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A Magazine for Sheffield

Local Film Groups

Paid a small fortune at your local World of Cine? Come out staring into your super-sized bucket of popcorn after having your brain burnt out by an hour of advertising? Maybe you fell asleep on the sofa in the middle of a film you’ve seen a zillion times, but it’s all that was on. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Magic Lantern Film Club believes film exhibition need not be bound by the walls of a cinema and that watching a film with like-minded souls makes for a more satisfying experience. With a projector, screen and some sound equipment, anywhere can be a cinema - an old scissor factory, the backroom of a pub, a yard outside a bike workshop, a community hall, a canal towpath, an empty shop.

We are three women who put on films for fun. We got together through happenstance, a shared love of film and a DIY attitude. With no financial backing but a lot of good will, we set out into the city and started showing films. There have been ups and downs along the way and we’re still learning, but in the three years since we got together we’ve made some great memories.

We’ve managed to screen a diverse range of movies, from Jaws to Les Diaboliques, Paris, Texas to Dracula on 16mm. We’re excited to be screening The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for a glammed-up ‘Cannes Not’ night in May and Modern Times at Kelham Island Museum as part of the University’s Chaplin festival. In the summer, we’re hoping to partner up with local musicians Animat, organise another secret outdoor screening and put on a film for children with fellow pop-up group Handmade Cinema.

We couldn’t do it without collaboration. We’ve had help from the film world - notably the brilliant British Federation of Film Societies, Ed Cartledge of Sort Of… Films and South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network - and also many others, including ReCycle Bikes, CADS, Haggler’s Corner, Sheffield FridayNightRide, Heeley Development Trust, the Co-operative Community Fund, Sheffield Town Trust, Sheffield Hallam University, Bloc Studios, too many pubs and cafes to list and many, many more. You know who you are.

Find us on social media to stay up to speed with all our plans. Say goodbye to that empty feeling you get leaving the multiplex. Start sharing film with people who care.

Jenny Sutton, Alison Geldart & Melanie Pearson

Films at Cafe #9

In the heart of Nether Edge experimental film is seeing the light of day - well, the light of Monday evenings - projected onto a screen at Cafe #9, accompanied by the aroma of coffee and cinnamon rolls. Opportunities to enjoy an eclectic variety of short films in a relaxed atmosphere, these evenings include breaks to chat and reflect on the images being experienced. In the spirit of the avant-garde, many of the films shown are experimental. Some are made locally, others are from overseas. They mix the peculiar with the beautiful, narrative with non-narrative, the aesthetically pleasing with the visually and conceptually shocking.

From early films including Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (Lumière, 1895), Maya Deren’s haunting Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) and Chris Marker’s inspirational time-travel tale La Jetée (1961) to shorts by Stan Brakhage, Hollis Frampton and others, we’ve already screened a wide range of early and more recent shorts. Contemporary films have included Dan Hopkins’ beautiful and mesmerising Fields That Speak (2006) and Halocline (2012), Jess Watson’s offbeat Geoffrey’s Truths: Sheep (2010) and the stunning Break in the Clouds (2013) by local filmmaker Gemma Thorpe and landscape archaeologist Toby Pillatt. Gemma and Toby came along to lead a lively discussion about the film - exactly what these evenings aim for.

May will be an exciting month. On 12 May, Matt Howden (Sieben) and João Paulo Simões, frequent collaborators on films and music videos, will screen some of their work. Matt will perform live to a backdrop of experimental films. If you’ve not experienced them before, this will provide a fantastic introduction to Simões’ films and Howden’s music. If you’re familiar with their work, you’ll know this will be an amazing night of film and sound.

On 26 May, climbing legend Johnny Dawes will introduce the rock climbing classic, Stone Monkey (Alun Hughes, 1986). This will be a wonderful opportunity to see an incredible film and ask questions of its immensely talented and cheerfully voluble star.

The regular short film nights are free events, but we’re currently raising funds to get a projector so the cafe can show more films. Tickets for the two May events are available from Café #9.

With plans to integrate poetry, live music and DJing into future screenings, we encourage you to come along to #9 and experience film culture way outside the mainstream.

Samantha Holland


Film Unit is a professional, independent cinema that screens a full schedule of new releases, including blockbusters, world cinema, award-winners, documentaries and the odd classic. Projected in our modern auditorium at the University of Sheffield’s Students' Union, the thing that really makes Film Unit stand out is the price. £2.50 is likely the cheapest cinema ticket you’ll find in South Yorkshire.

In the last year, the cinema purchased a state of the art digital projector to add to their 35mm projector. This allows real diversity. Classics and films shot for their unique look can be screened to their full visual potential, whilst projections of more modern pictures can provide the cinematic experience they were designed for. The students behind Film Unit constantly look for opportunities to evolve the cinema and bring something new and exciting to their viewers. In the past we’ve scheduled ‘Films to See Before You Die’ every other Friday. We are now working with Five and Dime Picture Show who screen cult classics, turning the screening into an interactive event.

We work with various societies and organisations on special screenings. In the past this has involved guest speakers and Q&A sessions, including a screening of This is England by Warp Films, with Mark Herbert and special guests in attendance. This incredible event raised funds for the British Federation of Film Societies and was very popular with students and non-students alike. We were also involved in Tour de Cinema. As part of the Yorkshire Festival, we screened two short films in anticipation of Sheffield’s role in the Tour de France. The first film offered a rare opportunity to see Alan Bennett's first television play A Day Out on the big screen. The second was Ridley Scott's 1962 directorial debut Boy and Bicycle.

We continue to work in collaboration with Sheffield Doc/Fest, a partnership that brings many exciting projects to the table.

Film Unit is open to the public. Tickets can be bought from the box office or online from in advance. We welcome children to showings with age-appropriate certificates and charge a reduced price of £1.50 for under 12s. New viewers are always welcome too.

Five and Dime

The Five and Dime Picture Show is a cult film event night set up by Ryan Finnigan and Matt Risby in 2013 and since launching in October has featured regular screenings at Film Unit and a collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University's SHUFest.

The idea behind the night is to show a wide range of cult films and surround them with a tie-in event, while keeping ticket prices as low as possible - or even better, free. Past screenings have included Belleville Rendez-Vous with a live score by Animat, an interactive screening of The Room, sing-along Bugsy Malone, a marathon screening of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and a huge event of Scott Pilgrim vs The World with a big-screen gaming afterparty, live art, stalls and an art exhibition at The Wick at Both Ends curated by Mute.

Aside from trying to bring event cinema to Sheffield on a budget, the nights are driven by a love of cinema and as such screenings are presented with the experience in mind. Five and Dime have also worked to show films at their best, regardless of cost, including screening cult classic Repo Man and Patrick Swayze fight-fest Road House on original 35mm prints, while also presenting a free screening of Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express for its 20th anniversary.

They are films that greatly benefit from being watched in a communal arena. It adds so much to the experience. They’re not always particularly obscure films but they all really benefit from being seen as part of a crowd.

The next two screenings planned are Ed Wood's so-bad-it's-good classic Plan 9 From Outer Space on 9 May, presented with a selection of clips from other laugh-out-loud awful films. The last film of the current semester will be Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused on 23 May, a special end-of-term celebration with an afterparty.

All films screened at Film Unit are priced at just £3.50 and are open to everyone. For the future, The Five and Dime Picture Show hope to collaborate with new venues and put on a range of different size events. We are intent on taking smaller cult films underground while growing bigger events and are currently planning the next set of screenings for 2014.


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