Scalarama opens its blog up to all members involved in the season to talk about how they caught the film screening bug – first up is Lucy Morrow from The Loft Movie Theatre in Nottingham.
Talk to any Nottingham-born film lovers about where they remember seeing movies in their formative years, and they will probably recount stories of Nottingham’s oldest independent cinema; The Savoy. This much-loved art deco picture house originally opened in 1935, and some readers may recognise its interior which features in the 1960 film of Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. But one of the most consistent and vivid memories people have is the old upstairs bar; a cosy old-fashioned lounge with a ceiling evocatively plastered in movie posters, captivating patrons with their eye-catching imagery and providing a unique atmosphere until the cinema was modernised in the 2000s.
When my husband Gavin and I converted our loft into a home cinema in 2011, the Savoy’s old bar was the inspiration behind the decor. We papered the room with old film posters, recreated the bar with wall-mounted optics, fitted a projector and screen, and The Loft Movie Theatre was born: a very cosy 4-person cinema, in which we could pretend we were at the pictures and indulge in nostalgia. We created a Facebook page where we would upload the poster to each film we watched, and to our enjoyment, people started to “like” the page and join us in our fantasy pretending to be a cinema.
Of course we’ve always enjoyed going to the cinema in the real world too, and are lucky there are so many great local film events organised by Nottingham-based film clubs; we’re regulars at the annual Mayhem Film Festival at the Broadway Cinema, and enjoy the various creative pop up events by collectives like Kino Klubb and The Kneel Before Zod Video Club.
During the 2015 Scalarama Festival, we attended a screening of Australian man-child masterpiece Bad Boy Bubby, hosted by Dan Keeling – aka Porlock Press – which happened to be at The Savoy. It was a sold-out event, and Dan had added lovely touches to the proceedings by commissioning unique poster artwork which he gave out to audience members, and obtaining a personal introduction from the Director. The Savoy is still a perfect setting for special screening events, having a somewhat Lynchian ‘Red Room’ feel with its red velvet curtains and atmospheric lighting, as well as boasting recently-refurbished screens, comfy seats and an excellent sound system. There’s also the added bonus that they still offer a full bar, serving beers, wines and spirits which can be taken into the movie.
Inspired by the creativity of the events at Scalarama 2015, we started to talk movies with Dan throughout 2016, finding that we shared a common ground with some of the things we wanted to see on the big screen, and subsequently decided to team up in September 2016 to host a Scalarama screening of Alex Cox’s Repo Man. It was the first time Gavin and I had been involved in screening a film in public, and to our delight and amazement, not only did the event sell out, but our audience of Repo Man lovers and converts made the night into a proper collective experience.
Following the success of this first collaboration (and more importantly, the fun we had in doing it) we started to discuss the idea of jointly curating a regular film night, and the management at The Savoy were very supportive. Since then, The Loft Movie Theatre and Porlock Press have been screening classic and cult movies every month at The Savoy, with highlights including John Carpenter’s sci-fi horror masterpiece The Thing, the captivating Al Pacino true-crime movie Dog Day Afternoon and the ultimate cult movie experience, Withnail and I.
We’ve also started a Food and Film Night in collaboration with Chef Jugz, a Nottingham-based street food connoisseur with a passion for film. The first event was GoodFellas at Rough Trade Nottingham where Chef Jugz cooked up an amazing menu to highlight the importance of food in the story.
We love the fact that our audience members are becoming familiar faces who come back time and time again; Nottingham clearly has a great community of movie-lovers who are passionate about film.
For this year’s Scalarama Festival, The Loft Movie Theatre and Porlock Press are delighted to be involved in a few exciting events including a collaboration with our friends at the online movie rental store The Film Exchange, to host an immersive experience of The Running Man at Nottingham’s Quasar arena. We can’t wait to see what other film clubs have planned.
In the meantime, we’ll be continuing with our monthly programme – the next two Savoy showings will be Brian Yuzna’s Society and classic 80s comedy The ‘Burbs – and we’ll also be hosting our second Food and Film Night with Chef Jugz in July, which will be Pulp Fiction.
If you want to know more about our events, you can follow facebook.com/theloftmovietheatre and facebook.com/porlockpress. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list to be kept up to date of future events.
Scalarama is a perfect opportunity for cinemas, film clubs and individuals who have a passion for movies to get involved and celebrate their favourite movies by sharing them with others. If there’s anyone out there thinking of getting involved in this year’s festival, we recommend you look through the Scalarama website where you can find all sorts of information and guidance on setting up an event.