Hackney has a new kind of cinema that harks back to the past and surely provides more character than modern multiplexes. Hollywood Spring is genuinely different, rather than just being simply independent, and is situated behind Well Street in a disused factory space shared with other artistic ventures.
The cinema has the feel, if not the vibe, of a retro New York art warehouse and you almost expect to see two Beatniks hotly debating what the French call the Seventh Art – ‘le Film’. Its owner David Thompson (no relation to the famous film guide of a similar name), is a reluctant public face who prefers to stay out of the limelight.
The venture came about when Thompson visited a film event at the Hackney Picture House called ‘How to become a Cinema’ and a chance meeting with film host and programmer, Josh Saco, of Cigarette Burns. The result was an organising of a cinematic event that projected John Carpenters’ iconic and seminal film Assault on Precinct 13 on 16mm film, alongside a live band playing music from the director’s various soundtracks: Halloween, the Fog and Christine. The collaboration of art-forms is important to Hollywood Spring and in May the cinema presented Jazz music alongside ‘Let’s get lost’, the Chet Baker documentary, and a three-day film weekender with such ‘classics’ as Radio On, Feminine Carnivores, The Iron Giant and Dust Devil.
Asked how he chooses the films, Thompson replied: “I have collaborated with many film curators who come up with these incredible programmes. Old school picture houses have gone. We offer something different, a nicely stocked bar, a more relaxing atmosphere. We apply for temporary event licences and run a couple of nights of films. We call it ‘monthly cinema’ rather than say a film club. It will morph into something else and it’s been difficult these last few months just setting it up.”
Thompson, having been an actor, director of short films and documentaries, thus far said producing will likely be the next step. “I didn’t expect to be [setting up a cinema] at the beginning of the year. We kind of dared each other. I live in Hackney. I wanted to give something back to the community. I love Hackney, but for it to succeed it has to be a neighbourhood thing and that is how I see the future”.
Hollywood Spring has events coming up over the next few months and is keeping the spirit of the ‘Seventh Art’ alive in the neighbourhood. For more details visit Hollywoodspring.com