Our creative director Phoebe Fitzroy tells you why we are:
It all started in the Regal cinema, Cirencester, in the very early nineties. Somewhere in that smoky, dodgy building with its sticky floor and bingo hall, is where the spark started, that I’ve never been able to shift. I graduated at 23 thinking I didn’t have a clue about my aspirations, like so many others. I have come to realise that my childhood daydreams, of one day owning my very own cinema, maybe weren’t so fantastical after all.
As Forward Cinema, we don’t want to make films. We often write about films, but that’s certainly not our main goal. We want to show people films. We want to watch films and understand they’re worth something incredibly important and find space to share these magic creatures with a wider room of eyes, all staring and sparkling and flinching and crying in the dark. We want to witness that loaded silence, afterwards, when they know they’ve witnessed something special. And then we want them to all go to the pub, together, and discuss in minute detail – and with potent enthusiasm – the excitement, the music, their favourite parts, their favourite people. In short, watching film – not a movie, but film – and then putting the world to rights afterwards is our absolute favourite thing.
We love passing it on. We would love to be able to pass it on without 3D, or overpriced popcorn, or supersized drinks. We want to learn more about management, about marketing, especially digitally, about venues and shaping incredible film nights and events and festivals which do justice to the magic. We want a job which gives us hope that we are edging towards our childhood daydream, because who in this world gets to do that? In the hope that we could one day pass on the pleasure, the spark, to someone else, someone who didn’t have the good fortune to be born round the corner from an independent cinema.
Granted, I seem to remember the Regal once being voted the UK’s third worst cinema – perhaps due to its sticky carpets – but it was my cinema, and it was cheap, and cold, and real, and had history, and I learnt a lot staring at that screen.
I couldn’t save the Regal. It lost its place in the modern landscape of film and got bulldozed when I was about fifteen. I never got to go on a date there, and I will never get to take my kids there and bore them with stories of my celluloid education. But if I could pass on that feeling, see it being created somewhere else, it would be worth it.
Cinema doesn’t have to be shiny. Cinema doesn’t have to only be business. Cinema is true passion, entertainment, and love. It should still be as exciting as your first ever visit, when your legs didn’t touch the floor and you felt like the screen was going to swallow you up in an instant. And that’s why we want to work with film.