The Four Steps of Scalarama

What is Scalarama and how can you get involved?

There are 4 simple steps to getting involved in Scalarama and we invite everyone to take as many or as few as they want. Scalarama is a season of films in cinemas across the UK but it is also a state of mind, helping people connect over cinema in September – so even if you don’t make it to a screening, there are many ways to support the initiative.

STEP ONE – Pledge to go to the cinema more in September

Plan ahead and start inviting people to go to the cinema with you in September. Use it as a useful social event to reconnect. Or maybe use Scalarama just as an excuse to talk about your favourite film and cinema experiences with friends, family, colleagues or neighbours. Start conversations with strangers on the bus, at the shops or in waiting rooms! Encourage people to head to their local cinema to support filmmaking for the big screen, and keep the cinema flame burning for the next generation.

STEP TWO – Pledge to discover more types of cinema in September

Start a cinema adventure in September by trying out something new – maybe it’s a cinema you’ve never been to before, or you discover a new film club happening in your local area. Or maybe set yourself a challenge to watch a different kind of film than you would usually see. Maybe it’s an all-night film marathon, or locally made short films by a young filmmaker. Maybe it’s watching more films made by women or from a country you’ve never experienced. Let cinema inspire you to change the way you see things and experience something new.

STEP THREE – Pledge to show a film to others in September

So you love cinema? You go to the cinema a lot and feel you are always adventurous already? Well why not take the next step and find out how to start screening films to others. You could start by organising events at your own house by taking part in Home Cinema Day on the last Sunday of September. Or maybe you want to put on public events but don’t know where to start. Don’t fear – Scalarama is here! The Scalarama team compile helpful guides and provide links to help you start off on the right foot as part our “I Want To Be A Cinema” initiatives. Don’t see the films you want to see at your local cinema? Well, make your own in September!

STEP FOUR – Pledge to support your own Scalarama groups

Scalarama has expanded over the years, with local groups of cinemas, film clubs and film fans coming together to support each other and help spread the cinema love at a grassroots level. Cities such as Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Brighton, Bristol and Edinburgh have seen groups of film fans work together to create a vibrant and diverse cinema offering in their areas each September. The final step of Scalarama is one of support – if you already screen films or have an interest in cinema, why not link up with other local people to form your own Scalarama group? Or why not link up nationally with people with similar interests and form a nationwide group to support your favourite types of cinema? Ultimately, Scalarama is about collaboration over competition and the belief that cinema can bring people together to change the world, one great movie at a time.

Scala Cinema: The Book – Last Chance to Support

Scalarama 2018 will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Scala Cinema – the legendary picture palace that inspired the very first Scala season back in 2011. Jane Giles, former programmer and manager of the cinema, has teamed up with FAB Press on a heroic quest to bring together all of the Scala’s iconic programmes together in one huge (and we mean MASSIVE!) book. After successfully crowdfunding over £30,000 to get the book into print, there are now less than 24 hours to contribute to the crowdfunder campaign. After that the cost of the book goes up, so get a bargain whilst you can!

Get your purses ready and head to the Indiegogo page now!

Here’s the info about the book:

A million people went through the doors of London’s Scala cinema between June 1978-June 1993. Were you one of them? 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Scala programme and 25 years since the cinema’s closure. It’s time to tell the Scala’s story, what was on the screen and what happened behind the scenes at the world’s greatest independent cinema during that turbulent time. A one-off, this incomparable book features for the first time the complete set of Scala programmes, and more.

And the crowdfunder video, made by Nucleus Films.


The Kinematic Film Club is a new approach to watching films. Cinema is a social activity, so their film nights are like nights in with your mates, but they provide a big screen, cool entertainment, an amazing film programme and a fully stocked bar!

Screenings are exclusive to members only (anyone can easily join) and with a programme including an eclectic mix of cult, classic, horror, action, documentary- anything which is good to watch communally!- who wouldn’t want to be a member of that club? The Kinematic want to create a community around film, where members can enjoy, discuss and celebrate a film collectively. To build this community, members at the screening will have access to some awesome events to compliment the film; from live music to Q&As, quizzes to workshops. Every fourth month The Kinematic Film Club will have a surprise screening. This could be anything from a top doc, classic action, oddball animation, fancy foreign language; something a bit more unusual…

My favourite nights out when I was younger was to go down the road to the local cinema with a bunch of my friends,” Alex MacDonald, one of The Kinematic Film Club founders remembers, “it didn’t matter what the film was, it was about the shared experience of sitting in a dark room and having fun. Our film club is about recreating that sense of fun and community”.

The Kinematic Film Club is held at Make. North Docks, in their beautiful atrium, and takes place every third Thursday of the month for member only screenings. Membership to The Kinematic Film Club gives you access to all this for a whole year.

There is a desire in the city to experience film in alternative ways to the multiplex, so we have created our film club for those people; if you’re a film buff, cineast or cult movie fan, this is for you! Join us:


Our next screenings are Children of Men followed by Titanic. Check out our website for our current programme. There is currently an introductory offer on Single Memberships at £35.

Since then we have been working on setting up our members-only film club. This film club is to run alongside other pop-up events and will lead to us opening a permanent cinema.

For more info contact >>  Alex MacDonald & Lucy Gonzalez  email 



Scalarama Bulletins

Instead of a Scalarama newspaper this year, we’ve gone for three bulletins spread throughout the season detailing the different films, people and ideas that make up our friendly celebration of cinema. Download the bulletins so far to see the range and scope of the season, and check back soon for the final instalment as we reflect on the 2017 edition.

