Open Cinema


 1 2 > 


April 2015 - First coverage of Open Cinema digital pilot

Press releases cascaded to over 30 news outlets across the north of England this month, about the Open Cinema pilot, inlcuding the Yorkshire Evening Press here. The RSA also covered developments here.

March 2015 - The New Open Cinema build commences

Development of the new Open Cinema platform got underway in Sheffield this month, with venues signing up all over the country for the pilot service launch in April. Amongst these was housing provider Camden Council, with whom Open Cinema is partnering to deliver community cinemas in Tenants and Residents Association halls across the London borough.

February 2015 - Expert Impact supports Open Cinema

OC founder Christoph Warrack started on the Expert Impact programme this month, consulting with David Giampaulo, CEO of Pi Capital at their swish offices in Berkeley Square. Other social entrepreneurs glimpsed in the lobby were GoodGym founder Ivo Gormley and Emerge Education CEO Jan Matern.

January 2015 - new experts join OC Advisory Board

Ken Banks is Founder of and FrontlineSMS, and devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world. He has worked at the intersection of technology, anthropology, conservation and development for the past twenty years and, during that time, has lived and worked across the African continent. He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

Maria Constantinescu is a former IP and entertainment industry lawyer, and established tech entrepreneur. She formerly shared office space with Open Cinema in Shoreditch, while she was founding photo-narrative app SlickFlick. She is now CEO of Curious Quests and leads a team of developers based in London an her native Bucharest.

Richard Bleasdale is a former filmmaker who is now CEO of SAMSC, which develops the lighting design software for major stadium artists such as Radiohead and Marilyn Manson.

December 2014 - Business as usual

Open Cinema was taking care of business this December, with training days delivered by Economic Change / BITC arc, and a two day Impact Investment Readiness programme at the Hub Westminster. Open Cinema CEO Christoph Warrack was offered a place on the Said Business School's Executive MBA programme at the University of Oxford, and the company was accepted onto the Dotforge investment accelerator, commencing in 2015. More news on all this next year.

November 2014 - Three Q&As at national OCs

November was a busy month at Open Cinemas nationally, with 80 in the house for the launch of Season 2 at SYHA Open Cinema Sheffield plus a Q&A with filmmaker Rob Speranza; Actor Jo Hartley making her second visit to OC (with a third scheduled for 2015) to introduce This is England at St Mungos Broadway Open Cinema London. But picture of the month must go to the launch of Brighter Futures Open Cinema Stoke, who hosted a live Q&A from Hollywood with assistant director Chris Sadler, after a screening of his film A Million Ways to Die in the West.

October 2014 - Wake Wood at OC Dublin + Crew Q&A

Director-producer David Keating and Writer-producer Brendan McCarthy were in attendance at Open Cinema Dublin on 20 October to introduce their satirical horror flick Wake Wood to a thrilled regular crowd. The film stars Timothy Spall, Eva Birthistle and Aidan Gillen (pictured).

September 2014 - Cast reunited for Cathy Come Home screening at Crisis Edinburgh

On 30 September, Crisis Skylight Open Cinema presented a screening of Cathy Come Home (1966), Ken Loach's excoriating Play for Today which irrevocably changed the way Britain saw its homelessness problem. The film is credited with changing the laws affecting homeless people, and with inspiring the founding of Crisis and Shelter, the country's leading homelessness advocacy groups. Present via video link for a Q&A following the screening were cast members Ray Brooks (pictured here) and Cleo Sylvestre, and members were then joined for a panel discussion with the chief executives of the Cyrenians, Streetwork and Take One Action.

September 2014 - OC teams up with Scalarama for national screening series

Across the UK and Ireland, screenings of the rediscovered classic Sidewalk Stories have been taking place, both at Open Cinema venues and at Scalarama partner venues raising funds for Open Cinema. Director and star of the film, Charles Lane, appeared from New York via Skype for a Q&A with members at OC Sheffield, and audiences at OC Edinburgh and OC Dublin thrilled to the bitter-sweet, Chaplinesque depiction of US homelessness in the late 1980s.

August 2014 - Commercials for Open Cinema triumph at ADCAN Awards in London

Open Cinema was the first of three social enterprise to be supported through the year-long ADCAN Awards, for which talented filmmakers competed through 30 second films for each of the companies. The awards were presented at Framestore in London, with support from ARRI and The Mill. The winner, by Esrael Alem and Filmawi Efrem, can currently be seen on our Home page.

