Thursday 21st April
Come down and join us as the Rotherham Mayor cuts the red tape at 6:30pm and our box office opens for business. We will be screening archive footage as showcasing local shops in our specially commissioned trailers. Our main features will be ‘Hearts of Steel’ documenting memories of the Rotherham steel industry, ‘But They Like Cricket, Don’t They?’ challenging racism in football and ‘Georgia’s Angel’ a teenagers struggle with choice and destiny.
Friday 22nd April
Join us at 6:30pm when will will be joined by Small Cinema founders Sam Meech and John Oshea. They will be joined in conversation by Old Market Gallery curator Peter Martin discussing the project and the value of local cinemas. After an intermission we have two UK premiers of short documentaries ‘The Bowler’ and ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’. This will be followed by our main feature ‘Breaking Rocks’ which tells the story of Jail Guitar Doors, Billy Bragg’s independent initiative which aims to provide instruments for prison inmates to use music as a means of rehabilitation.
Saturday 23rd April
Come down early for the Kids-screen between 10-12am as we have a jam packed morning of classic cartoons and animation, after which Unravel, a 16mm workshop, will take over the length of the gallery from 2-5pm. This will be followed at 6pm by the first ever Market-Screen a showreel of artists films curated by the Old Market Gallery featuring works by Bob Levene, Jerome Harrington, Jasmine Johnson, Rebecca Ounstead, Faye Green and one more to be confirmed. Our evening feature, starting at 8pm, will be ’Dole Not Cole’ which tells the story of the 1984-85 Miner’s Strike from the perspective of the striking miners.
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In March we also approached local filmmaker Sam Ratcliffe-Pinder to make a short feature about local shops in Rotherham. Our intention was to show these as adverts before our film screenings to connect with the local community and support local trade. Sam recruited Sarah Glassner to conduct the interviews and they started filming at the local Bridal Shop opposite the gallery. Sarah asked them to talk briefly about their business, what they like about Rotherham and what shop we should go and visit next. This began an unexpected passage through Rotherham with each business determining the next chapter in the film. This project will be screened in parts before our main features throughout the event.
Cinema is a shared experience – you never go to the cinema as an individual. There is the common expectation of the film you watch, the hushed silence and nervous giggles as the theatre grows dark; a glance back to see the projection booth aglow with stories to display; the rustle of sweet packets and then the booming fanfare of 20th Century Fox, or the roar of the MGM lion, or the more sedate lady with the lamp that tells you this is a Columbia Pictures presentation. Whatever it is you go to watch – Disney’s cartoons, CGI from Pixar, the latest action flick from James Cameron, science fiction from Spielberg or old classics about love that never was or stories of peace and war – it all imparts the same little bit of magic that sets the pulse racing, the imagination flowing, the heart beating a little more quickly.
The cinema experience began for me when I was just four years old, at the old Scala picture house on Corporation Street. The film was Star Wars and I had pestered my father to take me all throughout the summer of 1977 until the picture’s release in the UK around Christmas time. The experience has shaped me since – in terms of the kinds of films I then grew up watching; in terms of the desire to be in the same seat as George Lucas, directing great and inspiring stories; and in terms of appreciating just what the cinema experience is.
As a film-maker I find myself with the stories to tell and cinema with its big projection and polished sound is the best platform. Since 2008 through Eye Films I have been building a team of accomplished and experienced film-makers to share those stories with the wider world, and to develop a real team of dedicated professionals operating out of Rotherham and South Yorkshire. We have some great projects ahead and are delighted our latest short film, Georgia’s Angel, is to be shown in Rotherham, where a significant part of it was filmed.
Retelling a classic story in a modern context, Georgia’s Angel is a film about choice and destiny. A vulnerable and troubled young teen, played brilliantly by Sophie Platts, leaves home and meets a grandfatherly old man on a railway station before realising that choices have consequences and making the right one in life isn’t always easy.
Old Market Gallery is pleased to present Unravel, a touring workshop which gives cinema-goers the chance to try out film-making for themselves. People of all ages can come along to the sessions, where they will be able to literally make their mark on a 16 hour hand-painted film, gaining hands-on experience in a fun and informal setting.
The project aims to create the longest film in Britain, equivalent in length to the 874 miles between John O’Groats and Land’s End. Each metre between these two points will be represented by one 16mm frame. Participants can put their own stamp on the film by drawing, scratching and transferring texts and images directly onto the celluloid.
The end product will make up a tapestry of different experiences, perspectives and techniques from communities across the UK, and will be screened after the session so that everybody involved has the chance to view their day’s work.
The workshop is free of charge and all are welcome, from children trying out film-making for the first time to consummate professionals. This promises to be a day not to be missed. It will take place on 23 April between 2pm and 5pm.
more info –> http://unravelfilm.blogspot.com/
To get better acquainted with the history of Rotherham’s cinemas, I decided a trip to the library was in order. And after a spot of research I can confirm that the last film The Scala ever screened was Porky’s II. What a way to go.
Rotherham Library is a lot more cosy than its forbidding exterior would suggest, despite the echoes of some truly odd iPod selections (‘Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah, Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang’) bouncing from wall to wall. If you wend your way upstairs you will find the Archives and Local Studies room, a haven of nostalgia filled with clippings and reels and photographs of long-forgotten palatial buildings – as well as staff who are more than willing to help.
After sulking for a few minutes over the stern Pencils Only rule, I pounced on the micro-film readers, which were more fun than my crummy refill pad anyway. Half an hour scouring the decades showed me how unlucky this town’s cinemas have often been, with a succession of doomed picturehouses crumbling into car parks, bingo halls and dust. Half the newspaper articles I read were pure speculation into which buyer might rescue a wilting business, or whether development plans for idealistic projects would ever come off.
So there I sat, trawling through reels and reels of Rotherham’s past, enjoying the yellowed pages which didn’t leave my hands feeling like chalk, and the sonorous analogue clacking as I skimmed from page to page.
Still, I’ve barely scraped the surface. Time to hit the books again tomorrow.
But for now, here’s a couple of snippets:
What Small Cinema would be complete without some hand drawn signage? In keeping with our traditional approach we commissioned local artist Sarah Abbott to come down and apply her typographical talents and paint our promotional material on our feature windows looking out onto the high street.
Here are a few pictures from today showing the process from the sketchpad to the windows. However to see the finished piece you will have to come down to the gallery.
More of Sarah’s work can be seen here –> http://sarah-abbott.co.uk/
We are pleased to announce that the grand opening of A Small Cinema Rotherham will take place on 21st April at the Old Market Gallery. The Mayor of Rotherham will be in attendance to cut the red tape at 6:30.