Cinema: This artform should be open to all

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The cinemas are buzzing, stars are tap dancing and everyone is talking about film.

The awards season is in full swing and people are once again discussing the role of cinemas, particularly those of an independent persuasion.

I believe that cinemas are not simply venues with screens

I believe that cinemas are not simply venues with screens but that the art-form of film and the experience of watching it are forever wonderfully intertwined. It is therefore vital that everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the experience; to share it with their friends, family and strangers, and that film continues to have the power to affect us all.

This week for example, the parent and baby Kino Bambino screening of La La Land at The Showroom was full to bursting with over 100 babies and their escorts enjoying what is for most their first time at the cinema.

For many of the parents this provides a social occasion and a chance for some time out together to see the latest films. While the babies are far too young to appreciate the magic on screen, the experience can be quite unusual and for some even a bit scary. In this screening, it is fine if the baby cries, needs to be fed or needs to move around.

After all, everyone knows that when a baby’s gotta eat, it’s gotta eat! La La Land seems to be popular across all generations and hopefully these very young cinemagoers will grow up to be musical enthusiasts.

Launching this week at The Showroom is a monthly screening initiative, made especially accessible for people with dementia.

These dementia-friendly midday screenings are produced in partnership with The Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘54-60’ project. On the last Monday of every month we are delighted to be able to offer a great new film, selected from our main programme. The film will be screened in an environment designed to suit the needs of people living with dementia.

The first film on offer is the critically acclaimed adaptation Lion, one of January’s most talked about films.

While new film might not be the obvious programme choice for people with dementia, it is (along the same lines as Kino Bambino) designed to provide an opportunity for everyday life to happen without some of the common access barriers.

These initiatives are just two examples of the commitment that exists across independent cinemas throughout the country to make the art form open to all.