July 2014 - The Big Dance Bus returns to Covent Garden for Big Dance 2014

OC teamed up again with progressive health charity the Jubilee Hall Trust to film community dance troupes from across the country performing in Covent Garden Piazza. For more information and to get involved next year, head over to the Big Dance website here. To build or refresh an active lifestyle, whatever your age or working timetable, visit one of the Jubilee Hall Trust gyms or their website here.

June 2014 - St Mungo's Broadway London-themed Launch Season concludes at St Bart's

Venice Film Festival winning filmmaker Rowland Jobson presented an early short film on homelessness at the concluding mini-gala to the Launch season at St Mungo's Broadway, for which members returned to the 12th Century Church of St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield, nearby the centre where the rest of the screenings had taken place. The season also welcomed screenings and Q&As from distinguished London filmmakers Veselina Dashinova, Donald Rice, Li-Da Kruger, Harold Chapman, Emma Freud and Richard Curtis.

May 2014 - Open Cinema at ESFN conference in Gothenburg

OC contributed a session on 'networked innovation' at the 2nd European Social Franchising Network Conference in Sweden. We heard amazing stories of change from colleagues like GWD SÜD, who franchise a network of factories across Germany employing people with disabilities; and Dialogue in the Dark, who franchise a theatre and food experience model operated by visually-impaired people which takes place in total darkness. Also speaking was the excellent Dan Berelowitz from the International Centre for Social Franchising. The OC team finished off the trip by going bog-snorkelling in the forests of central Sweden.

May 2014 - Better Participatory Video global webinar series launches

Open Cinema was at the Open University in May with InsightShare and WebGathering to help launch and contribute to the year-long series of global webinars for community video practictioners. Over 100 people took part from 18 countries, and highlights included an comic-book guid to PV from IS's Gareth Benest, a scrolling Chat section with discussion roaming across the issues and countries, and a global scribble-athon. The next webinar comes live from Hyderabad in July: to take part, see the EventBrite Page here.

April 2014 - OC and OU nominated for award at national conference

Open University Cinema, an integrated cultural and learning platform developed in a partnership between Open Cinema and the Open University, was nominated for a 2014 UALL Award, at the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning national conference, at the Senate House in London. Colleagues at the University of Sheffield took the top prize for their excellent Discover Programme - also using cultural activities to inspire learning aspirations - but we were encouraged by this recognition at what is early stage in the model's development.

March 2014 - Open Cinema launches in the City of London with Richard Curtis and Emma Freud Q&A

A few days before the momentous merger of major homelessness charities Broadway and St Mungo's, Open Cinema was proud to help their members launch a new film club in the City of London. This was a remarkable, candle-lit screening of Four Weddings and a Funeral, in the presence of its writers, in the church where the final wedding in the movie was filmed. For more information see the Press page.

February 2014 - Open Cinema launches in Edinburgh

In our fourth city-collaboration with Crisis Skylight, after projects in Newcastle, Birmingham and London, Open Cinema Edinburgh launched our first year-round venue in Scotland launched with a screening of David O. Russell's The Fighter, with 22 homeless people from across central Edinburgh in attendance. The cinema is being housed by Old St Paul's Church, a community which itself launched in a wool shop in Carubber's Close in 1689.

January 2014 - Open Cinema launches in Sheffield

Award-winning housing association SYHA opened OC's latest film club on a crisp, clear January night in South Yorkshire's capital, Sheffield. A strong team of young, media-experienced volunteers from across the city welcomed supported housing tenants to a screening of Monsters University plus a Pixar short. Members, asked why they had come out for the screening, will be increasingly able to to take over aspects of the service as the weeks and seasons go by.

October 2013 - 30th Open Cinema opens in Belfast

Open Cinema's thirtieth film club opened on 1 October 2013 at Redeemer Central in Belfast, supporting homeless and excluded people in the city with backing from DePaul, YMCA and the Simon Community. The film for the launch event was Good Vibrations, about local legend Terri Hooley's life and times and the eponymous record label and shop. Directors Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn were on hand to field questions from the audience after the screening. (With thanks to Northern Ireland Screen for their support).

October 2013 - Black History Month 2013 at Loudoun Square

Open Cinema Cardiff proudly launched Black History Month 2013 on 2 October, with football road movie Africa United. Further programmed screenings include Camarade Presidente, about the founding of Mozambique; Chris Rock doc Good Hair, mightily-voiced Paul Robeson's Proud Valley, and local wartime love story Tiger Bay Brides.

July 2013 - Open University Cinema concludes season at Crisis Skylight, London

The second partnered film season between Open Cinema and the Open University (see SIFA Fireside, below) ran for twelve weeks at Crisis this Spring-Summer, and brought members together with filmmakers and university lecturers. Each screening in the audience-co-programmed season was followed by a short OU video on the subject being explored, and a wide-ranging discussion.

