Director Sam Mendes and stars Olivia Colman and Toby Jones are among the guests at today’s (January 8) special screening of Empire of Light at the Carlton Cinema in Westgate.
Delighted film-goers and onlookers included Westgate resident Wilfred Jenkins who met Olivia and Toby and took selfies with both actors.
Wilfred said Toby was “really nice” and he was “honoured” to meet him.
The story, written and directed by Sam Mendes, is a tale of people brought together by the magic of cinema.
It stars Olivia Colman as Hilary, manager of the Empire, during troubled times in 1981. Toby Jones plays dedicated projectionist Norman.
Other stars in the film, which was shot in and around Margate last year, include grumpy manager Mr Ellis (Colin Firth) and handsome new box office staff Stephen (Micheal Ward).
The task is to bring the Empire back to life against a backdrop of recession, racism and unemployment.
Sam Mendes explained why he chose Margate as the location for Empire of Light. He said: “I was drawn to this particular place because it offered so much opportunity in the scale of the visual landscape.
“It’s where JMW Turner painted most of his famous paintings – he went there because he said that the skies were the finest in Europe. It’s where TS Eliot wrote the Waste Land, sitting in a shelter just outside of the cinema looking out over the beach and the grey sea that sits beyond.
“There’s a breadth about the place, which gives it poetry and a cinematic scope.”
Roger Deakins’ has been nominated for his work on the film for a Critics Choice Awards for ‘Best Cinematography’ and Olivia Colman’s performance has landed her a Golden Globes nomination for Best Actress.
Empire of Light, which also had an early screening at the Palace Cinema in Broadstairs on January 2, goes on UK public release tomorrow (January 9).