Disreputable Trash

Matchbox Cineclub, enjoying some disreputable trash.

Matchbox Cineclub‘s September screening was Nobuhiko Ôbayashi’s House (1977). It was part of the annual UK-wide Scalarama film festival which aims to celebrate independent cinema and DIY, pop-up cinema culture, often with a focus on what The Skinny called “the kind of disreputable trash the Scala specialised in”. We thought we’d take the opportunity to give everyone a little look behind the scenes of Matchbox Cineclub as we set up in our host venue, The Old Hairdressers.

Pre-production

Matchbox Cineclub #9: House poster by Julie Ritchie

Matchbox Cineclub #9: House poster by Julie Ritchie

We sourced and secured a licence to screen the film from Eureka Entertainment, set up an Eventbrite page to sell tickets, commissioned a poster (see left) from one of our favourite local illustrators, Julie Ritchie, and arranged to rent a screen from Glasgow’s CCA. We put together a 30-minute supporting programme of vintage Japanese TV ads from 1977 and trailers – for other Scalarama/Scaledonia screenings, KinoKlub’s Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders (Jaromil Jireš, 1970), SQIFF’Desperate Living (John Waters, 1977) and Physical Impossibility’s Hercules Returns (David Parker, 1993); next month’s Matchbox film Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut (Clive Barker, 1990); The Sentinel (Michael Winner, 1977), Ruby (Curtis Harrington, 1977), House (Steve Miner, 1986), Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (George Barry, 1977) and School In The Crosshairs (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 1981).

On the day, we head down to The Old Hairdressers (via the CCA to pick up the screen) and up to the gallery space which, since Hairdressers boss man Rob Churm has already set up the PA for us, looks like this:

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Step one: Build the screen.

We used to project straight on to the gallery wall, but that’s trickier with subtitled films because we can’t project high enough for folk to read the subtitles properly, and also the proper screen is much, much cooler. It is quite a task to put together, though, since it has to be completely taut and fastens to the frame with buttons. Since I took these photos, it looks like I didn’t help at all, but I really did, promise.

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Step two: Seating

We use the Hairdressers’ own stock of seating: pews, chairs, blocks. In an ideal world, these would be plush sofas and bean bag chairs but, you know, austerity.

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Step three: Build the projector stand

DIY cinema at its best/worst – several blocks piled on top of each other with a projector on top (not pictured, yet). No-one has knocked it over yet, but we all know it’s in the post.

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Step four: Decorating

Every month we have these table lamps and reversible picture frames. Oftentimes, they yield fun easter-eggy secrets, sometimes just a picture of a terrifying ghost cat. Those who grab a premium table seat (at no extra cost!) have the fun responsibility for turning the lamps off and on.

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Step five: Signage

Signage is very important in the labyrinthine Old Hairdressers, the gallery space of which can only be reached via two staircases, two left turns and one right. Also we like to let folks know exactly when the film starts so they don’t have to hang around with us any more than they absolutely have to.

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Step six: Ready and waiting

Some candid shots of Team Matchbox, here. Chris Boyd and Craig McClure brandish their own arms thuggishly in front of our projected screensaver (which contains all the films we’ve shown plus some clues to upcoming screenings). Meanwhile, Matchbox founder and human Uncle Traveling Matt Tommy McCormick multi-tasks with some day-job responsibilities while manning the door.

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Step seven: Watch the film

We usually project from laptop, whether it’s DVD, HD file or squeaky VHS rips of vintage TV commercials. We use the house mixing desk (which is ginormous) and PA. “This house is something, isn’t it, Melody?” It sure is.

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Step eight: Force the audience to pose for photographs 

Yay, mission accomplished. Look at all these happy faces. Full disclosure, I bribed these guys with a chance to win a DVD copy of House. Note our wonderful DJ for the evening, Chad Palestine at the back and see the top of this post for our version of an audience survey.

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And that’s more or less how we do it. If you’re interested in getting involved with Matchbox or want some advice on setting up your own film night, give us a shout at matchboxcine@gmail.com. Like us on Facebook here, Vimeo here and follow us on Twitter here.

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