The season concluded with a screening of Marley, attended by Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, and senior representatives from the OU and Crisis. OU Cinema Members are now being offered bursaried Open University courses on areas of interest sparked at the film club.

January 2013 - Special Screening at Crisis Skylight, London

Open Cinema held a special screening of The Eagle (2011, dir. Kevin Macdonald) for Crisis Skylight members on 24 January. About 60 members attended the event and participated in a post screening discussion with Oscar winning costume designer Michael O'Connor, actor Paul Ritter and film composer Atli Orvarsson, who skyped in from Los Angeles.

Veena Torchia, Manager of Accredited Learning at Crisis Skylight London, said: “We are thrilled to be able to host such an exciting evening. It was an amazing opportunity for clients to be inspired by people who are excelling in the world of drama and the creative arts.”

November 2012 - Two talks and the second broadcast of Britain in a Day

At 1220am on Tuesday 13 November, a year after the nationwide day of filming which created the project, BBC Films / Scott Free's Britain in a Day, featuring footage recorded by Open Cinema teams, was broadcast on BBC2.

Later that morning, Open Cinema gave presentations to A-Level film studies students at Craven College in Skipton, and later the same day, to GoodForNothing's Find Better Problems event in Clerkenwell, 220 miles to the south. Britain in a day!

August 2012 - OC Huddersfield: Fresh Horizons

With funding from the Arts Council England Libraries Development initiative, Open Cinema is working with Fresh Horizons to deliver two weekly films clubs (one static and one mobile) in the Huddersfield area. The clubs will both run in libraries, placing them at the heart of arts and culture in rural and urban settings.

The first season is already underway at the Chestnut centre and features a selection of films adapted from books and graphic novels, including 'To Kill a Mockingbird', 'Senses adn Sensibility' and 'Batman Begins'.

OCTOBER newsflash: as a result of the 'watch a movie / take out a book' scheme at the film club, lending has increased at the library sufficiently to raise the Chestnut Centre five places in the league table of Kirklees libraries

August 2012 - OC Cardiff: Loudoun Square Season 2

The second season at Loudoun Sq in Cardiff has now started, participant selected films for Season 2 include 'The Dark Knight', 'Madagascar' and 'Step Up'. LS will also be showing 'Marley', 'Sing Your Song', 'Red Tails' and 'The Story of Lovers Rock' as part of a Black History Month special during October.

July 2012 - OC Birimingham: SIFA Fireside Season 2

The second season has now started at SIFA Fireside in Birmingham. The first season, which was sponsored by the Open University, was well attended and the post-screening talks given by Open University lecturers proved very popular. Guests for Season 2 have so far have included Sunday Times film critic and prolific writer, George Perry and Tony Garnett who produced 'Kes'.

Tony Garnett at SIFA Fireside

July 2012 - New OC Film Club Launches in Ireland

23 July 2012 saw the launch of the first Open Cinema film club in Dublin, Ireland. Working with Stepping Stone, who provide community based housing with support, OC will be running weekly screenings at Exchange Dublin. Inspired by the 2012 Olympics, the first season is comprised of a selection of great sports films, including 'Rocky', 'Chariots of Fire', 'The Hustler' and 'Caddyshack'. The season kicked off last night with ‘Senna’, which was followed by an interview via Skype with director, Asif Kapadia.

June 2012 - OC London: Look Ahead Season 2 Underway

The second action-packed OC season at Look Ahead is well under way and includes great titles such as 'Snatch', 'Fight Club' and 'Inglourious Basterds'. Last season featured a great line-up of films and guest speakers, including Stunt Coordinator Andy Bradford (Star Wars-A New Hope, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Highlander) and DOP Ben Davis (Kick-Ass, Wrath of the Titans, Layer Cake) and Look Ahead resident, Kino, who introduced Raging Bull.

May 2012 - OC Cardiff: Loudoun Square

The newly redeveloped Loudoun Square in Butetown has been hosting weekly screenings in the Culture & Media Centre. Working with the Cardiff Community Housing Association OC has been delivering a weekly club for members in the local community, featuring an eclectic mix of films for both younger and older members. Guests have included storyboard artist Andrew Barnden and Matt Lyons from The British UFO Research Association.

September 2011 - OC short, To Be Frank, to screen at 2011 CPIFF

To Be Frank, an Open Cinema short film directed by Ali Boag, Sybil Adelaja and Mark Cawson at SHP (Single Homeless Project), Camden with Lesley Pinder and Holly Goss is selected to screen at the 2011 Crystal Palace International Film Festival.

