Independent Cinema Office Blog

News and views on the world of independent film

Posts from December 2012

News Round-up... 21/12/2012

Posted Friday 21 December 2012 by Jon Spatz in News Round-up

The Magnificent 7

Final round-up of the year and what a year it has been – blood, sweat and tears! So, what’s new at the end of the world?

News & Opportunities


  • Looking to equip your cinema with at least one 2k digital projector? Of course you are. Well good news, submissions are open for financial support from MEDIA. All info and to apply here.
  • We desperately need exhibitors’ voices to be heard in the conversation being had about the future of our creative industries and this is the opportunity to do so. Creative Skillset is looking for both employers and professionals to take part in surveys which will help to shape policy. Follow the links for more and to get involved.


Good Reads

  • Consider this an early present.

News Round-up... 10/12/2012

Posted Monday 10 December 2012 by Jon Spatz in News Round-up

Bryan projectionist at Brooklyn Heights Cinema

An image from the photographic series The Booth by Joseph O. Holmes' - see Good Reads below



  • We have an excellent opportunity for a bright young thing to come join the ICO as Training & Events Intern. This really is a rare and excellent opportunity. Deadline for applications? THIS WEDNESDAY, 5PM. Click here and scroll down to bottom of page for more details and to get applying!
  • One World Media Awards 2013 is calling for entries! Of particular interest is the ‘New Voice Award’, which see some hitherto unknowns getting the spotlight and credit they deserve.
  • With their first round of Film Craft and Technical Trainees having proved a great success, Skillset Crafts and Technical Skills Academy are now open for 2013 applications for their pioneering scheme. This is a great opportunity to get your break in the industry – check it out!
  • In September we ran the Creative Digital Marketing course – and now our video from the event, entitled ‘Top Tips for Digital Marketing’ is at your disposal online. With contributions from industry leading individuals, this is key viewing. Scroll down page to view.
  • Creative Skillset is looking for both employers and professionals to take part in surveys which will help to shape the future of the UK Creative Industries. Questions will range from skills gaps and training to the future needs of the industries. Your feedback will influence future skills development and support your industry in remaining globally competitive. Click here for more.
  • For all you aspiring filmmakers – Bradford City of Film is hosting a Sound for Film training workshop from the 14th to 16th January. Often the last element of a production to be thought of, nothing could be more important to the success of your film than understanding the sound process. AND IT’S FREE!

Good Reads

  • Our lead image comes from our favourite find this week, New York City-based photographer Joseph O. Holmes' new project called The Booth that captures projectionists in their working environment.
  • Future Cinema founder Fabien Riggall speaks to Ian Sandwell of Screen about the future of his cinema behemoth and exhibition in general.
  • When putting together programmes for client cinemas, we are always surprised by how few films offer Audio Descriptions and Heard of Hearing. Here is a good account of why more films should offer this vital service.
  • Filmmaker Chris Jones is very excited about technology he feels will "blow feature film distribution wide open."
  • Is there a slowly increasing trend of American companies releasing their VOD figures? The LA Times reports on the shift, but notes that 90% of cinema patrons did not know that a film was available on both formats.
  • Ahead of his retrospective at the BFI and exhibition at the Serpentine, the filmmaker, writer, programmer and underground cinema catalyst Jonas Mekas, is the subject of an excellent profile taking in an extraordinary life in cinema. 

New screens in cities, changes at City Screen

Posted Friday 7 December 2012 by Kate Taylor in General, News Round-up


Clip from Barbican Bolero one of the highlights of the screening programme to celebrate the new cinemas.

Last night saw the opening of two new independent cinema screens in London, as the Barbican opened the doors to its swanky new Cinemas 2 & 3, complete with a ribbon cutting from Vivienne Westwood. With a cafe at street level, this development significantly ups the visibility of the art centre’s film offer, which has previously been notoriously hard to find.

Audiences were treated to a selection of early silent films with piano accompaniment, as well as some shorts about the Barbican centre itself, including a 1960s documentary told in rhyming verse. Westwood then headed over to the Cinema 1 – still in the basement of the main centre - to discuss her gluttonous film choice La Grande Bouffe, part of the Step Into The Dark season, where cultural folk have been choosing films relating to the Seven Deadly Sins. This weekend Michael Nyman will talk Lust with a screening of Carlos Reygadas’ Silent Light.

Dukes Cinema at Komedia

The facade of the newly opened Duke's at Komedia. Photograph by Joanne Mallon.

Meanwhile, that lovely new-cinema-seat smell could also be found in Brighton, where the Duke of Yorks cinema also celebrated a night of expansion, launching Duke’s at Komedia; two screens with two cafe bars, and a striking pair of distinctive red and white tights over the entrance. Opening with Sightseers and Seven Psychopaths, with future bookings for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, this is the latest addition to the Picturehouse chain.

