The Electric Cinema recently completed the final stage of its refurbishment with the opening of a 78 seat second screen which features a High Definition projector.Â So far film screenings have leant towards the populist with Bladerunner (which I went down to see), The Wizard of Oz and, this coming weekend, The Great Escape.Â Check the Electric Cinema’s programme page for details.
There’s a a new 96 channel recording studio and dubbing theatre in there too, to be used for sound mixing for film and TV.
I’m a fan of the Electric so it’s good to see them able to offer a little more.Â If they can recoup the cost (which was apparently in the region of Â£100,000) without having to chase an overly commercial audience too hard then it’ll be a good asset.Â Fused went and took a look recently and they have a photo and everything.
However, controversy comes in the form of an article in the Birmingham Post this morning.Â Apparently there’s a Â£60,000 HD projector sat gathering dust at the (closed for refurb) Midlands Arts Centre.Â The equipment having been provided by the Digital Screen Network (of which the Mac is a member) which is funded by the National Lottery through the UK Film Council.
There are ‘ongoing discussions’ about what’s to happen with the projector but apparently it’s most likely to go to an arts venue like the Mac elsewhere in the country (and already within the Network).
It seems the Electric wasn’t in a position to join when the Network was first set up so the owner, Tom Lawes, has had to invest/risk a six-figure sum to bring the UK’s oldest working cinema up to spec while watching a valuable public resource lie idle.
Which must be especially galling when you see the list of cinemas the Digital Screen Network are providing projectors to – there are two in Cineworld Birmingham Broad Street, two at Vue Birmingham Star City and one in Cineworld Wolverhampton. In fact nationally the big chains (Cineworld, Odeon and Vue) seem to be doing quite well out of the deal.