THE BALLY #104: Highlights from London’s alternative cinema scene

Welcome to THE BALLY where we help you find what to see in London across DIY, indie & alternative cinema events, online & in venues.

By RADIANT CIRCUS // Twitter @radiantcircus / Instagram @radiantcircus

As we hurtle nearer 17 May (the date when we all should be able to head indoors for some cinema…), more venues have started to announce their reopening programmes. We’re keeping track of booking announcements in our A-Z of London’s indie venues (let us know if we’ve missed anyone!). Keep reading for news about some screen events that are on sale now (or should be in the next few days).

Watermans has confirmed they are reopening from 20 May 2021 but will also be continuing their popular online film club launched during shutdown, No Ticket Required. Their resident film expert Jon Davies invites you to discuss Ladj Ly’s LES MISÉRABLES with guest speaker Rod Rhule at the last of their lockdown editions (10 MAY 20:00). We expect to see more of these hybrid futures as the pandemic (for all its many horrors) has opened up exhibitors to wider audiences and offered audiences greater access.

The Prince Charles has been broadcasting news of new seasons and strands faster than we can blog about them. New announcements over recent days includes seasons devoted to the following (A-Z!): 007 (from 22 MAY), Agnès Varda (from 08 JUN), Andrei Tarkovsky (from 06 JUN), Bong Joon-ho (from 01 JUN), Charlie Chaplin (from 31 JUL), The Coen Brothers (from 11 JUN), Éric Rohmer (from 27 MAY), Paul Thomas Anderson (from 26 MAY), Sergio Leone’s DOLLARS Trilogy (from 03 JUN), Studio Ghibli (from 30 MAY), Teen Movies (Friday nights from 28 MAY), the Three Colours Trilogy on 35MM (from 13 JUL), and Wim Wenders on 35MM (from 20 JUL). Got all that?!

In a similar vein, prolific indie promoter Deeper Into Movies has added new films and venues to their reopening lineup. We posted about their excellent outdoor event season at Dalston Roof Park HERE, but you can also now book for screenings at POP Brixton (from 19 MAY) and Oslo (from 30 MAY). New events/titles across all venues include MOGUL MOWGLI (19 MAY – POP Brixton), SURGE (30 MAY – Oslo), and LOU REED’S BERLIN (28 JUN – Dalston Roof Park). Check their website for full dates and details.

Finally, if you’re a moving image artist, Daniel & Clara invite you to the next online edition of their Moving Image Salon which features the work of Scott Barley (FREE but donations are welcome – 08 MAY 14:00).

And that’s the meat of it…

If you’re one of our monthly subscribers, you can also check our exclusive COMING ATTRACTIONS calendar of the screen events that are on our blogging horizon (but we haven’t had a chance to post about yet). Simply unlock the page using your Patreon login.

If you’re not yet one of our members, please consider starting a monthly subscription with us at Patreon. 40% of your fees will go directly into our Revive The Dark exhibitor fund to support indie promoters, and we’ll send you our comprehensive weekly event listings as a reward as soon as venues reopen (other rewards are available!).

See you in darkness (very…) soon,


Main featured image: Splash, Scratch, Dunk! Films Made by Hand at Barbican Cinema (08 JUL to 05 AUG).

This is film still from ASHLEY by Jamie Crewe, streaming online at LUX until 13 MAY 2021.

ASHLEY by Jamie Crewe online at LUX (until 13 MAY 2021)

LUX presents the semi-autobiographical rural horror film ASHLEY by Glasgow-based artist Jamie Crewe, FREE online until 13 MAY 2021. READ MORE


Back In Focus: The Centenary of William Friese-Greene (online 05 MAY 2021)

Kennington Bioscope & The Cinema Museum present the latest edition of KBTV about a pioneering British experimenter with moving pictures (FREE online – 05 MAY 19:30). READ MORE

This is a film still from JUSTINE which streams at Screen25 Cinema On Demand until 05 May 2021.

