Free community cinema training in new pop-up project

A new council-funded cultural project is launching in Tower Hamlets to give local people the chance to get free training on how to to run their own community cinema.

Funded by Tower Hamlets Council, The Hamlets Pop-Up Cinema project will give 20 people, regardless of their experience, the opportunity to learn all the legal, technical and promotional skills required to set up a community cinema.

Dotted around venues across Tower Hamlets, the project is being delivered by Balik Arts, a transnational film and arts charity established in 1999.

Funding for the three month project is via the local council’s Thriving High Streets programme, a £2.3 million scheme designed to support local businesses and improve employment opportunities as new homes are built.

Yesim Guzelpinar, director of Balik Arts, who is leading the project, told Eastlononlines: “Over the years, we’ve worked with many young volunteers on transnational film projects and one of the things we are regularly asked is how can they run their own pop-up cinema or mini film festival.

“Working with Tower Hamlets Council, we have the chance to deliver a really innovative project whose legacy will continue long after our involvement has ended,” she said.

She added that the project, which will involve training by cinema experts, together with hands-on experience and industry contacts will be a “great way to develop a new hobby and potentially a new career” for the young people of the borough.

The first of three one-day training courses will take place at Four Corners, a learning and exhibition centre for film and photography in Bethnal Green, on September 30.

The session will cover how to select the right films for your audience and obtain them, film licensing and legal requirements, as well as marketing and publicity, immersive cinema, sustainability, and the technical aspects of film screenings.

Run in collaboration with Cinema for All, which is funded by the British Film Institute, and Independent Cinema Office, The Hamlets Community Cinema Course is open to anyone living or working in the borough over the age of 18.

Participants will acquire knowledge and skills, which they can then put into practical use by helping to run the borough’s new pop up cinema, with a view to continuing the screenings long after the initial project has concluded.

Course participants will also gain valuable insights about a sector that is often difficult-to-access: armed with hands-on experience and industry contacts, they can pursue similar work in a voluntary or paid capacity in the future.

Four Corners Film on Roman Road, Bethnal Green

The local community will also be able to watch a selection of films from around the world that reflect the borough’s diversity, as there will be monthly screenings until February 2018 in locations including on Roman Road West, Watney Market, Brick Lane and Bethnal Green.

Tramontane (2016) will be the first film to be shown by the pop-up cinema at Oxford House on Friday October 6.

The feature film, set in Lebanon about a young blind man, premiered in the International Critics’ Week section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival where it was awarded the Grand Rail d’Or Audience Award. 

To register your interest to attending the training courses, email with your name and address by September 27, with ‘The Hamlets Community Cinema Training’ in the subject line.

You will be sent a link to an online form, which you should complete and submit.

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