• Soumik Saha

Join London's mayor at the movies

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Coming soon to a town near you… Londoners will enjoy a red-carpet experience with a selection of matinee and evening film screenings at The Trafalgar Square.


In an attempt to revive the capital’s economy, the Mayor of London will be hosting six free screenings between August 26-29 in Trafalgar Square.


The mayor hopes to bring in 1,500 Londoners and visitors together in the heart of the capital for each film.


Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “TV and boxsets helped so many of us through lockdown, but with cinemas opening their doors again and big screens installed in public spaces, I’m joining with industry leaders to encourage everyone to get Back to the Big Screen to rediscover the magic of film and also support our central London hospitality businesses. By hosting six free screenings in Trafalgar Square of films either made or set in our capital, I want to remind everyone of the joy of getting together to watch a film and make the most of everything our capital has to offer.” 


The screenings will celebrate London’s importance in the film industry, with all the films either made or set in the capital. It includes screenings of Rocks, Skyfall, a Mary Poppins sing-along, Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV), Paddington 2 and Bend It Like Beckham. 


The team behind Rocks said: “It is a love letter to London, particularly the parts of our city we don’t often get to see on screen. We are so excited that our film will be blown up on the big screen in the centre of our city for all to see. Get together for free and share the goosebumps, rollercoaster of emotions and sheer joy of watching a film in such a spectacular setting.”


The screenings will also have 150 tickets reserved especially for key workers at four screenings in recognition of their work throughout the pandemic.


Mark Hamill, actor, said: “The ultimate cinematic experience is seeing a film projected on a big screen in the presence of a live audience as they were meant to be. For movie lovers around the world there is no greater goal at this moment in time than getting back to the big screen.”


Simon Pegg, actor, writer and producer, said: “I’m supporting the Mayor of London’s initiative to get people back into the capital’s world class cinemas. The pandemic has hit this integral part of London’s cultural heart, hard. It’s time to fill these spaces again and feel the thrill and magic of theatrical cinema.”

 

Richard Curtis, screenwriter, producer and director, said: “I’m really delighted to hear about this movie plan by the Mayor of London. Many of my happiest memories in London are to do with going to the cinema and then going on to enjoy all the other wonders of the city."

 

The festival is being organised in collaboration with the BFI, BAFTA and Film London to promote cinemas and outdoor screenings and also encourage filmgoers to take advantage of the capital’s world class food and hospitality.


Each feature will be preceded by a short film showcasing a diverse range of emerging film talent, curated by the Barbican, Film London, BAFTA and BFI.


Amanda Berry, chief executive of BAFTA, said: “The film industry has shown amazing resilience during lockdown, providing escapism and ensuring audiences could still enjoy great films. Nothing quite beats the joy and thrill of watching a film on the big screen with a live audience and we are delighted to support this initiative bringing film fans back to the West End and into cinemas.”


Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London has been the backdrop and inspiration for countless spellbinding films; and the home of exceptional, globally-renowned talent. So I’m delighted to join the mayor in celebrating and championing our city’s culture, stars and cinemas. From the independent to the multiplex, our cinemas are a vital part of the film industry’s ecosystem, contributing significantly to the UK’s culture and economy. Cinemas have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. So I am thrilled that audiences of all ages from across all the rich and diverse communities of our city can once again enjoy the unrivalled wonder of the big screen. Cinema is still unquestionably the best place for filmgoers to experience the undimmed magic of the movies.”


Over the past five years, film and TV productions made in and around London generated more than £10bn for the UK economy.


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