To Be Frank will be screened as part of the CPIFF Short Film Night 2, on the 28th September 2011. Entrance is free! Further details can be found here.

August 2011 - OC London Connect launches

Funded by Film London through the Educations 'Hubs' Fund, OC has launched Open Cinema London Connect, a programme of screenings of recent releases and modern classics accompanied by talks by industry experts and personalities from the world of film. An organised visit to a film studio and a post-production house is also part of the programme.

Read more at Film London.

June 2011 - Filmmaker Harry Chapman cycles from Land's End to John O'Groats

OC Filmmaker Harry Chapman rolled out his bicycle to raise funds for Open Cinema’s roll-out of film clubs for homeless people across England and Scotland. Harry's journey brought joy not only to his legs but to participants at five UK homelessness centres who will become leaders of their own community cinemas. Read more here.

June 2011 - OC and Streetwise Opera at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

OC contributed two events to the world's longest continually running festival. In their first joint event, Streetwise Opera's Matt Peacock presented a selection of films from their recently toured Fables, which brought together professional composers and filmmakers with 150 participants who have experienced homelessness; Open Cinema's Christoph Warrack presented three short films made by members of the St Mungo's, Upper Room, and Connection film clubs, with the assistance of accomplished filmmakers, including our Open Road cyclist Harry Chapman - who appeared en route to John O'Groats, clutching his bike seat.

At the second event, OC co-hosted a screening of the new Ewan MacGregor film 'Perfect Sense' for 60 clients and staff of Scottish homelessness charities. They were joined by the film's director David MacKenzie for a Q & A after the film.

May 2011 - New venue opens film season for the elderly

On 5 May, ‎27 elderly film fans packed the hall at St Stephen's in Shepherd's Bush, West London, for a matinee of Strangers on a Train. With a Charlie Chaplin short, this opened the Silver Screenings Season. Pensioner Frank Wright, author of memoir Bermondsey Boy, was there. He is keen to contribute to a filmmaking project later in the year.

March/April 2011 - BAFTA Winning Filmmaker Martina Amati Works with Open Cinema and The Upper Room

We're very pleased to announce that Martina Amati, who won the BAFTA for Best Short Film for her short "I Do Air", has been working on a filmmaking project with clients at The Upper Room. Kindly funded by the Open City Film Festival, along with a slate of other brand new films from OC at The Connection and St Mungos, the finished film will be shown as part of the MyStreet Filmmaking competition in June.

March 2011 - Open Cinema visits Birmingham's Flatpack Festival

Back in March, Open Cinema founder Christoph Warrack visited the Flatpack Festival to talk about our work in the homeless sector. See here.

January 2011 - Hitchcock Specialist Sandra Shevey Visits OC Covent Garden

This January, acclaimed writer and interviewer Sandra Shevey will be visiting our film club in Covent Garden. A specialist in Alfred Hitchcock's work, Sandra also runs The Alfred Hitchcock London Locations Walk - a walking tour around some of the director's famous London locations. We are very pleased to announce her as the first guest in our upcoming spring season.

For more information about Sandra's writings and the Locations Tour, please visit her website.

15 November 2010 - OC collaborate with Short & Sweet

OC have teamed up with London's only weekly short film festival, Short & Sweet. Held at Cafe 1001, Brick Lane, Short & Sweet offers inspirational and challenging evenings showing the best from the short film world. To launch this new collaboration, OC will be giving a short talk on Monday 15th November where we will be continuing our appeal for Crisis for Christmas volunteers.

November 2010 - Crisis at Christmas volunteers needed

We're looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help run our for-one-day-only pop up film clubs throughout December. If you're interested in volunteering please email or come along to our open meeting on Wednesday 17th November at The Red Lion, Hoxton Street, 6pm.

30 December 2010 - Special guest, Alfred Hitchcock expert to appear at Endell Street

We're excited to announce that Alfred Hitchcock specialist and founder of The Alfred Hitchcock London Locations Walk, Sandra Shevey will be appearing at St Mungo's, Endell Street on Thursday 30th December. Sandra will be introducing suspense film, 'North from Northwest' and offering some of her expertise on one of England's most influential film directors.

To find out more about Sandra's fascinating walks around London, which include exclusive clips from both an interview with Hitchcock and his works, visit

November 2010 - OC Community Channel Screenings

Open Cinema have been offered a brilliant opportunity to screen some of our short films on the Community Channel. The four films to be screened are 'Windows' directed by members at an East London hostel, 'Footsteps to Music' by David Anstee, 'Finding Boris' by members from The Upper Room and our World Homeless Day version of music video 'Heroes and Villains'.