A talking point at both events was the news of the Cineworld acquisition of the City Screen/Picturehouse chain. The announcement was met with a wave of responses on social networks, from audiences keen to voice their opinions on what this will mean to their cinema-going experience, demonstrating the depth of feeling people have for what good cinema should be. While the move dramatically increases the market share of UK screens owned by Cineworld, the news from both companies is an emphatic statement that it will be business as usual, with the Picturehouse chain maintaining its current staff, identity and programming ethos, and both companies learning from each other. With plans to open 10 more Picturehouse sites, the independent cinema sector will be watching with interest the impact it has on the business of exhibition and film culture in the UK.

Deptford Film Club on The Imposter

Posted Friday 7 December 2012 by Kate Taylor in Film Releases, Pop-up and Event Cinema

Since we’ve started taking non-theatrical bookings on the The Imposter, we’ve been receiving some great feedback from film societies and clubs, whose audiences have responded strongly to the film. To give us a sense of the experience, we invited Phoenix Fry, of recent nominees at the BFFS awards, the Deptford Film Club, to tell us about their screening and the atmosphere of their events.

Amersham Arms

First of all, the name ‘Deptford Film Club’ is a lie. It’s not a club; anyone can turn up and watch the feature films we show every fortnight. Also we’re not in Deptford, but just over the border in New Cross, an area of south east London that vibrates with the A2’s constant stream of lorries carrying goods from Kentish ports into central London.

It’s Wednesday night, and people walk through the Amersham Arms and take a narrow staircase up to the room where we’re screening The Imposter. The lighting is low, and American-diner-style banquettes have been shifted to face a blank wall. The room is packed. Pints of beer are set down, mobile phones clicked onto silent, and we thirty or so people are, for 99 minutes, immersed in the world of this compelling British documentary.

We’ve been doing Deptford Film Club for nearly three years now, and we know which films work well in this space. The room is not a sealed box; the glow of streetlights outside peeps through the window blinds, and the soundtrack of the films is complemented by muffled sounds of the pub below and the shrill sirens of ambulances and police pelting toward emergencies. It adds an edge to the film club screenings. Some movies just don’t work here. The Imposter works amazingly.

The mystery of the film is not in what happens. Like the ‘confession’ opening of Double Indemnity, this documentary begins at the end: Frenchman Frederic Bourdin faces the camera and explains how he pretended to be Nicholas Gibson, a Texan teenager who had vanished from his home three and a half years earlier. After Bourdin tells the police he’d been kidnapped and sexually abused, he is welcomed home by Nicholas’ distraught family.

Here's the mystery, then. Why did he do it? And why do the family not seem to notice that he speaks English with a French accent, and has brown eyes and dark hair - not Nicholas's blue eyes and blond hair? And this mystery is as gripping as hell. Halfway through, we stop the film for 15 minutes so the audience can grab a drink or a smoke, and go to the toilet. And they’re already raving about the film.

Why are film clubs better than cinemas, and better than watching a movie at home? It’s because you can be swallowed by a film, and yet be able to turn to someone (probably a stranger, or maybe that attractive person you saw here last week) and talk through your reaction to the experience. It doesn’t feel pretentious or awkward. There’s none of that worry about whether you can sneak out before the Q&A. You just feel yourself quite naturally, quite casually, reacting to the film in a public place.

The second half ends and there’s a magical moment where we all sit in the dark together as the credits roll. The lights come back on, but the moment continues: that feeling of being both in the film and in the room. We used to encourage people to clap at the end of screenings, but there’s something nicer about waking up from a film slowly. The talking begins again, and the questions, and the big smiles. It was ‘brilliant’, ‘amazing’. It is ‘such a fantastically-made film’.

I want to write that they said ‘chilling’ and ‘unsettling’ and 'the best documentary I've seen this year', but that’s me just making things up. But it was. It really was.


Phoenix Fry is the creative coordinator of Deptford Film Club and Sydenham Film Club, and co-producer of the New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival. In 2010 he produced the UK’s first festival dedicated to Nollywood (Nigeria's hugely prolific film industry), and is still very excited about international populist cinema. He currently lectures at University of the Arts London.


This is the official blog for the Independent Cinema Office, the national organisation for the development and support of independent film exhibition in the UK.


Recent posts


Follow us

Independent Cinema Office

3rd Floor, Kenilworth House, 79-80 Margaret Street, London W1W 8TA
T: 020 7636 7120 F: 020 7636 7121 E:

Registered in England and Wales. Company 5369193.
ICO is a registered charity No. 1109053