Cinema plans its own feature film

By Sarah ChambersA CINEMA is hoping to build on a highly-successful first year by starting work on its own feature film.The Electric Picture Palace in Southwold, which is run on a charitable basis, has proved a big hit since it was opened last May by Monty Python star Michael Palin.

By Sarah Chambers

A CINEMA is hoping to build on a highly-successful first year by starting work on its own feature film.

The Electric Picture Palace in Southwold, which is run on a charitable basis, has proved a big hit since it was opened last May by Monty Python star Michael Palin.

It has already produced short "newsreel" footage from the town, but is now thinking of branching out into feature film-making later this year and has an idea in outline at the moment.


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Cinema house director John Bennett said it was still in the early stages, but added: "We have got a little idea for a script which we are working on."

Among the two dozen people involved in the running of the cinema, some had knowledge of film-making, he said.

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Since opening last May, the 66-seater cinema has gone from strength to strength. Its membership has leapt from 300 to 1,300, and on average its showings, now on Fridays and Saturdays, are about 92% full.

"It's very popular and not just from the town – people are coming from all over the area. I'm amazed how successful it has been," said Mr Bennett.

"Cinema-goers have come from as far afield as Norwich, Ipswich, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Essex."

The cinema has revived the practice of old-fashioned intermissions, with an organ playing and an usherette serving drinks and ices.

The cinema's success has meant it has been able to pay off a substantial part of a mortgage taken out for conversion work on the building, leaving just £20,000 to pay.

"I'm just intrigued as to how popular it has become with a lot of people," said Mr Bennett.

Among its other projects have been the sale of Lowestoft porcelain mugs with the picture house logo at £10. It is also about to publish a booklet about the cinema.

The Electric Picture Palace's spring season of 23 films opens on Easter weekend with the 1948 hit Easter Parade, starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.

The following weeks bring an eclectic mix of old and new films, from the 1926 classic Buster Keaton comedy The General, to Enigma, starring Kate Winslet, Bond film Die Another Day, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The English Patient, The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn and Three Men in a Boat with Laurence Harvey.

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk

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