Designed by Jonathan Spencer & Chris Jackson

includes articles from Loft Movie Theatre’s Lucy Morrow, Nobody Ordered Wolves’ Duncan Carson on why you should programme films, a look at various City Symphony films by London Symphony’s Alex Barret and an interview with Guy Maddin.

includes introduction to Scalarama 2017, full Shared Programme details and listings of submitted Scalarama events – by town/city.

Meet The Exhibitors Interview: South West Silents


South West Silents have always been firm friends of Scalarama Bristol and we met up with founding member James Harrison to discuss how he got started out, why Bristol is a great city for cinema and the many fantastic screenings they have been involved with this time around.


How did you first get involved in cinema exhibition?

It was weird really, it was one of those situations where I just wanted to start seeing the films I had never been able to see. We once put on a William S. Hart western night and it was fantastic, but it’s not the kind of thing they would put on at somewhere like Watershed because it’s not financially viable for them. We do it in such a way that we can put it on for free and for no other reason than that we love silent cinema.


Do you remember the first screening you put on?

Yeah, it was Asphalt, the German silent film from 1929. We managed to get maybe 56 people along, and it worked. The location wasn’t perfect because you had the music from the bar upstairs and other customers were walking through to get to the toilet. But it was a great atmosphere and we got a local German historian along to do a talk.


What are your audiences like?

We do have regulars, which is great. They share our passion for cinema and in fact Rosie Taylor, who is a co-founder of South West Silents actually started out as an audience member for Bristol Silents screenings before we encouraged her to get involved. People always hang around after the screenings to discuss what they’ve seen, that’s a large part of the experience.


So there’s a nice community feel to it?

Yeah there is. It is inevitably quite a niche interest but we do try and encourage new people to come along. There’s a great silent film festival in Italy called La Giornate Del Cinema Muto, who have a collegium scheme where they will pay for your hotel and your entrance fee for you to watch films all week in return for you writing an article about the festival. So particularly with younger audience members, we encourage them to get involved with that.


Then there’s the launch of our Friese-Green beer for which we are collaborating with Dawkins Ales. That will hopefully get some new faces to come along and find out what we do.


How did that come about?

I knew Glen Dawkins, who is the owner of the Dawkins pubs as well as the brewer from when I had previously enticed him to do an ale for the Slapstick Film Festival. Then he ended up doing a beer for my wedding and then my 30th and then one for W.C. Fields so I really wanted to do one with South West Silents and also one that is a bit more summery. And it’s a real celebration of Bristol, William Friese-Green was a Bristol film pioneer and he lived just down the road from The Victoria pub where we are having the launch. He may even have enjoyed a pint there himself.


South West Silents seem to have an involvement in a lot of what is going on at Scalarama Bristol. Can you talk us through some of it?

Our main event is the A Night Of Early Colour Films we are hosting at our regular venue The Lansdown in Clifton. It is very much a celebration of colour cinematography, but also more specifically this incredible Spanish director – Segundo de Chomón – who is classed as the Spanish Georges Melies. One of our co-founders, Peter Walsh, managed to track down some of his work and it is all incredibly animated and largely unseen over here.


And you’re involved with the London Symphony screenings?

Yeah, I actually noticed this project was coming up about 4 years ago when the kickstarter appeared. My first reaction was “oh god, not another person who wants to try and imitate silent film, it’s going to be a disaster.” But the director Alex Barrett had previously made a short, Hungerford: Symphony of a London Bridge, and seeing how good that was convinced me to put some money towards the campaign.

I then got in touch with Alex and told him that if he manages to finish the project, we would be really interested in putting on a screening. I was always keeping an eye on the project as it was getting bigger and bigger and looking better and better, then one day I messaged him to check how it was going and he sent me back a screener. So I watched it and I was like “bloody hell! This is actually very good.” He is clearly a big fan of the earlier city symphonies, visually the film is stunning, but most importantly the soundtrack, which I am a real stickler for, works perfectly.

So we’ve ended up putting on three screenings of the film for Scalarama, twice in central Bristol at The Cube and then I am going to be doing a Q & A with Alex for a screening out at the Clevedon Curzon, which is a fantastic old cinema to show it in.


How do you find Bristol is for putting on screenings?

I think it’s great and that’s down largely to the diversity of interests. I’m involved in Cinema Rediscovered, and one of the reasons we decided to set that up, or had the confidence to do so, was the fact that Bristol has all these different film-related pockets and groups who all share the same passion for cinema.

If you just look at the Scalarama Bristol programme, you can see how diverse the line-up of films is. If you have our silent screenings on one end of the scale then you have Bristol Bad Film Club perhaps on the other, with 20th Century Flicks and their video rental shop acting as kind of a hub. In many ways everyone else’s activity kind of spurs us on.

That’s the reason why Bristol could be seen to stand out from other cities, is that we do have people who are passionately interested in all those different areas of Cinema.


Do you have any advice for people looking to put on their own screenings?

Don’t worry if no one turns up, at least not to begin with anyway. The entire point is that if you’re enjoying it and it’s personally what you want to see being screened, then keep at it. Our numbers fluctuate, but it always works. We’re doing this for the love of it, and that’s why our screenings are free as well.

I think uniqueness is extremely important – either in what you show or how you show it. Also actually venue – our monthly club screenings have now taken part in three different locations. Fortunately, we’re now very settled at The Lansdown in Clifton and it’s perfect for us, at our previous two venues we always had sound problems, but these places were working bars that had to make money so we couldn’t exactly tell them to shut up!


With lots of events already planned for the future keep up to date with South West Silents on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.