We all have powerful memories of visits to the cinema – your first trip, as a child; the first time you saw your favourite film; your first cinema date; maybe even your first silent film. And if Alfred Hitchcock were here to share his memories with us, they would surely involve a few educational afternoons at the EMD cinema in Walthamstow, north-east London, where he watched silent films as a boy. We can’t all claim to have come away from the cinema as inspired as Hitchcock, but we all know what it’s like to stumble out of the foyer with images reeling around our heads, thinking: “I’ve got to see that again.”
Well, the EMD Cinema has fallen sadly out of use and into disrepair, but there is a thriving, celebrity endorsed campaign to get it up and running again. And the Save Our Cinema group wants to collect your cinema memories, not just of the EMD, but of other “characterful” independent picture palaces, all in the name of art. The stories will be collated and turned into an exhibition at the E17 Art Trail in September.
There are two strands to our special storytelling project – as well as written or recorded voxpops of YOUR OPINIONS, we’re looking for PERSONAL ANECDOTES about going to the pictures in a cinema with character. We hope to make sound and video clips of people telling their own stories, along with written pieces, photos, music and drawings. Whatever way you’d like to tell your story about why a distinctive cinema matters to you, we’re interested. If you have special memories of childhood matinees, first dates, first kiss!, wild nights at concerts or just a warm feeling about the place, we want to hear about it. If you missed the chance to visit the EMD before it was closed but you have first-hand stories of a cherished cinema somewhere else, please share them with us.
So if you have a cinematic story to tell, do get involved – you might even help to save Hitchcock’s cinema. If you want inspiration, here’s Ryan Gilbey, film critic of the New Statesman, showing us how it’s done. More details about the history of EMD Cinema can be found here, and details of the Storytelling project can be found on Facebook here. Maybe this is why they call it “awesomestow”.
To get involved, or to send your anecdotes, images, videos or audio clips, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @saveourcinema or send post to Save Walthamstow Cinema, 39-41 High St, London E17 7AD