RADIANT CIRCUS launched our new popup cinema LUNCHTIME FILM SOCIETY (22 OCT to 01 NOV) at The Bridewell Theatre last month. We wanted to help liberate some busy lunch hours by screening daily programmes of bitesize short films. Here’s what happened in our second week.
By RADIANT CIRCUS
Our second week of lunchtime films included some of our most recently made shorts; we’d selected titles from the Smartphone Film Festival 2019, part of Leytonstone Loves Film (27 to 29 SEP) only a few weeks before, which was a real treat if a little bit of a logistical challenge. It gave us some of our biggest audiences – and audience hits! – so far.
We started the second week with SMART PHONE, a programme of shorts showcasing the potential of the camera we almost all seem to have in our pockets. Siri Rodnes’ NONE OF THE ABOVE (2018) took us on a nightmarish dive down the rabbit hole of vlogging and trolling, dramatising the real world consequences of our digital actions. On a similarly cautionary note, Rachael Belle Myers’ THEY’RE LISTENING (2019) humorously reminded us to pay attention to exactly how the big data companies reap their rewards from what is seemingly so free: the smartphone giveth, but it also taketh plenty away…
Multiple award-winner ALICE 404 (Kate Graham, 2019) creates a near future collage of a life lost but also permanently preserved using all the gifs, memes and social edits of a smartphone enabled existence. We followed Graham’s complex and carefully edited film with Sergi Martí’s THE BUZZER (2015) – where we witness a confrontation via a building’s security camera between a backpacker and his parents…. – to show how smartphones can also be simple yet really creative cameras.
The audience favourite of this batch – fresh from its victory as Best International Short at the Smartphone Film Festival – was Nate Torrance’s SOMETHING’S WRONG WITH DAD (2019). A father and son project about a camping trip that takes a horrific turn, SOMETHING’S WRONG… is engagingly performed and not afraid to terrify, dolling out scares and smiles in equal measure.
LONDON STORIES was all about this ever-changing city, from the people who can no longer afford to live here as seen in Alexa Banks’ beautiful doc THE BEEKEEPER about the rising cost of living on the river, to the changing nature of our endeavours with Adrianna Marin and Ken Kamara’s look into the world of one of London’s last black and white photographic hand printers, MASTERMONO (2017). Molly Boughton’s BROTHERS (2018) dramatised the challenges of living beyond the fringes with a beautifully shot study of tree boys increasingly lost in their own world, whilst Ruari Muir’s documentary KIWI BREEZE (2017) revealed a startling strategy for escaping the city (by secretly building an ocean ready yacht in your back garden…).
We hadn’t planned to celebrate filmmakers’ talents in person, so it was an unexpected thrill to be joined by director Tomisin Adepeju for the screening of his Sundance short, THE RIGHT CHOICE (2018). Set in a near future where parents can pick the gender, sexual orientation and skin colour of their babies, this dark comedy gave us another programme highlight and another serious earworm from its satirical playout track…
The next screening was one we didn’t think we could pull off. LUNCHTIME FILM SOCIETY is a casual collab between RADIANT CIRCUS and four indie exhibitors, none of whom are known for their horror content. But with a screening falling on Halloween (and another of those fabled Brexit departure days…), we couldn’t resist. The lineup came together really well!
Aaron Immediato’s BATHROOM TROLL (2018) is what we call a Fancy Dress Horror, pimping the wigs and makeup that can be easily accessed at your local party goods store to create something visually and thematically compelling – a revenger’s riff on CARRIE that wouldn’t be out of place in the BUFFY universe. Then came tales from two contrasting film shoots… Alfonso Garcia’s 2013 THE LION’S MOUTH crossed over from last year’s Smartphone Film Festival and gave us a terrifying found footage exposé of possession and exorcism. Constrastingly, Varun Raman and Tom Hancock’s TRANSMISSION was shot on beautiful 35mm and showed what might happen if we give in to intolerance (a real buttock clencher of a film as the screw tightens…).