Two new films + Q&As at Screen25 Cinema On Demand (until 05 MAY 2021)

Screen25 Cinema has added THE STORY OF LOVERS ROCK + JUSTINE to their new On Demand service, part of their strategy to keep projecting until they can reopen. READ MORE

This is a film still from Irish Film From Home.

Irish Film From Home – May 2021 Selection (from 04 MAY)

Irish Film London’s online portal Irish Film From Home continues to offer monthly film selections, showcasing the best new Irish cinema, on demand. [Featured image: THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR d. Gillian Marsh, 2019] READ MORE

This is a film still from SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY which screens at BFI Southbank as part of their reopening programme (May to June 2021).

BFI Southbank reopening programme (from 17 May 2021)

BFI Southbank has announced their reopening programme with booking opening from 06 May for the general public (members can book earlier)! We’ve chosen some highlights… [Featured image: SYNDROMES & A CENTURY d. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006] READ MORE

This is a film still from NOMADLAND which screens at Electric Cinema Portobello from 17 May 2021.

Electric Cinema reopening programme (from 17 MAY 2021)

Boutique exhibitor Electric Cinema has announced their reopening programme & will take your booking at both White City & Portobello from 07 MAY. Here’s what’s on… [Featured image: NOMADLAND d. Chloé Zhao, 2020] READ MORE

This is a film still from RARE BEASTS (2021) which screens at Genesis Cinema on 20 MAY 2021 as part of their reopening programme.

Reopening programme at Genesis Cinema (from 17 MAY 2021)

The wonderful Genesis Cinema – & RADIANT CIRCUS local! – has launched their reopening programme from 17 MAY 2021. We’ve taken a look (& booked our seats…). [Featured image: RARE BEASTS d. Billie Piper, 2019] READ MORE

UK Asian Film Festival (26 MAY to 06 JUN 2021)

The UK Asian Film Festival returns for its 23rd edition with the theme ‘Ray Of Hope’. Events booking now at BFI, Genesis Cinema & Rich Mix. [Featured image: CHOTE NAWAB d. Kumud Chaudhary, 2020] READ MORE

This is a film still from LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (2018) screening at Barbican Cinema 13 June 2021.

Return To The City season at Barbican Cinema (08 to 27 JUN 2021)

With a title that seems both factual & hopeful, Barbican has announced a new season of film screenings focussed on re-discovering the (lost…?) cities of the world. [Featured image: LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT 3D d. Bi Gan, 2018] READ MORE

London Short Film Festival highlights at Catford Mews (25 to 28 JUN 2021)

Catford Mews starts screening again from 21 May 2021. Full programme details to follow but get booking for selections from this year’s London Short Film Festival. [Featured image: IN HER BOOTS d. Kathrin Steinbacher] READ MORE

Splash, Scratch, Dunk! Films Made by Hand at Barbican Cinema (08 JUL to 05 AUG)

Barbican Cinema has announced a short season of experimental films made entirely by hand, without a camera, to accompany their exhibition Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty. [Featured image: HAS THE FEATURE STARTED YET? d. Maurice Lemaître, 1951] READ MORE

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*THE SMALL PRINT: Opinions author’s own. // As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any errors. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version only. // Event dates/times/formats are subject to change by the venue/organiser. Events may already be sold out at the time of posting, so please click quickly. // We try to list as many original format screenings as we can (8 to 70MM), but sometimes formats change due to age of the print, availability, logistics etc, so please check ahead with your venue if the format is your thing. // All images are used in the spirit of fair use for reporting & review – no ownership is implied or intended / unless otherwise credited to RADIANT CIRCUS as the original rights holder. We will remove any images immediately upon request – just get in touch. // We don’t filter our listings by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should therefore be 18+. // Finally, we always try to follow The Carny Code by “not screwing up anyone else’s game”, but everyone can make mistakes… If something does go wrong, we will always do our best to put it right. //.