Watching a film is a personal thing. You tend to stick to your group, saving your clever opinions for the one or two people in your party. Not so at The Other Cinema, the latest venture of alternative-filmic pioneer Fabien Riggall.
‘Come one, come all,’ is the ethos behind The Other Cinema, which launched last night with a screening of – arguably the world’s greatest love story - Brief Encounter to a whopping 1,600 people across the UK. Hundreds of sweet Valentines in black tie sat down on tables of ten to watch the 1945 black and white delight in the former picture house The Troxy, with themed pre-show entertainment in the form of high kicks and tranny charity performers. The fourth strand of the established Future Cinema/ Secret Cinema/ Future Shorts underground film machine (all run by the formidable Fabien), The Other Cinema is a pop-up, screening the epics and the greats every month at a well-thought-out venue with a fancy theme. As any cinephile knows, atmosphere is paramount to your viewing pleasure, so why not ditch the DVD and Butterkist and engage in some 3D care in the community cinema! i-D online pinned down Fabien to chat about the future of film, secrets and themes…
With Future Cinema and Future Shorts established and popular, what was the incentive behind The Other Cinema? What new elements did you want to explore? The Other Cinema, produced by Future Cinema (creators of Secret Cinema), was created as a network of pop-up cinemas looking to bring back a sense of community, wonder, passion and social experience to cinema-going. Each month, a beautiful and vital film will be screened in a unique venue – from former picture palaces, like The Troxy in East London, to arts halls, student unions, a hospital, school, prison or army camp. On our launch night, Valentine’s Day, we presented the classic ‘Brief Encounter’ to over 1,600 people across the UK including the launch event in London while simultaneous screenings took place in Bournemouth, Edinburg and Norwich. Our aim is to restore the picture palace and encourage anyone, anywhere to set up their own Other Cinema in their communities and be connected as part of a great social cinema network. We are very excited to have our screening cities involved as part of the launch and encourage other cities and towns to join in.
‘Brief Encounter’ was an excellent choice! Of all the romantic films you could have chosen why did that one make the cut? ‘Brief Encounter’ is one of the most beautiful romances of all time. It felt like the perfect film to launch The Other Cinema and bring back the picture palace of the late 40s. Usherettes will feature, pre-show performances including The Pearly Kings and Queens, The Lady Greys, and Lily Farthing and her Mechanical Flower … all under the stunning venue of The Troxy, a former picture palace in the East End of London.
Why do you think cinema/ film watching as a community activity is a good thing? Watching film as a community inspires debate. It fosters a dialogue between audiences and creates a shared experience This can only be a good thing.
How do you choose your venues and themes? The venue is such an intricate and vital part of the story and experience. The venue must represent the film and be a space where the audience member can truly live and breathe the film experience and evoke the world and magic you’re looking to create.
How did you get into film? Did you study the subject? I have always been really passionate about going to the cinema and I remember when I was about ten years old and my family were living in Morocco, one time I decided not to tell my parents and I went to the cinema on my own and just bought a ticket without knowing what I was seeing. It turned out to be ‘Once Upon a Time in America’. I was a ten-year-old sitting there watching this hugely epic, incredibly violent film and it felt like I had stepped into it.
Can you tell us about any plans for future ‘other cinema’ nights? And Secret Cinema nights? Other Cinema will be a monthly event and will continue to screen a beautiful and vital film to a community audience in unusual and unique spaces. Secret Cinema will return later this spring. I can’t say too much, but be sure to check out our facebook for the latest updates!
Future Shorts is about to start, tell us a bit about this year’s agenda? Since launching in 2003, Future Shorts Festival is now the world’s biggest global pop-up film festival. In November, 2011 we re-formatted the programme to feature quarterly – our audience has tripled in size since and now reaches over 25,000 people globally including 55 countries and 150 cities. The true ethos behind Future Shorts is that anyone, anywhere can set up a screening of their own. We’ve travelled from a gallery space in Kabul, Afghanistan, a fashion hall in Cairo Egypt to a bamboo pop up cinema in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We’ll announce our spring programme next week and it will run from 1st March through 31st May 2012.
To find out more about becoming a screening partner check out futureshorts.com/festival or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ”Brief Encounter” runs through 18th February at The Troxy.
Text: Sarah Raphael