Today’s Star columnist: David Edwards

David Edwards is a writer who lives in Sheffield and runs the Words Count agency in the city.
David Edwards is a writer who lives in Sheffield and runs the Words Count agency in the city.
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If you like films and live in Sheffield, things are looking up.

There are three mainstream cinemas and the Showroom that offers independent releases.

Light Cinemas will arrive on the Moor in 2016 and Curzon will also be opening a four-screen cinema in the city centre. Those of us craving state-of-the-art projection and sound systems will be well catered for.

However, if you are also interested in a different kind of film viewing experience, there is plenty happening at the low tech end too.

In December 2010, Mel Pearson and Luisa Golob ran a one-off showing of It’s a Wonderful Life in a school hall. The response far exceeded their expectations, people relished the personal, low-key approach. One audience member brought a popcorn machine, another brought fairy lights and the Magic Lantern Film Club was born.

Four years later the club is still going strong, with Mel, now aided by Alison Geldart and Jenny Sutton, promoting at least one screening a month. Recent screenings have included both Creature from the Black Lagoon’ and The Goonies. Each screening takes place at a different venue, highlighting the many and varied aspects of the city.

Mel says: “Part of the ethos of Magic Lantern is to celebrate Sheffield, bringing people to areas and buildings they may not know, we try to look for a link between the film and the venue.”

Perhaps the best example of this was a showing of Jaws in a boatyard on Victoria Quays, redecorated to resemble Amity, and with a large shark fin making its way ominously along the canal at dusk!

Why do people forego the attractions of Imax and Surroundsound to watch films in out-of-the-way premises on portable equipment? “People tell us they like the social experience of coming to the Magic Lantern. It’s very friendly and low-key. You see interesting films and then you have the chance to go to the nearest pub or bar and discuss the film.”

If this sounds like the kind of evening you’d enjoy, the next screening is My Winnipeg on September 20. See