 

The first theme, starting from 2 November, was Night Crawlers and featured Londoners who do their living in the nocturnal hours and includes escorts, cabaret artists and clubbers, as well as Trevor who puts up Christmas lights and Save Soho's Tim Arnold. Easy Riders looked at those who traverse the city (and their own) limitations using two wheels, be it wheelchairs, pedal power or those, like Vicious C*** Cycle rider Gemma, who prefer Harley Davidson horsepower. Fight Club looks at the tougher side of life, taking hits and giving them be it in boxing or wrestling.

This writer popped down the the Hotel Elephant to catch the Easy Riders film collection on a chilly Friday on November 20, and was duly impressed by the diversity of subjects the filmmakers had captured and the intriguing niches of London life they had burrowed their way into, from Critical Mass riders to the capital's idiosyncratic rickshaw riders. There is no discernible agenda or slant to things, no on-screen text or other voiceover other than the chatter of the subjects, and no two are alike. 

The filmmakers are also on hand at each event for Q&A's, with the Easy Rider post-screening talk becoming quite lively as it ranged over the backstories of the interviewees, how well they were practicing cycle safety, and exactly how safe it is to be on two wheels in London today. As to how long it will take 1000 Londoners to finish this project at the rate they are going, that was a question for another day.

There is still one last chance to catch the last program- Fight Club- tomorrow at Hotel Elephant. Details of the entire program is below.

The screenings are part of the BFI’s Britain on Film season and are supported by Film Hub London with Londonist as media partner. 

The entire programme runs as:

Night Crawlers

Night Crawlers shines a light on the stories of Londoners who come out at night, from club kids to security guards.

Hackney Picturehouse | Monday 2 November 7pm

The Exhibit, Balham | Tuesday 3 November 7pm

Deptford Cinema | Wednesday 4 November 7pm

Stow Film Lounge | Thursday 5 November 7pm

Hotel Elephant | Friday 6 November 7pm

 

Easy Riders

Easy Riders follows the tracks of London’s bikers. If it has two wheels, they are on it.

Hackney Picturehouse | Monday 16 November 7pm

The Exhibit, Balham | Tuesday, 17 November 7pm

Deptford Cinema | Wednesday 18 November 7pm

Stow Film Lounge | Thursday 19 November 7pm

Hotel Elephant | Friday 20 November 7pm

 

Fight Club

Fight Club smashes through into the world of boxing and wrestling. Grapple with the Londoners who fight for fun.

Hackney Picturehouse | Monday, 23 November 7pm

The Exhibit, Balham | Tuesday 24 November 7pm

Deptford Cinema | Wednesday, 25 November 7pm

Stow Film Lounge | Thursday, 26 November 7pm

Hotel Elephant | Friday, 27 November 7pm

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Test driving the new Picturehouse Central - a look inside Central London's newest cinema

 The new entrance on Great Windmill Street

The new entrance on Great Windmill Street

After years of being consigned to the outer circles of London, Picturehouse, following their acquisition by the Cineworld chain, are now in the business of operating a central London multiscreen venue. After years of renovation, the new Central Picturehouse, built on the bones of part of the Trocadero that housed the old Cineworld, is now open.

The cinema is certainly more inviting than the former Cineworld, its aesthetic more in line with the refined anti-multiplex bourgeois vibe that Picturehouse has perfected as its brand (and it is easy to be cynical about that, this is after all a multiplex in its own way and is owned by a multiplex chain).  The grand old columns and elegant brick exterior of this part of the block ooze grandeur. The odd escalator entrance to the Cineworld that sat near Great Windmill Street on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue is gone, replaced by a more welcoming and massive entrance on Great Windmill Street itself that screams 'arrival'. 

