John Hurt to narrate film about Norfolk’s cinema past
PUBLISHED: 07:32 03 April 2015 | UPDATED: 07:32 03 April 2015
IMAGE COURTESY OF NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SERVICE
Norfolk’s love affair with film is charted across our towns and villages.
Once, almost every community had a cinema.
The grand buildings were a hub of social activity in a time when homes weren’t as comfortable as they are today and televisions were rare.
Now, a heritage project based in Norwich is creating a permanent archive of the region’s rich screen past.
A cornerstone of the scheme, Norfolk at the Pictures, is a film narrated by celebrated actor Sir John Hurt telling the story of how cinema-going has developed.
The Final Reel documents what life was like when the cinema was at the heart of everyday life.
Former managers, ushers and cinema staff prove to be colourful characters and share their memories and secrets to keep audiences returning.
Film director Jonathan Blagrove, 37, said: “It’s been fantastic to hear people’s stories from across Norfolk during the making of this film.
“It’s a film for anyone who loves cinema and wants to know more about the people who helped it develop and continue to help it thrive today.
“It also celebrates local cinema and the importance in our communities.”
Mr Blagrove, of Eaton, said although the documentary is filmed in Norfolk, its themes are applicable to the rest of the UK.
He explained: “Cinema-going in Norfolk is just the same as it was in Manchester or London.
“A lot of cinemas have disappeared over the years, but one of the things we have come across is that it is a rapidly changing landscape.
“I do think people will always want to come together to have a shared cultural experience, whether that’s still going to see traditional films or other offerings like the opera and theatre which are shown on screen.
“Cinemas are definitely having a resurgence at the moment, a lot of people are still going to them and a lot of people have fond memories of trips to see the latest film.”
The crew started shooting The Final Reel last year and hope to get it ready for cinemas by the autumn – but need a funding boost to get it shown in cinemas.
Film producer Marc Atkinson, 37, said: “The film is about people and about community. But to get the film to the big screen – we need the public’s help.
“There was a time when people were likely to go to the cinema twice a week.
“But today many of the traditional cinemas have been torn down and the traditional skills of cinema staff such as projectionists are no longer required.
“Our film asks the question: ‘Is this the final reel in the story of cinema? Or just another chapter in its continuing development’?”
To help get The Final Reel on to the big screen and receive a prize in return, visit: www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-final-reel--2
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