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A Small Cinema

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The idea came about a year or so ago when I was in Berlin and I went to see a film. in a very small cinema, and it was lovely, it was just run by one person, you went in, he served you the ticket, the beer, and then he opened this room to this really nice, plush, 30 seater cinema and I saw a great documentary and I just thought, wow, it takes only one person to run it for the evening, why couldn't you have this in Liverpool? So that planted a seed in my head and then, Sam Skinner running View 2 Gallery at the time, asked me to put on a film night, with local artists and that's where the two pieces came together. A Small Cinema is obviously a project originally conceived by Sam Meech. Our organisation Re-Dock had the opportunity to run the project with four different communities. One of those communities is Bold Street, the independent shopping street in Liverpool. Today is their Bold Street Festival and for the last month or so, we've worked with each of the different shop keepers on the street, to try and curate, not just a film program, but also to curate an experience. So we've been asking people for their memories of cinema - we've had some fantastic things there, people talking about when they first went to see The Wizard of Oz, or when they went on a date, or something funny that happened. And what we've tried to do is put together those memories into a bespoke cinema experience. What we've been doing is we've been making slides now that go before the actual films. So as people are coming in they get to see adverts for local shops. And this is important as this locates the cinema - it's not just anywhere - it's part of Bold Street, today. And these are places that are important to people on Bold Street. So the way we did this is we went to each shop and we asked them to choose another shop in Bold Street, to say something about it. then we'd go to that shop and say, this is what they've said, do you want to choose another shop on Bold Street, and it was just a way to kind of link up the shops, through this. and in the end, we got all these really great adverts, which are kind of personal reasons why people chose these shops. I'm from the West of Ireland originally and cinema to us was just pure magic, pure escapism. We had a matinee on a boxing day, what we called St Stevens Day and that was it from one year to the next, and it was pure magic. This brings it all back. Children sitting in rows, laughing, talking, mums and dads - it's been a lovely, lovely experience. Wouldn't have missed it. We are really, really fortunate to have as our Commissionaire today, Tony, who is the well known Big Issue vender on Bold Street. So he is kitted out immaculately in a tuxedo from Moss Brothers suit hire and quite a lot of the shops have chipped in different things or got involved in thinking about cinema, and thinking about cinema differently. I've been making the popcorn as well by the way. We've had ice cream as well. Selling it by the ton - couldn't make it fast enough could we? We never thought it would be so good did we? I've never done anything like this before and I'm really made up that I came. The smell of popcorn is good - brings all the memories back. It feels like it's unlocked a little piece of the jigsaw about what the ecology of short film exhibition is or needs. Because we've been able to show lot's of really random short films, old stuff and new stuff quite off the wall work, to an audience of the general public, not necessarily an art cinema, short film going audience. They've really enjoyed it. So I feel like we've made a model for something that can go into different places where these films wouldn't normally be shown. What we're not saying is, here's a viable alternative to the multiplex. But what we are saying is, there must be some sort of more localised middle ground for cinema, film making, screenings to operate at a more community level. The Small Cinema has that lovely intimacy - it's got the atmosphere of family and couples. A little touch of romance as well, yes, it's really, really good. More casual isn't it - much more easy. The children have loved it and because the children love it, the parents love it. It brings people together - no standing on ceremony.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 35 seconds
Year: 2009
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Director: Tim Brunsden
Views: 252
Posted by: mrjonesy on Dec 11, 2009

A Small Cinema, is a unique short film event borne out of a fascination and desire to recreate the classic cinematic experience. Complete with smartly dressed ushers, velvet curtains, and popcorn. A Small Cinema offers a refreshing alternative to the multiplex. Saturday saw 'A Small Cinema' on Bold Street, part of the AND Festival and the Bold Street Festival.

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