At The Movies: A closer look at Ilkley Cinema
Our plan this year is to document as many independent cinemas as possible, but given that we're kicking off this series at the end of February, we've got some work to do. Kicking things off is Ilkley Cinema - which easily takes the crown for comfort.
Photographer extraordinaire Danny Payne perfectly captured the cinema, from the bar all the way through to the auditorium. Check out the photos below, along with a short Q&A with the cinema's Administration Manager, Ella Statham.
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Could you tell us a bit of history about the cinema?
I know from reading up online that the building itself was built in 1890 as a co-operative, but its most recent and remembered history was as Ilkley's very own nightclub the infamous Il Trovatore, after ' The Trav' closed in the mid-naughties the space lay derelict until our directors put plans in to bring a cinema back to Ilkley.
What would you say sets you apart from other cinemas?
We're an independent cinema trying to provide a business class service and feel, we use Sony 4K projection and Dolby 7.1 sound with the added bonus of a very well-designed auditorium - it's often commented on just how much thought and effort went into the build and products of our cinema as we've really pushed for the customer experience.
Our cinema concessions range from extensively stocked bar to a range of hot and cold foods from local businesses, my personal favourite being our phenomenal brownies baked by Middleton-based company Love Brownies! And most importantly - no adverts!
Our Technical Manager Nick Randles and Director John Tate both work really hard to put together a mixed programme of short films and music videos before the feature begins which is a lovely different take on the typical cinema experience when you purposely show up 15 minutes late to try and avoid the ads!
What does the future of cinema look like to you?
Cinema or Ilkley Cinema? For us, it would be great to see more people from the surrounding areas coming into our cinema. We recently held special Valentines Day screenings and had lots of new people attending and commenting on how much they enjoyed their visit - I hope we are able to cast the net further into Leeds and Bradford.
For cinema as an industry, I think that the desire has definitely shifted towards how you can provide an experience for the patron; with organisations like Secret Cinema, Grimm up North and Sneaky Experience - it has become all about creating an event for the viewer and less about sitting with a box of popcorn in a dark room.
What's been the cinema's proudest moment to date?
With the three years that it took to get from the cinema being an idea between friends John Hewitt and John Tate to materialising into the business we have today, throughout all the stresses of the physical build and putting in the place of all the cinema operations, in our opening week Nick managed to get tears (!) from John Tate by screening his favourite Chet Faker music video ('Gold') - it must have been a sheer moment of overwhelming pride to see something finally on the big screen after all their hard work.
Lastly, what upcoming film should we be excited about seeing?
From 26th February we're screening Paolo Sorrentino's Youth, which looks just incredible! The cast alone should pull viewers in.
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