Tune in to the Community Channel - Sky 539/Virgin TV 233/Freeview 87 - on Tues 9th November at 10:30, 16:30 or 20:00, Fri 12th November at 10:30, 16:30 or 20:00, Sun 14th November at 18:30 and finally, Fri 26th at 14:00 to catch some brilliant OC made shorts. Congrats to all the filmmakers!

November 6th 2010 - Sheffield Doc/Fest Community Day

OC were thrilled to be asked to take part in the 'Involving Communities: Beyond Broadcast' session at Sheffield Doc/Fest this year. It was great to see so many other community media projects and for us to share ours. We all had a brilliant weekend along with many talented filmmakers, watching some inspirational documentaries.

21 October 2010 - OC film crew featured in Aviva / National Theatre "You are the Big Picture"

OC member-filmmaker Stuart Holmes and supervising filmmakers Kelly Davis and Jasper Delamothe were included in a series of photos of ordinary people from around the world, projected onto the big river-facing wall of the National Theatre in London.

21 October 2010 - OC Endell Street Launch

We are very excited to announce the launch of our sixth London film club at St Mungo's, Endell Street. Many thanks to our special guest, Natascha McElhone, who kindly came along on the night to show her short film, 'Deep and Crisp and Even', take questions from residents and introduce, 'The Truman Show' - a great evening was had by all!

10 October 2010 - World Homeless Day

To celebrate World Homeless Day, OC asked for footage from different worldwide homeless orgainisations to create a special edition of our popular music video 'Heroes and Villains'. We recieved a great response and have included film from places such as, Hawaii, South Africa, New York, California and Kansas. The video can now be watched on the official World Homeless Day website -

5 October 2010 - An Evening with Sir Tom Stoppard

For our October Gala, we were privleged enough to host an exclusive event with leading playwright Sir Tom Stoppard. The evening was held at Cineworld, Haymarket where Sir Tom talked through several of his award winning works and answered questions from acclaimed BBC4 presenter, Francine Stock. Special thanks to Cineworld, Sir Tom and Francine.

5 October 2010 - OC X-Centre Launch

OC is excited to announce the opening of our first film club in Exeter. The commencing season, 'The Things We Do For Love', was aptly kicked off with an exclusive screening of 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World'. We are very grateful to Universal for allowing us to screen the film and also to Hazel, Angela and James for all their hard work organising the launch.

1 October 2010 - OC LA Screening

We held our pilot international screening in LA at Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row. It was a great evening with many families coming along to enjoy a special screening of 'Prince of Persia'. We were also joined by talented free runners, Tempest who gave an exclusive performance. We are very appreciative to both Tempest and Jackie Ling for all her hard work.

September 2010 - OC Screening at Centrepoint

In September, Open Cinema held a special one off event in East London at Centrepoint. We screened action film, 'The Expendables' and were lucky enough to have filmmaker, Tom Geens, come along to talk to the audience. We are currently in the process of setting up our first film club in partnership with Centrepoint. Many thanks to Lionsgate UK for allowing us to screening 'The Expendables'.

June 2010 - Open Cinema Films Selected for Straight 8 London

Two short films produced by Open Cinema filmmaking projects - "London Wakes" by David Anstell at The Connection @ St Martins and "Windows" by five residents of an East London St Mungos hostel - have been selected for the Straight 8 London Premiere. Straight 8 is a worldwide filmmaking competition, inviting filmmakers to make a short on a single roll of Super 8 film in one take and with no editing. The selected films will be shown at two of London's most prestigious cinemas - the Curzon Mayfair and the Renoir, Brunswick Square - with tickets soon available from

We're thrilled for our filmmaking teams to be included in this event - please support them by coming along to see their work!

May 2010 - New Advisory Board Member - Steve Cabrera

Open Cinema is thrilled to announce that Steve Cabrera - a management consultant and social entrepreneur, and chair of the community health foundation the Jubilee Hall Trust - has become the newest member of our advisory board. Welcome, Steve!

April 2010 - ESCAPE THE CITY features OC

Open Cinema is currently a feature organisation of Escape the City... ETC offers crisply-suited city workers the chance to change things for the better by volunteering, donating, or jumping career altogether to a social business...

April 2010 - Shooters make donation to OC

Open Cinema would like to thank Shooting People for generously donating the unclaimed prize money from their 2010 Oscars Competition. They tell us it was the Best Foreign Film - The Secret in Their Eyes, from Argentina - which threw everyone...

November 2009 - OC scoops award for innovation

OC founder Christoph Warrack was awarded the Future 100 Award for social entrepreneurs, in a ceremony at The Hub Kings Cross in November 2009 attended by Peter Holbrook, CEO of the Social Enterprise Coalition...