Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Film of New Hope Finds a Fitting Home at Small Cinema with Big Ideas ; A 70-Seat Picturehouse Built Entirely by Volunteers Is the Only Community Cinema to Be Showing the New Ken Loach Movie. as Sarah Walters Finds out, It's a Match Made in Heaven

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Film of New Hope Finds a Fitting Home at Small Cinema with Big Ideas ; A 70-Seat Picturehouse Built Entirely by Volunteers Is the Only Community Cinema to Be Showing the New Ken Loach Movie. as Sarah Walters Finds out, It's a Match Made in Heaven

Article excerpt

WHEN father and son duo Joe and Lou Beckett decided to resurrect a disused social club 25 years or more after its closure, they only thought they would be creating a simple community centre.

A year on, and they are running a 70-seat cinema constructed entirely by volunteers with the support of artist and 'pop-up cinema' expert Sam Meech. The venue - called A Small Cinema - has become so popular the organisers have had to put on extra last- minute shows and extend their hours.

And the latest screening - a premiere of Ken Loach's new fulllength film, The Spirit of '45 - is certain to swell demand even further. The movie tells the story of the 1945 push for a welfare state and public ownership of services, and it's a fine fit for a community cinema that was once a miners' bath house then The Miners social club. But it's also a real coup: the film is on national release, but of the 60 cinemas showing it, the Moston site is the only community cinema with screening rights. And yet the whole event is the result of a simple cold call.

"Last year, when we had our first film festival, we had Looking For Eric on and the star, Steve Evets, came along," explains Howard Patient, the cinema's promotions manager. "So we called Ken's agent and said, 'We've shown one of your films before, Steve loves The Miners, and we think this film would really suit being shown here to a community that understands the history and issues.

"A member of our residents association is also interviewed in The Spirit Of '45. And we've worked with the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University to show a film called Manchester Took It Too alongside the main feature, which looks at the devastation in this city during the war."

Even Loach himself had words of praise for A Small Cinema venture, saying: "I am very pleased that The Spirit of '45 will be shown at The Miners. The film celebrates the mood after the war to work together to build a better world. People had beaten Hitler together - couldn't they win the peace in the same way? "Maybe we can learn something from their determination. We face similar problems now - which market economics will never solve. …

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