I love movies. There are many things that I love about film, but one thing that I especially love is the experience of seeing a good movie in a good movie theater. Unfortunately, this experience doesn’t always live up to expectations. Many cinemas have become big, generic complexes full of people more interested in their snacks or whispering with their friends than watching the film.
There is a cinema near me that pays homage to great films and makes viewers relish the cinema going experience. No. 6 Cinema in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, is completely different from your mainstream cinema. I was lucky enough to get to speak with Siri Finess, Cinema, Events & PR Manager of No. 6 Cinema. Just talking to her gives you a sense of what makes No. 6 Cinema so special.
My first impression of Siri Finess was of energy and excitement. As she talks about No. 6 Cinema, her speech speeds up as though she just can’t wait to tell you all about it. In fact, I didn’t need to really ask her any questions about the cinema. She was more than happy to tell me all about it, although she kept reminding me that the best way for people to understand No. 6 Cinema is to “come to a movie here and experience it” for themselves.
This energy and love for film really influences the daily workings of No. 6 Cinema. From the beginning, the movie theater has thrived on vision and energy. The location at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth is part of the charm. Siri explained to me how the cinema was built as part of a development project at the dockyards, and so the cinema is surrounded by other activities and historic attractions. Of everything that could have been built on this location, it says a lot about the managers (Siri Finess and Simon Middleton) that a thriving cinema is there.
As part of such a historic and cultural center, Siri emphasized the importance of No. 6 Cinema in the community. There are lots of French students and professionals in the area, for example, who feel more at home because they can come see French films here. The cinema has also strengthened its ties with the community through a variety of programs. “We allow students to come into the cinema to complete projects,” Siri explained simply. They love interacting with students, and offer amazingly priced student tickets (just £3!). They also engage the community by not just showing films, but holding film-based events. For example, Siri explained that they had music and dancing (like a little disco) after a film with dancing, or that they sometimes serve food beforehand if it’s appropriate to the film. They aren’t just about making a profit or promoting Hollywood. No. 6 Cinema brings a community of film lovers together, and helps people of different situations to connect through cinema.
Another thing that I (and other cinema goers) really like about No. 6 Cinema is how they pick their films. As an independent theater, they are not obliged to show particular films. Instead, Siri explained, they involve the customers in the decision process. They have a book in which movie goers can request which films they would like to see, and these comments are taken seriously. Don’t expect to find your big Hollywood blockbusters at No. 6 Cinema. They are more likely to show independent, art house, and foreign films.
No. 6 Cinema is a refreshing change from most cinemas, and a great resource for film lovers in Hampshire.
*Note: This was written by an Associated Content contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own movie articles.