It’s very common to hear people mourning the death of cinema, and attributing that brutal murder to the villains at Netflix and LoveFilm. And maybe they’re onto something: when you go to your nearest multiplex on a weekend and it’s only ever 5% full and there are no staff to clean up between screenings, it does start to smell a bit like rotting flesh. But is that a problem with the cinema as an idea, or with multiplexes and their unsustainable business models? Maybe cinema isn’t dead after all – maybe multiplexes are, and their corpses will fertilise the ground for future independent cinemas, thus elevating the viewing experience and the industry?
It sounds like crazy optimism, but it’s a dream that we can actively realise. FOR INSTANCE. The Close-Up Film Centre in Brick Lane is currently trying to complete their refurbishments and open a repertory cinema. It’s a project that’s already taken over a year, and they’ve clipped a few hurdles getting even this far. Planning permissions and local council problems darkened the outlook for a while, and a recent funding campaign fell through. But the goal is in sight now, and all Close-Up needs is a last £40,000 push. A lot of money perhaps, but the value of having a cinema attached to Close-Up’s film library and archive is immeasurable. While everyone else is going digital, Close-Up are presenting the possibility of a local, independent cinema that embraces the whole history of movies, from 16mm and 35mm film to digital video.
Close-Up are offering lots of great rewards and incentives for donating, including free tickets, DVDs, and even the opportunity to be a projectionist for a night. You can donate to this awesome project here, and make sure to share it on Twitter or Facebook, and with friends that you know are interested in movies. We don’t need to live in a world without cinema, and this is a great opportunity for us to create that better future.