Review: Ramsgate Community Cinema – community and passion through film

Ramsgate Community Cinema

By media student George Selfe

Are you having a long day? Out and about in Ramsgate and need some homely relaxation?

Look no further than Ramsgate Community Cinema, which  gives that homely feeling of curling up and watching a movie thanks to its quaint atmosphere and the result of being  built by the passion of the community.

I was greeted by Jessica and Joanne who were not only kind enough to answer any queries I had but were also taking care of the screening of the 1967 “Far From The Madding Crowd”.

I was able to learn a great deal about the cinema and its origins when I had my questions patiently answered by Jessica.

The leading figure of the community cinema is Jan Dunn, who is also the creator of the Kent Film Foundation and a filmmaker who has produced several feature films including Ruby Blue which was filmed on the isle. The Kent Film foundation was founded in 2010 with the goals of teaching young people film skills including directing, script writing or editing.

The building is rented and was taken on by the Kent Film Foundation in December 2023. The sense of community is embedded in the creation of the cinema as it was completely renovated in the space of three weeks thanks to the students of Broadstairs College carpentry course and an army of volunteers.

Screenings at the cinema, which is run by volunteers. are on a donation basis. The cinema screens one or two films a week but this does not mean its selection of movies is limited, quite the opposite as it can be anything from classics (such as Far From The Madding Crowd) to contemporary films, documentaries, and a plethora of international films.

When I enquired about the youth film club held at the community cinema, I learned they meet every Monday during term time from 6pm to 8pm.

During the film clubs the participants work with professionals such as Joanne who is a professional film editor and maker. Each week different skills are taught to the attendees, for example work with a green screen and film editing which is done with professional level software so the young people get experience of how to use cameras and setting them up, how to create lighting and more. Those that excel in these clubs may also be referred into the BFI film academy  and hopefully inspired to go into careers in the film industry.

The screening I attended was “Far From The Madding Crowd”, produced in 1967 as an adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel published in 1874.

Before the movie began the audience were given a brief description outlining its plot and the actors within it. This informative talk allowed me watch the movie with more clarity and I believe shows the volunteers going one step beyond with the care for their audience.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the homely vibe that the cinema gave me and the outstanding care from Joanne and Jessica.

The way this project gives to the community and the community gives back in return is something remarkable and I can only hope that the work they do is given the opportunity to flourish even further.

Film – one to watch

Jason and the Argonauts'(1963). Wednesday 3rd April 3pm

Independent fantasy adventure film made in collaboration with stop-motion animation visual effects artist Ray Harryhausen.

Find Ramsgate Community Cinema on facebook here

George is a creative writing and journalism student at Canterbury College currently undertaking work experience with The Isle of Thanet News.

5 Comments

  1. Although this is better than nothing, it amazes me that Ramsgate and Margate can’t sustain proper cinemas, yet Westgate-on-Sea can.

  2. I remember when it did have cinemas Margate and Ramsgate-All gone now -No thanks to this council run by labour and tories one time put the nail in our towns.

    • I was wondering that too (having said that, WE paid for the refurbishment of Dreamland Cinema – and it’s still shut!).

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