Ramsgate shop being transformed into community cinema by Kent Film Foundation

Sylvie, Jan and KFF members Jo Postlewaite, Emlyn Gregory and Karen Vost at the new venue

Kent Film Foundation is transforming a shop in Ramsgate High Street into a community cinema which will open for screenings in the new year.

The Thanet-based foundation has taken over the former Cats in Crisis premises for a nine-month pop up with plans progressing for a move to a bigger, permanent location.

Kent Film Foundation began as a not-for-profit arm of a film production company based in Thanet when a group of filmmakers attached a training element to a series of feature film shoots. This successfully fed talented young people through and into entry level film industry jobs, film school, universities and drama schools for those interested in careers in media.

One of the filmmakers, Jan Dunn, founded Kent Film Foundation with charitable status in 2010 in the hope of hiring professional filmmakers to mentor young people in film workshops that would be free to participants.

Covid caused physical closure of the workshops but there was but a successful online covid film festival.

Organisers then took a year out to concentrate on the pursuit of acquiring the Granville Theatre in partnership with five other arts community groups. This was eventually sold to another venture. The vast majority of people who donated for that cause did not want money returned and this has now been used to help towards the next step in the film foundation’s journey.

Cinema screen – a work in progress

Jan said: “We are stripping the rooms back and everything we are doing we have created by recycling whatever is possible from the old materials in the building left by Cats in Crisis.”

The main ground floor area will have the Ramsgate Town Council funded cinema screen and projector – but more chairs are needed if anyone has some spare – while upstairs will be a green screen and studio for young people involved in film and media workshops.

Also taking space at the venue will be Ramsgate International Film Festival which will be holding events through the year.

The film festival, headed by Sylvie Bolioli [pictured] and now in its eighth year, announced the partnership with Kent Film Foundation and Jan Dunn’s Violet Pictures in June.

KFF young people are working towards their films being shown at the next festival in June 2024.

Jan said: “This will be a community cinema and we are working on the programme at the moment. Our young programmers are making the decisions on what films we will screen for our opening.

“We are here for nine months with pop up cinema but we do have bigger plans in progress.”

Jan Dunn Photo Richard Birch

Jan’s roots in film-making have been heavily influence by the isle which was the location for 2005 award-winning film Gypo, starring Paul McGann, Pauline McLynn and Rula Lenska, and for her next production Ruby Blue, starring Bob Hoskins and French actress Josiane Balasko. That film was released in UK cinemas in 2008.

The Calling, the third film written and directed by Jan, starred Brenda Blethyn, Susannah York, Rita Tushingham, Pauline McLynn and Amanda Donohoe, and was released in UK cinemas 2010.

A private opening event for the community cinema will take place on January 3 and will be shortly followed by welcoming in the public.

It is hope actress Brenda Blethyn, who is a patron to both the film foundation and the film festival, will be available to attend.

Volunteers have been pitching in to help with stripping out and remodelling the space and a new sign was installed today [December 18].

Find out more about Kent Film Foundation and its youth film clubs and workshops at https://kentfilmfoundation.co.uk/

Find the Ramsgate International Film Festival at: https://ramsgateiftvfest.org/

 

7 Comments

  1. Thought this had planning permission to be demolished/redeveloped ?? Surely investment in something permanent would be more logical?

    • It has but I presume works are not starting for at least nine months. As to somewhere permanent maybe this pop up will help fund that next step.

  2. I’m so grateful for this development. I don’t know about the issues for the previous “cats” shop but Ramsgate should have a cinema.
    KFF has had to put up with stupid gameplaying by TDC over the motor museum and then the Granville Theatre it’s great that they finally found a home, albeit a temporary one.
    I look forward to going to the flicks in town.

  3. Excellent news I wish the KFF well.

    Despite the false dawn at the Granville which still has no cinema provision, I am delighted that the Foundation can continue their good work which encourages truly creative practice and inspires and builds confidence in young people too.

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