And then I started to think about it.
While the internet is a truly universal medium, ensuring that regional barriers both local and international are theoretically a thing of the past, there remains an undeniable leaning towards the capital when it comes to filmic activity. It probably wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that 90% of the writers that I know are London-based, with the perception being that to make it in this business one must migrate towards the Big Smoke. As much as I love London (and will be spending the next five weeks there covering the London Film Festival), the idea of living there permanently has never really appealed, and that’s ignoring the fact that my wife’s profession doesn’t really lend itself well to that particular city. And anyway, it might be an idyllic attitude to take, but I quite like doing what I do where I do it.
Most of our real-world activities take place in the North of England. I long gave up on the idea of my humble metropolis as being deemed worthy of anything other than the occasional press screening, instead choosing to adapt the remit of the website to something more manageable, which, as it turned out, proved to be something of a blessing (it’s certainly helped us to stand out from the identikit repackaged feed of many websites, with their content dictated by the schedules of PR-ists). In a similar vein the film screenings that we organise all take place in the North (16 Frames was set up to address my perceived lack of silent film programming outside of London), and while we cover film festivals from around the world looking at the wider picture there is certainly a slant to the North of England (DocFest being my declared favourite film festival, and I don’t actually particularly like documentaries all that much).
Over the last couple of years I’ve witnessed film culture grow in the North. Exciting programming is at the fore. Amazing independent cinemas can be found in most cities. Regional premieres are now commonplace, as are satellite screenings of events such as the grande reveal of the restored The Lodger and last week’s British Premiere of Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, beamed up to Sheffield from the Curzon Mayfair. The Everyman chain is spreading to Leeds next year, and, thanks to the BFI’s new standing as the foremost film organisation for the whole of the country funding is getting here too. Here’s hoping the the de-ghettoisation of cinema continues.
On a similar note, I would like to extend my congratulations to Mike McKenny and the gang over at MiniCine on a well deserved win at this years Film Society of the Year Awards. MiniCine is a community cinema project based in Leeds, and the team took home the award for best programming. McKenny is an occasional contributor to Hope Lies (you may remember his ambitious, multi-week exploration of the Superhero movie last summer), and a great advocate for the promotion of interesting cinema in the North of England.
Adam Batty – Editor-In-Chief
The Strange Fate Of Kim’s Video. The remarkable story of what happened to the stock of a once-legendary American video-store.