Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign: July film schedule

By - Monday 1st July, 2013

Philip Howard unveils this month’s schedule for the Save the David Lean Cinema campaign

Sadly, these doors have remained closed since 21 April 2011.

The Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign has been very active recently. Our primary aim is to reopen the cinema in the Croydon Clocktower complex, and there are promising indications that we may be able to announce some progress soon. Our secondary aim is to keep the flag flying for engaging and artistically rewarding cinema in Croydon until the reopening occurs. When this article goes online, we will have presented a pair of one-off screenings, and will be preparing for a five-film season at the Spread Eagle in Katherine Street and a further festival screening. In the spirit of my previous articles for the Croydon Citizen, here’s a short explanation of how these films were selected.

Our two June screenings both showcased 16mm prints. While our Clocktower screenings are, by necessity, digital, our chairman Adrian Winchester is a passionate advocate of ‘film on film’. The first of the screenings was at Shirley Community Centre, where audience preferences and problems with the hall’s acoustics at previous screenings had led us to conclude that a subtitled foreign language film was preferable. Adrian and I compiled a shortlist of summer-themed French features distributed by Artifical Eye, as we discovered the BFI (the only remaining UK source of 16mm hire prints) still has Artificial Eye’s former 16mm library. The campaign committee wisely voted for Bertrand Tavernier’s A Month In The Country, which was enjoyed by an audience of 105, our single-screening record. This was followed by our Purley Festival screening, where another good attendance enjoyed a rare print of the 1968 music documentary Monterey Pop, which Adrian obtained from the USA many years ago, and a programme of contemporary music shorts, adverts, and trailers.

We were delighted when distributor Studiocanal kindly offered us the opportunity to screen To The Wonder

We will also be presenting a film at the Harris Academy as part of the South Norwood Arts Festival, and several films were in contention here. The music of Neil Young, in the documentary Journey, would thrive more outside the cosy confines of the Spread Eagle, as would the sweeping cinematography of Terrence Malick’s drama To The Wonder. Josh Radnor’s romantic comedy Liberal Arts could also have been a good match for the festival. With good artistic arguments for each option, financial considerations came into play and we started to consider the licence fee associated with each movie. These considerations are unavoidable for an organisation such as the SDLCC which is funded only by supporters’ donations – so we were delighted when distributor Studiocanal kindly offered us the opportunity to screen To The Wonder.

For our five screenings at the Spread Eagle, the venue’s Filmbank licence presented us with a shortlist of six films. These satisfied our usual practical criteria, having not been shown at the Fairfield Halls and being scheduled for DVD release at least three weeks before our proposed screening date. (DVD release dates can shift at short notice, as we found to our discomfort twice in 2012.) While there were no foreign-language films, our May programme and the Shirley screening meant that we had presented three French features recently, and so we agreed that an entirely English-language season was alright this time.

With Tour de France rest days on the 8th and 15th, Premium Rush will be shown on the 8th

Three of these six films were character-driven dramas with respected casts – the kind of film which forms the backbone of most David Lean cinemas. One – The Sessions – had been held over from May, while Hitchcock and the British independent feature Broken were newly available. The other three presented more of a programming challenge! As a rather inactive member of the Addiscombe Cycling Club, I had kept an eye on the bike-based action thriller Premium Rush since its cinematic release last autumn, and it had recently been released on DVD after a long delay. The campaign’s March screenings of musical comedy-drama The Sapphires had been a huge hit with audiences, and I was very amused by the new American college musical Pitch Perfect. The last of these three options was the one to miss out: A Liar’s Autobiography, the partially animated documentary on Monty Python’s Graham Chapman was felt by campaign colleagues to be too ‘niche’ in its subject matter, and the movie itself provoked mixed reactions. As for the ordering of the programme, we chose to show Pitch Perfect on Monday 29th July, to maximise the opportunity for younger supporters to see the afternoon screening. With Tour de France rest days on the 8th and 15th, and as we don’t like to start the season with consecutive dramas, Premium Rush will be shown on the 8th. This left us following our standard strategy by starting with probably the least challenging drama, Hitchcock, and the order of the remaining two dramas didn’t matter too much.

The full schedule at the Spread Eagle, Katherine Street, is as follows (all films at 2:30 and 8:00pm):

Monday 1st July: Hitchcock (12A) 2012 USA 88 mins

Monday 8th July: Premium Rush (15) 2012 USA 91 mins

Monday 15th July: The Sessions (15) 2012 USA 95 mins

Monday 22th July: Broken (15) 2012 UK 91 mins

Monday 29th July: Pitch Perfect (12A) 2012 USA 112 mins

On Wednesday 10th July, To The Wonder [(12A) 2012 USA 112 mins] will be screened at the Harris Academy, Cumberlow Avenue SE25 6AE at 7:30pm, with refreshments available from 7pm.

To receive regular updates from the campaign, please ask to be added to our membership list. Email:

Philip Howard

Philip Howard

I'm a lifelong Croydon citizen, growing up in Park Hill and Old Coulsdon, and now living in Sanderstead. Professionally, I'm a researcher for the National Offender Management Service, and have nearly completed a PhD in Forensic Psychology. Off-duty, I volunteer for the Save The David Lean Cinema Campaign, go to galleries and gigs, am a fan of Crystal Palace FC, Surrey CC and the New York Mets, and try to be a better triathlete while acquiring a growing collection of aches and pains.

More Posts

  • Jonny Rose

    Hi Philip,

    Well done on your continued efforts to raise the profile of the David Lean Cinema.

    In the interests of cross-pollination, you might be interested in the work of Croydon Tech City tech startup ‘Kinopto’ –

    They specialise in novel outdoor and mobile cinema hardware – essentially making ‘pop up’ cinema easier than before to put on.

    Do see if you can rope Danny and Tom into the cause!

    • Philip Howard

      Hi Jonny,

      Thanks very much for this. I wasn’t previously aware of Kinopto and, while the technology in use at the David Lean Cinema isn’t something we currently have leverage over, it’s good to know about it for the future.


  • Donna

    Hi Philip,
    We’d love to get in touch and talk about the cinema, We’ve started a film festival in Croydon based at Matthews Yard, do get in touch with us (Donna) Its this Saturday 17th August from 2.30pm, Its a short Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, We are also looking for a VIP to welcome the festival to Croydon, please get in touch if you can come along, and if you are keen to be our VIP , even better! Best, Donna