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Friday, 24 July 2009

The Debate Rages On


In today's Guardian, Andrew Pulver talks about a Renaissance for arthouse British cinema, and revives a debate that has been doing the rounds in the specialised film sector for some time: do exhibitors like City Screen do enough to support these films? The article also mentions City Screen Head of Programming Clare Binns as a scapegoat for the failure of certain titles.

Speaking as a City Screener myself, you can take my opinions with a grain of salt if you want, but I think that without City Screen there would be no Renaissance at all. As I mentioned in my previous post, lottery money keeps getting spent on making all these visionary, fantastically brave films, but no money is spent on making sure they find an audience. Without public funding, exhibitors have to programme their cinemas according to audiences' demands, not broadsheet critics'.

Most of the films mentioned in the piece all played at City Screen sites, including The Duke of York's. They didn't have long runs because the audience for them is small and the demand can be met with a couple of shows (or in the case of Sleep Furiously a whole week worth of shows). Andrew Pulver can't have it both ways - either there is a 'renaissance' for these films , all playing at Picturehouse cinemas, or City Screen is squashing their creativity by not playing them. Which one is it?

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