Stirchley Open Cinema

Date: October 2023Category: Screenings

Hello! We’re Stirchley Open Cinema – a not-for-profit community cinema in the Midlands. Our volunteer team had an idea at the beginning of 2023 to launch a new festival in our local area and right now we’re halfway through the screenings.

Stirchley is a suburb to the south of Birmingham well known for its fantastic variety of independent food and drink venues, and a strong community spirit that supports and celebrates this local scene. We’re always looking for new ways to bring people together through film, and what better way to reach a wider audience than throwing delicious food into the mix? The first ever Stirchley Film and Food Festival was born.

We reached out to partner venues to explore delivering pop-up events in their restaurants and had a really positive response. We co-designed a great programme of films that all had a thematic link to the screening – whether that’s Indian street food for Police Society, Hong Kong-style dumplings with family-friendly Kung Fu Panda, or even burgers and White Russians for The Big Lebowski.

“Thank you – a wonderful evening and the food was so imaginatively done”
Audience member from The Menu with Verbena Kitchen on Sat 19 August.

“Really fab idea, definitely will try to attend another event at a different venue "
Audience member from The Big Lebowski with Yardbirds on Sun 20 August.

With a week still to go we’ve sold out 3 (nearly 4!) of the 5 screenings and despite all the inevitable last-minute problems and stresses – this is community cinema after all – we’ve loved every minute of the festival! Reaching out to local media was a massive help to boost our sales and marketing and we highly recommend this approach if you’re planning something similar.

We can’t wait to do it all again next, and want to say thanks for the support we’ve received from Cinema For All in the planning and delivery. If your cinema wants to try something new and different, we say reach out to their fab team for advice and go for it!