 Ground floor deli cafe and stairs upwards to tickets and bar

Ground floor deli cafe and stairs upwards to tickets and bar

Unlike the Cineworld, the entrance does not lead to a path upstairs, instead it opens up to a large, airy and air conditioned cafe bar area. Gone are the pinks, purples and carpets of the former interiors, in their place are wide airy spaces, exposed brick and pipes, tiled floors, and bespoke-type beverage and nibble providers. Its very New York deli-ish with its cake and coffee smorgasbord, spidery and abstract murals on the walls (illustrations from artist Patrick Vale decorating the wall to the right, documenting the history of cinema from camera obscura to Jurassic Park) and pastel furniture, but the space is welcome given many older Picturehouses like the Ritzy often are at crush depth with people.  It works as a nice retreat from the bustle of the outside; there is free wifi and plenty of seating, so it certainly works as a networking zone. This kind of entrance and huddling space, in addition to the seven screens above, also gives Picturehouse a suitable central venue to host film festivals and other events, so no surprise that in addition to London Film Festival, Sundance London announced recently that they'll be moving their annual event here from the far more distant O2.

There are ATMs and retro-styled film listing boards displayed in the cafe;  the automated machines were not working at the time of this visit but presumably will help keep ticket queues down at peak times. The big staircase on the left of the cafe space goes up to the ticketing floor proper with three ticket booths, and a comfortably spacious public bar off to the left. All of floor 1 is decked out similarly as below, with some arty spotlight installations, big windows overlooking Shaftesbury avenue, and swish all-timber flooring. There are more cakes up here too, you basically run right into a donut and artisan pastry stand at the top of the stairs. They really want you to eat cake here.

 First Floor - bars, ticketing areas and entrance to screens

First Floor - bars, ticketing areas and entrance to screens

Though pleasing, the first floor bar is for the plebs: members are promised an exclusive bar and roof terrace on the upper floors, but these won't be open until later in summer (though the company has extended Founder Members benefits for an extra three months presumably to compensate for new signees not being able to flaunt their extras yet-more on the membership below).

Visitors who remember the old Cineworld will be back on more familiar turf when they start the journey up to the screens on the upper levels, which exist in the same locations as before and are still accessed by elevators. Pleasingly, Picturehouse kept and restored the old restaurant friezes for use along the upper level elevator passageways. The screens themselves, 4k digital, are of wraparound design and certainly do the business. The seats are comfortable and there is plenty of legroom in the mid row areas- given this writer stands at over 6 foot that does make a real difference to a viewing experience. Screen 1 is Picturehouse’s jewel in the crown though, and will play host to film premieres and big-name Q&As. It is that cinema that packs the 70mm film and digital 4K DCP video projection capabilities plus a Dolby Atmos sound system.

 The restored freizes from the old Trocadero restaurant

The restored freizes from the old Trocadero restaurant

When it comes to the programming, there are seven screens to fill, and diversity has been promised to be a locked-in feature under the guidance of programmer Clare Binns. Quality blockbusters to independent, classic, foreign-language and art-house films are expected. There will a core programming strand dedicated to championing documentaries (Alex Gibney's Going Clear was playing at the time of visit), as well as live broadcasts of art productions. Picturehouse Cinemas’ regular strands, including Discover Tuesdays and Vintage Sundays, will come to Central with discounted concessionary tickets available (£8 for a standard ticket, £6 for Picturehouse Members and as cheap as a fiver for Central Members) which, as you'll see below, is a blessing given what you'll pay for new feature films.

The downside: none of this luxury is cheap. Peak prices for regular films start at Adult £18.00, Picturehouse Central Member £15.00, and basic Picturehouse Members are at £16.00.  

Matinees- starting before 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday and all day Monday take things down to a more manageable Adult £13.00, Picturehouse Central Member £10.00, and basic Picturehouse Member £11.00.

For all the hard-to-resist glamour and technical sophistication of this cinema, it is really a members venue with prices like this, and you should hoard those free sign-up tickets for peak time big films (assuming you do, thats £72 worth of peak time tickets). The best position to be in is to apply as a student or retiree as the membership fees are lower but you'll still get the same benefits, meaning it will more than pay for itself for the first year if you use all your free tickets on peak time showings. Outside of this, all day Mondays and before 5pm other days as a member get ticket prices down to the more manageable £11-10 region and are the best bet if you are not flush with cash, but want this to be your regular venue and to get as much use out of the membership as you can.

