Focus: POP Flix Community Cinema | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
I’m Tony Scott, I live in Sunderland having moved back to the North East almost 3 years ago.

What is it you do?
I’m part of the team that set up POP Flix Community Cinema at POP Recs CIC in Sunderland.

How long have you been doing it?
We’ve only just started. I had the idea last year after the Empire Cinema in the city centre closed. Not having a cinema in the city centre was a real loss to the city. I approached Dan Shannon & Michael McKnight, who run POP Recs, and they were like “Go for it!”. We put on a couple of festive films in December last year and sold them both out and the response was fantastic. It was time to get serious and set something up properly so POP Flix Community Cinema was born.

What inspires you?
There’s a real DIY ethos in Sunderland. I think being a smaller city there’s a real drive among the creatives in the city to make something special. I lived in Wakefield for a while and there’s a similar attitude there. I think perhaps there’s a chip on the shoulder against all the naysayers, of which there are plenty, that Sunderland is a great city and has plenty to offer. You see it all over the city in the venues, arts, and independent retailers that have popped up. POP Recs embodies that. It wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the sheer tenacity of the late Dave Harper. It’s a fantastic space and a real honour to be able to put on films there.

Tell us about your work.
There’s a small group of us running it … Luke Garnham, Justine Merton-Scott, Fred Hyde, Ian Black and myself. We set ourselves up as a not-for-profit, volunteer-run, community group. Our main aim is to show films and support the local arts scene. We’re trying to do things differently and mix it up a bit. So as well as the screening we might have a local band or solo artist do a set before the film, or maybe even a DJ set. We’re mainly looking to screen classic and cult films but we’re open to anything really from family films to noir horror. We’ve got all sorts of ideas once we get things off the ground. POP Recs is a great venue and it creates a really informal welcoming space to show films that’s not like any traditional velvet seated cinema. The bar is open in the venue and the cafe next door will serve you a latte and a cake. There’s a real sense of community screening films there.

What have you got coming up in the future?
Coming up we have an alt-valentines night screening of High Fidelity with support from local singer/songwriter This Little Bird. That takes place at 7pm on Wednesday 14th February.

On Sunday 25th February, we’re screening the Sunderland City Centre premiere of Barbie. Yes, we’re claiming that! Haha, so expect a bit of sparkle!

And on Sunday 10th March, we have a Mother’s Day screening of Thelma & Louise.

We’re planning films a month or two ahead at the moment so there will be more announcements soon.

Where can people find out more about you?
Links to all our events can be found at popflix.co.uk

We’re on Facebook and Instagram at @popflixcommunitycinema

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