The Bernie Grant Arts Centre Screening Lounge

We recently spoke to Hakeem Kazeem, the Film Programmer and Cinema Cooridinator at The Bernie Grant Arts Centre Screening Lounge in London. Hakeem tells us of his experiences at our Community Cinema Conference, our Skype workshop and learning points along the way. 

Please tell us a little bit about your organisation:

The Bernie Grant Arts Centre Screening Lounge is a boutique cinema and jazz lounge in the heart of Tottenham, north London.  We screen Films at least 4x a week; every evening from Thursday to Sunday, and occasionally screen films in the afternoons.

Our aim is to engage with the local community and represent the diverse range of cultures in Tottenham and North/Northeast London, with a mix of British and World Cinema.

With a view to be a home for unheard voices we are highly dedicated to showcasing cinema from the LGBT community and films from, or about, the African Diaspora.

How did you find out about Cinema For All?

I was looking for funding, community cinema and/or films to screen, and Cinema For All came up.

What were you hoping to get out of the Skype session on Selecting Films for your Community Cinema?

I was mostly looking for advice, tips and ideas/encouragement.  It was nice to brainstorm and get some feedback.  I was struggling a bit and needed a little validation.

Has anything changed in your programming since the Skype session?

I have had some great ideas, but not yet had time/resources to execute them.  The aim is to be more dedicated to executing ideas, and experimenting with more immersive and imaginative screenings in 2016.

What top tips did you find especially helpful?

Using the BBFC to find films was excellent.  Showing me what is possible regarding screenings different types of screenings, themes and ideas.  Learning different ways to get films. It was mostly nice to talk about running a cinema, the advice opened up my perspective, but it takes a while to change anything, as we are a weekly venue and need at least 3 months to plan.

What did you enjoy most about the Community Cinema Conference?

It was great meeting all the different community cinemas and seeing what they all did.  I didn’t realise how many there were, or how old Cinema For All actually was.  It was nice to bond over the struggles of running a community cinema/cinema club.  I think I absorbed most of my information through just being around people and doing the exercises, but the whole weekend gave me a lot of confidence regarding how I saw my work running the cinema, and where I plan to take it in the future.

How are things going at your organisation since the Skype session and the Community Cinema Conference?

A lot more productive and creative.  I have been collaborating a lot more, which has made things easier, and more productive.  Essentially hearing all the concerns and advice, has put me at ease.  Again, time and resources is the biggest hurdle.