Unsurprisingly Picturehouse are pushing membership as the best way to experience it all. There is currently running a 'Founder Members' scheme which operates like a kind of upgraded version of basic membership if you sign up as one of the first 2000 new members. Central Picturehouse membership seems to operate a little differently from other Picturehouse memberships- you get more off the central venue tickets if this is your 'home cinema' even though all the cinemas share most core membership benefits. 

Founder Members get the following additional benefits:

  • Membership: Valid for one year from the date the cinema opens, plus an extra three months free. Expires September 2016
  • Your name in the fabric of the building
  • Exclusive Founder Members’ card
  • Invitations to exclusive first look screenings including previews.
  • Start benefiting from your Membership straight away at other Picturehouse Cinemas and with local and national partners.
  • Exclusive Founder Member prizes to be won including Premiere Tickets and access to Film Festivals

This is on top of Basic Central Membership features:

  • Free film tickets that can be used at all Picturehouse Cinemas (four for Individual Members, eight for Member plus One).
  • Up to £3 discount on tickets at Picturehouse Central.
  • Up to £2 discount on tickets at all other Picturehouse Cinemas.
  • Access to the Picturehouse Central Members’ Bar and Roof Terrace with up to 3 guests (current day cinema ticket required).
  • Members’ priority booking for selected films and events.
  • 10% off food and drinks at all Picturehouse Cinemas.
  • One free Jameson and 20% off Jameson all year round.
  • No booking fees.
  • National partner discounts and benefits
  • Individual Membership: Standard £75, Retired £65, Student £50
  • Member plus One: Standard £140, Retired £120.

You can read more here at the Picturehouse blog, which takes you through some of the history of the building and the renovation. Time Out was one of several outlets that got a tour of the building by Picturehouse's Clare Binns, which you can read here.


Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Shorts on Tap: showcasing women filmmakers at the new Deptford Cinema

2015 marked the year Lewisham finally stopped being the only London borough without a cinema, as the community-funded and built Deptford Cinema finally opened its doors, having taken over an old shop on Deptford Broadway. The cinema has got right down to business with a raft of special screenings and seasons planned, including the fantastic "Cinemania New Worlds" season, but the Smoke Screen's first visit to the new venue coincided with an intriguing and diverse programme of short films by female filmmakers playing as part of the Shorts on Tap season.

The cinema itself is small, and the staff and volunteers are still putting the various bits together (there will be wallpaper and carpeting, maybe one day) but the projector and sound system were more than fine for the packed crowd that jammed into the basement screening room - the screening was oversubscribed, which is probably a good thing if you are new cinema looking to attract attention. Its a charming, and hopefully permanent addition, to a part of London that has been gathering increasing attention in recent years for its cultural richness.

Shorts on Tap aims to showcase short films, from both up-and-coming and well­ established film­ makers, at venues all over London. The screening at Deptford Cinema was part of Shorts on Tap's ongoing "Women in Revolt" roving short films event season, funded by Film London's Boost Award and arranged in collaboration with Club Des Femmes: a positive female space for the re-examination of ideas through art. Women in Revolt is three screening events across London aiming to specifically focus on female film-making, showcasing works that depict, describe and challenge the very essence of being a woman, and investigate sex, sexuality and the body. 

The shorts playing at Deptford Cinema were linked under the banner of "Crossing Boundaries", and there was not a weak entry amongst the films, all of which explored female encounters with personal challenges, and physical and conceptual barriers. The Archangel shooting locations for  Maria Loyter's sexual awakening tale Ice Floe made for a hauntingly beautiful and striking backdrop, whilst the illuminating Taklif from Maryam Tafakory abstractly, yet powerfully, related the innocent perspective of a young Iranian girl as she is prepared for a womanhood ceremony at what many would consider a startlingly early age. If there was a highlight though, it had to be Stephanie Zari's blackly funny, disturbing, yet also very touching Marigolds, that morphed from a twee domestic comedy about a mother fussing over her  son and his new girlfriend into something that hinted at a much deeper and more troubling relationship between mother and child.

