Hebden Bridge Picture House is booming

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Hebden Bridge Picture House is celebrating a bumper summer after a record number of cinema-goers visited between July and September.

Attendance for July, August and September was the highest since 2001, while figures for August were double the average for the month.

Jonny Courtney, manager of the Picture House - an independent cinema run by Calderdale Council - said several factors may have contributed to the cinemas success. These include improved marketing and the varied and innovative programme, offering a balance between mainstream and alternative cinema.

August saw the highest attendance for any one month in the last eight years, while September had an average attendance of 115 people per screening - the highest attendance per screening on record.

"We're obviously delighted with the high attendance, which reflects our ability to cater for all tastes," said Jonny. "By combining foreign language films, independent cinema, mainstream and some fantastic live events, we have a wider choice of material to choose from than a straight art-house or mainstream cinema."

Jonny added that since a new Dolby digital sound system was installed in the cinema at the end of 2006, attendance rose from 42,666 in June 2007 to 47,681 in July 2008. He said, "Audiences no longer need to travel to a multiplex to have a great cinematic experience. We can now screen films with audio description - for visually impaired people - and soft subtitles - for the hearing impaired - which has made the cinema more accessible to all."

The packed programme continues in the run-up to Christmas - highlights include the Coen Brothers latest film Burn After Reading, the critically acclaimed mafia film Gomorrah, and the jury prize winner from the Berlin film festival, I' ve Loved You So Long, starring Kristen Scott Thomas.

On Saturday 20th December, the cinema is holding a special evening to celebrate the release of the latest Bond film Quantum of Solace. Cinemagoers are invited dress up in tuxedos and evening dresses, and local wine-bar, B@r Place, will run a casino night after the screening.

Councillor Amanda Byrne, CMBC Community Services portfolio holder, said, "We are extremely proud of Hebden Bridge Picture House, which is one of the jewels of Calderdale. As well as a fantastic combination of mainstream, art-house and foreign films, the Picture House offers much more leg room than a standard cinema; hot drinks and home-made cakes served by our friendly staff; as well as all the sound technology of a modern mainstream cinema. Its a real gem and no wonder audiences cant stay away!"

Details of forthcoming films can always be found out by going to the Hebden Bridge Web events page

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