Now we've had the first two events, I've just a little reflection to be posted here, and one about the effect of COVID on this. It's because I looked over the plans we had for 2020, and then thinking about what it was instead!
The first year we did this (2019), it was basically an excuse for me to show Do the Right Thing, 30 years after release. I don't think I showed the photo of 16 year old me with Public Enemy, from about the same time. We also showed Mona Lisa, The Purge and The Harder they Come. I must note that there's a 35 year time frame from Cathy Tyson being in Mona Lisa, and now in the brilliant Help.
In 2020, we were all set to show I Believe in You, American Psycho, Shoplifters (student choice), Hot Fuzz, Twelve Angry Men, Le Trou, La Isla Minima, In the Name of the Father and a Rex Bloomstein double with a retrospective and A Second Chance. It would have been brilliant, and then we were told to cancel it all: no-one was allowed in the buildings or in the cinema spaces.
Instead, we switched to an online format, and we're showing documentaries and films made in prison by people in prison. Rex Bloomstein was back last year with the retrospective, Crime and the Camera, and we've also worked with Koestler Arts to show a number of prize-winning pieces. This year, we have Bloomstein's A Second Chance, some Koestler winners, Gun No. 6, and Incels.
I'd love to go back to having the cinema space, and an audience sitting for 90 minutes before we discuss the issues raised. This post-COVID arrangement, though, does mean we can show clips, and host conversations, and people from all over the world can join, not just those in Manchester on a Tuesday evening after work. Hopefully next year we'll be able to do both.