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Independent Cinema Focus: Summer at Picturehouse

One of Britain’s brightest and most innovative independent movie chains, Picturehouse, is renowned for programming an eclectic mix of blockbusters, arthouse films and special events. With venues across the country, filmgoers can watch movies in deluxe surroundings that are also steeped in history – including the nation’s longest continually operating cinema Duke of York’s in Brighton. This summer’s exciting programme includes outdoor screenings, guest Q&As and Aesthetica’s very own Season of Film.

Aesthetica Film Club | 4 August – 1 September

Film can change the world in a matter of seconds. We bring the very best comedy, animation and documentary from ASFF alumni filmmakers to City Screen York. Five screenings invite viewers to step away from the ordinary to experience moments of pure joy through independent film. Next up is The Doc Love, exploring themes of community. Shorts meditate on the world around us, and take you behind the scenes into the lives of others.

Maisie + Q&A | 5 August

Maisie is an affectionate look at David Raven, Britain’s oldest drag artiste. For fifty years, he’s performed as the irrepressible ‘Maisie Trollette’, but as the Lee Cooper directed film shows, rivalries flare when Raven meets fellow drag queen, 87 year old Guinness World Record Holder Darcelle XV. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Cooper and some local drag queens – sure to be a fantastic event at Brighton’s Duke of York Picturehouse.

Outdoor Cinema | Throughout August

Picturehouse’s pop-up screen goes on tour, with three lush venues serving as the backdrop to some amazing movies. At York Museum Gardens (5-7 Aug), you can catch Ridley Scott’s sci-fi Blade Runner, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and Pixar’s Encanto the sing-along edition, for all you ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ fans! At Brighton’s Preston Manor (12-14 Aug), cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show is joined by West Side Story and Encanto. Norwich’s The Plantation Garden (19-21 Aug) screens Rocky Horror, Encanto and Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age classic Stand by Me.

Fadia’s Tree + Q&A | 8 August

Duke’s at Komedia in Brighton will play host to this unique screening of Fadia’s Tree, which will see its director Sarah Beddington join the audience for a Q&A that is sure to be both emotional and engaging. The filmmaker’s feature documentary chronicles her friendship with Fadia Loubani, a Palestinian woman in Bourj el-Barajneh, one of 58 UN refugee camps. In the film, Fadia sets out to find an ancient tree that stands as a witness to her family’s existence, guided only by inherited memories, a blind man and a two-headed dragon.

King Rocker + Q&A | 24 August

King Rocker is a documentary about musician Robert Lloyd, best known for fronting the Birmingham bands The Prefects and The Nightingales. The free-wheeling portrait, which is written by comedian Stewart Lee and directed by Michael Cumming (Brass Eye, Toast of London), fantastically avoids the typical archive-led or talking heads approach. Edinburgh’s Cameo cinema special screening will be attended by Lee and Cumming. The latter is a marvellous host judging by his recent tour with Oxide Ghosts: The Brass Eye Tapes – a treasure trove of clips from the satiric show.

Discover the full Picturehouse programme for more details on these and other screenings and events near you. Words: James Mottram