We’re asking our wonderful readers to celebrate London’s alternative cinema scene with a #LDNindieFILM Love Story! Here’s the next of their tributes to the amazing people & places that illuminate the darkness with great cinema.
By RADIANT CIRCUS
THE CINEMA MUSEUM
by Hannah Pressman
The Cinema Museum
When I was fourteen I started volunteering at The Cinema Museum in Kennington, and I am now thirty, so I have spent more than half of my life alongside it.
I’ve archived reels of film, catalogued posters, dressed up in usherette uniforms. I’ve learned about the building’s history; a former workhouse which housed Charlie Chaplin and his mother. I’ve sat in the projectionist booth and learned things about moving image and light that I never thought I could comprehend. I’ve served people drinks, and I’ve had the drinks served to me. I’ve attended film screenings, talks, birthday parties, celebrated my own birthday in the dark with friends watching An American Werewolf in London. When I was twenty-two my parents got married there. That was the best of all those parties.
But I am just one of thousands of people who have had their lives altered in some way by stepping into this magical place. No one knows what the future holds for The Cinema Museum, as the sale of the building is currently threatening its closure, but it has enriched the last sixteen years of my life.
I love The Cinema Museum, and due to all the knowledge and entertainment it’s given me over the years, I kind of have the feeling that it loves me back.
The Cinema Museum is fighting closure. Sign the petition etc. to show your support.
THE RADIANT CIRCUS VIEW: I wanted to share Hannah’s #LDNindieFILM Love Story for two reasons. Firstly, it’s about the fragility of London’s alternative cinema scene. We had to post too many warning notices before the coronavirus shutdown as venue after venue faced an uncertain future. Some of those notices came to nothing, some venues closed and some remain underneath Damocles’ sword. We remain very concerned about what an extended shutdown will do and stand by ready to play our part.
But Hannah’s Love Story is also about the thousands of volunteers who keep the scene illuminated, whether that’s helping to run much-loved venues like The Cinema Museum, project their own passions with never-to-be profitable film clubs or staff enormous beasts of the cinematic wild like the BFI London Film Festival. Without volunteer power the independent scene would just grind to a halt. We owe them all our thanks!
> For a chance to win a year’s free indie cinema listings, show your support for London’s alternative film scene by submitting your own #LDNindieFILM Love Story.
> You can also browse our London Venue A to Z to find out how you can support your favourite indie cinema directly.
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THE SMALL PRINT: Each #LDNindieFILM Love Story is submitted by a reader & remains their own creative work. All opinions, errors or inaccuracies are the author’s own 😉 Updates & corrections will be made to the online version. We don’t filter by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should therefore be 18+.