The next Women in Revolt screening is at Hotel Elephant on April 20 at 8pm.


Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

DVD Bang - film rental South Korean style


If you want to see how the South Koreans do movie nights,  DVD Bang in Waterloo from 21 November might satisfy your curiosity. Similar to the concept of renting a karaoke booth, DVD Bang is a not-for-profit project based on the lo-fi South Korean movie rental shops and micro cinemas. DVD-bangs are South Korean entertainment spaces where you dont get a ticket to see a film: you rent the room space with some chums, stock up on snacks, and choose the movie you want. This imported version is running in a shop-front in Waterloo and offers a selection of East Asian Sci-Fi cult classics and rare collections including Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Park Chan-Wook's I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, pink movie musical Underwater Love and acid nightmare Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack.

DVDBANG has a recommended capacity of 10 people. All ages welcome, but ID may be required for certain film choices and for alcohol purchase.

Part of BFI Sci-Fi Days of Fear and Wonder film season, running until December 2014 across the UK.

The Smoke Screen team rented our own booth this week, stocked up on Shrimp crackers and South Korean sweet puff crackers, and watched a bluray of Satoshi Kon's surreal Inception-like  anime Paprika.



Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

GENFEST sees the Genesis Cinema proudly celebrating its independence as 2015 approaches

Last week saw the East End's Genesis Cinema showcase everything it has to offer over the coming year crammed into just one night, with a Halloween twist. Part All-Hallows celebration, but also partly a statement of intent after 15 years in the business, the cinema's owner Tyrone Walker-Hebborn proudly declared to the assembled guests during the nights drink's reception in the upstairs Paragon Bar that this event showed that the cinema was still independent in term of ownership and attitude.

The night itself showcased just how much the Genesis Cinema, wedged in between Whitechapel and Stepney Green stations on Mile End Road, can offer to visitors today. "Independent" certainly should not be mistaken for "small" or lacking in the technical capabilities that multiplexes can offer.  Apart from the aforementioned stylish Paragon Bar for events, the Genesis has developed over the years to the point where it now has five screens with digital, 3D and 35mm capabilities: Screens 2&3 seat 158 each, Screen 4 seats 100 and STUDIO 5 has 40 seats made up of sofas and armchairs. But the real treat is the huge Screen One, which seats 575 and retains a flavour of the building's history as a theatre - in this case The Paragon Theatre Music Hall which was built in the 1880s after the original music venue was destroyed.

You can find out more about the history of the cinema and its transformation under the ownership of Tyrone Walker-Hebborn- who rescued it from the derelict state to which it had been reduced by 1989- in this excellent feature written by by Zarina Rimbaud-Kadirbaks (AKA www.dutchgirlinlondon.com). In case you were wondering, yes you can book the Genesis for weddings, Zarina had hers there!

 Genesis Cinema owner Tyrone Walker-Hebborn at the GENFEST party

Genesis Cinema owner Tyrone Walker-Hebborn at the GENFEST party

The events and screening list included so many options it was impossible to take it all in. This writer however could not resist a chance to revisit the work of Robin Rimbaud, AKA Scanner, who is a class act when it comes to rescoring films and giving viewers a new experience of an old classic. His electronic-driven score for Robert Wiene's German expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, which was screening in the giant Screen 1, is a haunting, pulsating experience.

Also showing at GENFEST were:

A special encore screening of the smash hit sell-out NT Live production of Frankenstein directed by Danny Boyle, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller.

The 30th anniversary edition of Ghostbusters remastered in 4k.

A screening of acclaimed horror film The Babadook.

The film club The Good, The Bad, The Unseen hosted a secret horror double-bill.

Live music and party in Bar Paragon from gypsy folk band The Wild Rye, plus DJs, comedy and poetry

Live street art from Kef in the ground floor gallery space.






Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.