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Published on Dec 31, 2013
On Monday 11th November 2013, three miles outside Nottingham, in a little room above a vegetarian restaurant, the great British director Shane Meadows came and screened his near-legendary early short films (some for the first time) to a delighted audience of some 30 people, before talking about his life and work for over an hour. Tickets for the event were a tenner a head (£5 concessions), with every penny going towards the Typhoon Haiyan appeal. Other than that, no one made any money from this, least of all Shane, who initially rocked up on one of those tiny bikes.
Some six hours later, he'd be offering to auction off his Fred Perry shirts (which no longer fit his newly svelte frame) to help raise funds for The Beestonian Film Club at Café Roya. Which is fitting: after all, the Film Club's inaugural movie, back in July, had been Meadows' own Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee.
The point being: Beeston doesn't have its own cinema. Not a designated bricks and mortar job, anyway. So this is it: a handful of cinema enthusiasts with an old projector, showing everything from cult classics like Theatre of Blood and Phantom of the Paradise, to locally sourced films and documentaries from local filmmakers; the likes of Benjamin Wigley, whose terrific documentary Paa Joe & The Lion concerns a celebrated 'fantasy coffin'-maker from Ghana. And Frank Harriman and John Currie, whose powerful and moving Go with God (Khoda Hafez) dramatises a condemned man's final half-hour, in real time.
And, well, local filmmakers like Shane Meadows -- who must have been reminded of his own early years, starting out, when owing to a lack of local film festivals he and his mates set up one of their one in a nearby cinema. Not yet a year old, but already proving incredibly popular, the Beestonian Film Club is continuing the tradition; a wonderfully passionate, grassroots approach, during an era of uncertain transition for cinema, and the business of cinema.