Why you should support your local independent cinema
In a time of great change in film, independent cinemas are the lifeblood of the industry. Here's why you should support them through the ups and downs
It’s an important era for cinema. The movies are back in a big way and the combined success of Barbie and Oppenheimer has demonstrated that audiences are ready to fully embrace imaginative and original creative endeavours.
Times are changing as major movie studios refocus and look to discover the next big genre while creators fight to be fairly compensated for their work. For a time, superhero movies kept cinemas alive, especially after the global situation, but the industry is moving towards an exciting new era which will hopefully be led by the original vision of talented and fairly treated moviemakers.
But amongst all the hype and hope for change, the grassroots of the industry must still be supported. Indie cinemas are the lifeblood of the community and it’s important that through the ups and downs of the next few years, they are still supported.
The big chains lack charm
Big chains often boast big screens and opportunities to view movies in iMAX. But those experiences are usually accompanied by big prices, and a lack of genuine charm. Most of the major cinemas look roughly the same, designed to make the most of the room available and pack in as many people as possible. They are neutral in their aesthetic and lack creative flare.
"Most of the major cinemas look roughly the same, designed to pack in as many people as possible"
Principally they have to be chameleons, providing space for the major studios to promote their films however they wish, from cut-outs to photo opportunities and moving posters. While these are generalities, there’s no denying that independent cinemas find ways for their flavour to endure.
Independent cinemas have character
Every independent cinema is different, with the owners often taking their own approaches to the interior styling. Some are based on classic theatre designs, complete with retro film posters and nostalgic seating. Others are celebrations of modern moviemaking, with memorabilia packed into every corner.
The beauty of an independent cinema is that the history of the building they are housed in can also be taken advantage of. Across the country there are beautifully old structures that have been repurposed for films, with all of that natural charm blending into the building’s new role. It’s vital that these impressive structures and their innovative interiors are protected. Many represent a rich tapestry of Britain’s film industry.
Independent cinemas provide unique screening experiences
Independent cinemas also provide unique screening experiences that the main chains simply can’t provide. Themed nights and film marathons are just scratching the surface of the potential. There are indie cinemas that provide tailored cocktails alongside a ticket, and venues that support alternative viewing styles like outdoor screenings. Plus, the schedules can vary between modern releases and cult classics. There are major hits that audiences may have previously never had a chance to see on the screen, that are being repeatedly played across the country.
"Independent cinemas provide unique screening experiences that the main chains simply can’t provide"
These indie cinemas aren’t just giving their guests memorable movie going experiences, but they are also contributing to the country’s film education by putting together slates that are perfectly paired and gorgeously curated. With the rise in film festivals and other independent schemes, these indie venues are quickly becoming the place to watch upcoming talent spread their creative wings. That kind of bespoke business deserves to be supported and it’s important that movie lovers take a look at the upcoming events in their local theatres. There may be some surprising plans in store.
Cinemas are important for the community
Crucially independent cinemas are also a massive part of the local community. They are venues that can host tailored events for all ages, providing experiences that guests can take with them forever. They are great for local business, with many indie cinemas playing adverts for regional companies, thus helping with trade. It’s also a place for people to connect and socialise, with indie cinemas providing a social hub and some boasting facilities such as bars and restaurants that encourage moviegoers to stay.
Plus, local filmmakers will often get the chance to show off the work in these smaller venues, bringing eyes to new, regional artists. All of these elements are good for the local economy and good for local people. For many small towns, if a cinema was to be lost, there would be a genuine gap in the community. These spaces are not appreciated enough until they are gone and must continue to be protected.
How you can support your local independent cinema
There are many reasons as to why independent cinemas should be protected, from their historical significance and gorgeous designs to their unique schedules, creative experiences and role within the community. But how people can support these venues is even simpler—just keep buying tickets.
"Independent cinemas will hopefully be here to stay, but they can only maintain their quality if we actually value them"
There’s a lot of big brands out there that may seem like the simplest option to go with, but the experience will undoubtedly be more enjoyable at these stunning locales. Businesses can also offer up their support, by sponsoring or advertising with the cinemas. Plus, word of mouth is critical, as many hidden gems remain that way; secrets that seem to be protected by a small group of people when they should be shared with the wider community.
Independent cinemas will hopefully be here to stay, but they can only maintain their quality if we actually value them.
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