…or maybe by the time you read this, to kind of quote from “Poltergeist” – “It’s here.”
We love Scalarama. It’s been running for three years now, a virtual film festival happening each September, billed as a Celebration of Cinema across the UK!
We like what they stand for – first and foremost a massive love for and curiosity about the art of cinema – but also the idea that cinema is more than just the film, that “everything around it matters” and that sharing the experience with other people is what makes it come alive.
We also love the idea of collaboration, with a whole network of film screenings linking across the country under the Scalarama umbrella. If only we could go to all the different film clubs or cool independent cinemas in other cities to see some of the amazing things they are doing, but so often life gets in the way. With ventures like Scalarama we get to find out more about who’s doing what and it feels like we’re all more connected.
The idea behind Scalarama was to recreate the excitement and broad scope of the old Scala cinema in London, one of the original maverick temples to independent film (see our own homage to it here )
The Scala revival started as a celebration of cinema and of the people who love films and want to show and share them (like us!) however small the venue or strange the film, or whatever the medium, and (like us!) has grown from there.
It encourages people not just to seek out unusual and forgotten films but to put on their own screenings too. Their offshoot project Home Cinema Day, “Fill the Land with Cinemas!” aims to do just that, whether your cinema is a big TV and a bunch of friends, a projection onto an outside wall for all your neighbours to see, or just you and your laptop playing your favourite movie in bed with a cat on your knee. Although a big part of the Scalarama ethos is about sharing the experience of watching a film together, recreating some of that magic that people must have felt in the early days of cinema when they crowded into a darkened tent to see the wonders of Mitchell and Kenyon at the travelling show.
Most of all, Scalarama encourages a sense of exploration and adventure, to step beyond the multiplex and into a different realm: “Try out a film or a venue you’ve never heard of, discover new people and experiences, start to see film, and the world, in a new light”
We heartily agree. We’ll be going on some adventures into uncharted territory to see films in places we haven’t been before, at places like the Moston Small Cinema in Manchester and the Minicine at Armley Mills, Leeds.
And unlike the multiplex movie-going experience, we’ll probably have change from a tenner too!
Our contribution to this year’s Scalarama is “My Winnipeg”, a (suitably off the beaten film society path) film about memories, dreams and the odd personalities and happenings of a small town in Canada. But we’ll be giving it a local twist as we bring it to Sheffield, in one of the city’s beautiful old industrial buildings.
“It’ll stay with you and haunt you in the best possible way long after you left the cinema” – we hope that you’ll come and see if you agree, and that long after the month of September is over you’ll feel that way about Scalarama too.