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Film club for homeless people hosts free cinema screenings

Film club for homeless people hosts free cinema screenings

The lights dim and the muffled rustle of popcorn and quiet chattering reveberates around the room.

This is quickly diluted when the opening credits roll and the audience is welcomed into the world of film.

A trip to the cinema is a pastime many enjoy but for homeless people, it is luxury often out of reach.

In February this year, charity Crisis collaborated with the Open Cinema project to help host free screenings for homeless people through the Crisis Skylight Edinburgh Film Club.

OPEN CINEMA COMMERCIAL from Esrael&Filmawi on Vimeo.

Now, for the first times, a series of public films are being held in Old Saint Paul's Episcopal Church and The Filmhouse as part of the Scalarama Festival,

The Open Cinema schedule

Monster (Patty Jenkins, 2003)

  • When: Tuesday September 23 at 2pm. A movie quiz will follow the fiim.
  • Where: Old Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffrey Street.

The Fisher King (Terry Gilliam, 1991)

  • When: Friday September 26 at 2pm.
  • Where: Edinburgh Film Guild, The Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road.

Cathy Come Home (Ken Loach, 1966)

  • When: Tuesday September 30 at 7pm. Crisis was founded in 1967 in response to the this film. The screening will be followed by panel discussion on homelessness in Scotland and Edinburgh.
  • Where: Old Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffrey Street.

Using film to channel creativity

Ann Landels, director of Crisis Skylight Edinburgh, says the social aspect the screenings create is what makes this project really important

“At Open Cinema, there is a chance for people to meet, be social and talk about their situation," Ann said.

“When you are homeless, you can spend a lot of time on your own a lot so being with other people. Finding out that you can be good at things is very positive.”

All of the screenings featured in the festival have been organised by the Crisis Skylight Edinburgh's Film Club. The club also meet to analyse, discuss and produce films.

“The film club is about giving people an opportunity to get involved in a project,” Ann added.

“The group has made a couple of films. One is about the history of homelessness in Edinburgh and they have just made another about the Open Cinema venture which looks at how it started and what it means to them.

“They have not only learned to use a camera but also learned how to talk to the camera and to edit.

"In terms of running Open Cinema, they have learned how to set up a projector, lay out the hall, welcome people and do all the publicity attached to it.

“It is very much giving them skills in terms of customer service, working together as a team and building their self-esteem.”

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