Our personal favourite – in part for its terrifying puppetry and all-out gore – was Ryan Glista’s LET’S BE FRIENDS (2018), another tale of childhood revenge where you never really know what that lonely kid with a stuffed toy might have up his sleeve.
Our final programme of this week and our entire launch programme was a series of unapologetically feel-good shorts, THAT FRIDAY FEELING. Helene Dancer’s doc VOGIE BEIRUT (2018) showed us what dancing can do at the forefront of LGBTQ+ liberation before Martin Lennon’s doc OOR WALLY (2016) gave us a fully three dimensional study of two distinct characters; Eleanor – mother of 8 and granny of 7 – and the football team mascot she plays, Wally The Warrior. A second sports-themed short – Ana de Lara’s comedy drama GOOD GIRLS DON’T (2017) – showed us how girls should be allowed to play sports (with a heavenly assist…).
We ended everything with Leonara Pitt’s THE MATCHMAKER (2017) which fulfils its promise to deliver that seemingly most challenging of things, an Alzheimer’s comedy. With the added star power of Rhea Perlman, that long CASSABLANCA-inspired wave goodbye is still unspooling in our hearts.
And that was the meat of it… This was our first popup cinema and we’re delighted to have screened some beautifully diverse films for an appreciative lunchtime audience. What did people say? Lovely things like this…
- “What a lovely way to spend a lunch hour. The host was very welcoming and informative. We received a free bag of popcorn and were able to eat our lunch whilst watching the films.”
- “The time was made up of several short films which were wonderful. I would definitely attend one of these events again.”
- “This was an excellent event. The Bridewell Theatre is a good venue and we were given a warm and enthusiastic welcome.”
- “We watched five fascinating short films, some surprising, some amusing and some poignant. A good way to spend a lunch hour.”
We definitely want to to do this again (read on if you’re interested). Thank you to all our wonderful programme partners (find out about them here) and everyone who helped behind the scenes. And a final thank you to our audiences for sharing their lunches with us (not literally… well, apart from the generous bumper crop of donuts one horror head brought with her on Halloween!).
> LUNCHTIME FILM SOCIETY launched at the Bridewell Theatre (EC4Y) and ran from 22 OCT to 01 NOV 2019.
> Invite LUNCHTIME FILM SOCIETY to popup in your location (an email should do the trick)!
The project suits venues that are vacant during the daytime but surrounded by busy people including empty shops and other spaces. You could even invite us into your workplace to entertain and inspire your team. Chose from one or all of the current programmes (listed below) or talk to us to request something just for you.
- BETTER UNITED: At a time of national disunity, these short films explore the value of community to find common ground, work together & get stuff done (or simply have a good natter over a decent pint!).
- ABOUT US: The stories we tell about people & places reveal a lot about us. But how do our stories get out there & who gets to tell them? These shorts show how stories can both define us & set us free.
- FRAME BY FRAME: There’s more to animation than princesses & talking animals (well, we’ve got a cute ninja deer, but you know what we mean?). These animated shorts tell bold stories of both fact & fiction.
- UNCONVENTIONAL U: A celebration of difference for everyone who has ever come out, come of age or simply come alive. These shorts channel the fierce spirit to be yourself in an age of increasing conformity.
- SMART PHONE: These shorts were all made on smartphones, showcasing the potential of the camera in your pocket to create a mini masterpiece (& we don’t mean your cat “playing” the piano…).
- LONDON STORIES: Life in London is a collage of constant choice & change. These shorts look at how the city is evolving & how the choices we make affect our lives & (possible) futures.
- HORROR SPECIAL: Join us if you dare for a lunchtime lineup of short films with extra bite. These twisted tales will send shivers down your spine…
- THAT FRIDAY FEELING: Start your weekend early with a feel-good programme of joyous shorts that will lift your spirits & send you back out with a smile.
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