This week I’m joined by the Head of Cinema at the DCA, Alice Black. She gives us a behind the scenes peek of how an independent cinema operates and the difficulties of catering to such a wide and varied audience.
Cinema has always been the biggest focus and passion in Alice’s life. From an early age, the cinema was an adventure, being a 2hour drive each way. After a bit of a mix up with the tickets, Alice’s Mum ended up taking her to see Roman Polanski’s Tess, which had a profound impact on her life even if she might’ve been a little young at the time.
Alice is a firm believer that “Film is a great leveller”.
After a degree in Canada, an MA in Glasgow and an MA in New York Alice Worked for the MoMA and the French embassy in NY before moving to Dublin. Having such a range of roles servicing different needs and audiences put her in a great position to curate her own screening schedule for a venue, something she’d not done before the DCA.
We chat about the difficulties involved in programming a cultural venue for a wide and varied audience. With only 2 screens with roughly 4 showings per day, it’s a big ask and often ends up like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
Alice also gives us an insight into the decision-making process of how to decide on what makes the cut. There are a lot of restrictions and restraints that come with showing blockbusters that I had no idea of and I suppose not many people do as we just expect that what we want will be on when we want it.
“I want the films to have the best possible chance to find their audience and I want the audience to have the best possible experience.”
Alice watches 95% percent of the films that go on at the cinema and she says herself that her expertise is having a sort of encyclopaedic knowledge of films, even if it does make her a harsh critic. Cannes, Berlin and Toronto are the big film festivals she visits every year watching a colossal 5 or 6 films a day! Obviously now, that isn’t going to be possible and the future of cinema is somewhat uncertain. I feel that we will always crave the experience of cinema and maybe with our time away from it, we’ll want it more than ever.
(Cover photo by Erika Stevenson – http://www.erikascamera.co.uk/)
DCA – https://www.dca.org.uk/