Scalarama 2015 begins - and here are five film events you can try in London:

For the uninitiated, Scalarama is a yearly Uk-wide film festival that aims to " Fill the Land with Cinemas"; bringing together repertory cinemas, film clubs and community groups to celebrate the independent spirit of cinema and cinema exhibition. It runs every September, and the 2015 edition is right around the corner, running 1-30th with over 250 venues hosting over 500 events. Themes this year include a celebration of VHS, a tribute to John Waters (tying into his visit to the BFI as part of their John Waters season), and championing the dying celluloid format.

In keeping with that old-school vibe, Scalarama marks the run-up to its launch with a newspaper that lists the upcoming films and events. The 2015 edition has gone live now and can be seen here.

The Scalarama site has a handy planner so you can see what is coming up and where.

London Highlights include:


Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, LONDON, N2 9PJ · Get directions



FORMAT: 16mm

Long before GIRLS and FRANCES HA! made the self-referential quarter-life crisis a phenomenon, and made awkward Jewish girls cool, GIRLFRIENDS explored the confusion and co-dependency of female friendships with a singular poignancy and humour that is distinctly rooted in its New York setting.

Presented by I am Dora curator Jemma Desai.




RIo Cinema Sat 5 Sep 23:30


The world's worst director, immortlised in Tim Burton's film Ed Wood, is paid righteous tribute here in a double bill by the Rio cinema in North London.


The Prince Charles Cinema Presents ROAR:

The Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY · Get directions

ORGANISED BY: The Prince Charles Cinema / Scalarama



Wildlife preservationist Hank lives harmoniously alongside a menagerie of untamed animals, including cheetahs, elephants, lions and tigers on a preservation in the African plains. When his wife and children arrive for a visit, a long-brewing battle for dominance between two lions erupts and threatens their very lives.


A Tribute to Cannon Cinema- Barfly/52 Pickup:

Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY · Get directions

ORGANISED BY: The Badlands Collective


FORMAT: 35mm

Kicking off The Badlands Collective’s season in tribute to the Cannon Group and its mixes of exploitation and art is this badass literary-inspired 35mm double-bill.

Mickey Rourke gives one of his best performances alongside Faye Dunaway in BARFLY, the story of a brawling, boozy, self-destructive author written in autobiographical fashion by Charles Bukowski. (Cinematography buffs take note: This was also the firm for which Robbie Muller developed the now ubiquitous Kino Flo lighting system.)

Based on the novel by Elmore Leonard, 52 PICK-UP is a twisty-turny hard-boiled bit of crime fiction starring Roy Scheider and Ann-Margret about a businessman whose romantic shenanigans get him embroiled in murder, blackmail and fighting for his life.



The Garrison, 99 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB, London · Get directions



Join Disposable Cinema on the 23rd September for a special screening of Dario Argento’s 1975 horror classic Deep Red as part of the Scalarama film festival!

After a public demonstration of her abilities a psychic is murdered, taking the secret of a killers identity to the grave. It’s up to troubled musician David Hemmings, who witnesses the act, and sassy female journalist Daria Nicolodi to unravel the mystery before they too are brutally murdered.

As part of the event we’ll also be doing an intro to Giallo movies, Italy’s fantastic over-the-top contribution to the thriller genre, blood-soaked and filled with the bizarre camera angles, colours and themes of the sixties and seventies.

Featuring the breathtaking set pieces Giallo, and especially Argento, is famous for Deep Red winds up and up in to a crazy bombastic crescendo of a murder-action-thriller, all set to the weird electric sounds of the prog rock band Goblin, possibly most famous for providing the sound track to George Romeros Dawn of the Dead.

We’ll also be giving away a free A3 foldout posterzine with every ticket! Don’t miss your chance to see Deep Red on the big screen!


Confused about what Scalarama is? See their handy online guide to 2015, and how it all works:

WHAT? Scalarama is an annual Celebration of Cinema. It takes the form of a season of films, each one chosen by a different organisation or individual, in a variety of different venues.

WHEN? Scalarama takes place across the whole of September, so that’s 1 – 30 September this year… and every year! This is the fifth year of the season and with over 500 events taking place in 2014, it’s growing…

WHERE? Scalarama takes place in over 250 venues across the UK and Ireland, but why stop there? The season will take place in several cinemas, but also in parks, bars, schools, and homes- anywhere and everywhere! Our motto is: Where there is a film and an audience, there is cinema.

WHO? Scalarama is made up of a large group of cinema enthusiasts, working together to make the season as inclusive as possible. From independent cinemas to film clubs, from experienced film festival organisers to people showing films for the first time, all are welcome to put on a screening.

WHY? Scalarama was started to connect films with audiences in new and bold ways; for those passionate in showing films to meet and to share resources and to bring excitement to communal film watching for a whole new generation of film fans.


For 2015 and ongoing, Scalarama will now present Core Themes that will encompass wider programming agendas, selected by the exhibitors involved in the season as Scalarama moves towards a more member-led, cooperative approach to its organisation. Within each theme will be a series of titles, suggested and decided by the wider Scalarama collective of cinemas, film clubs, programmers, critics, enthusiasts and distributors.

PROJECT 51 As the comic that inspired the Bechdel test reaches its 30th anniversary this year and with headline after headline talking about the problem, let’s focus on the solution. Aim: achieve equality in film programming with Scalarama 2015, not just in what is shown, but who shows it – and we’re not just talking about gender. Working with our distributor partners, Scalarama will present a selection of titles that will truly display the range of cinema. In partnership with Directed by Women, the worldwide viewing party, 1 – 15 September 2015.

Celluloid Forever What’s that mmmmm? It’s the sound of a cinephile being told a film screening will be on celluloid. We all love real film, right? But with projectionists being reduced to button pushers, it’s time to make September the time when celluloid lives again. Film enthusiasts from around the world are encouraged to heckle their local cinema for celluloid, to unearth prints and show them, to raise the volume and to categorically state – film is NOT dead, it’s just having a rest in optimum storage conditions. 70… 35… 16… 8… All are Super!

VHSTIVAL Or… Forget Celluloid, VHS is the new Vinyl! A celebration of all thing video: the tapes, the artwork and of course the video store. It’s the VCR’s 40th birthday next year so let’s get the party started early and relive our memories of when films were chunky. Scalarama made a Video Palace for Flatpack with Viva VHS and DVDBANG back in March… can it live again?

VOTE WATERS: John Waters’ film have been a mainstay of the Scala seasons and the Pope of Trash has supported the initiative since the beginning, culminating in last year’s return of Polyester in Odorama. Now it’s time to say thank you – as the BFI present a full retrospective of his work in September, we want cinemas to go wild for Waters. Let’s make this land truly filthy… and divine.

SECOND RUN: FIRST TEN Keepers of the flames of nearly 100 lost gems of cinema to date, Second Run celebrate their 10th anniversary in September.  Not just legends in their dedication to bringing works of pure beauty and emotion back into circulation, Mehelli and Chris are THE nicest guys we have ever worked with, instantly understanding Scalarama’s aims since day one. It’s time to celebrate their amazing catalogue and support them as they present their first foray into theatrical distribution this year.


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.