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Welcome

The Friends of the Hyde Park Picture House is a registered charity made up of a group of people who enjoy cinema and feel some way connected to the Hyde Park Picture House. We want as many, and as wide a range of people as possible to be able to experience the same enjoyment through it that we do.

We are now accepting renewals and new members for our 2023 ‘Pay What You Decide’ membership scheme. To find out more follow these links to How To Join, Changes To Memberships and Frequently Asked Questions. The Picture House have also launched their own membership schemes ahead of the reopening in April.

To keep up to date with the Friends please sign up for our email newsletter.

Latest Posts

A Bunch Of Amateurs – Sunday 18th December 1pm


Hopefully you’ve already booked tickets to the various Christmas themed films which are being screened by the HPPH over the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately we’ve been unable to put on a Christmas screening for the Friends this year but some of the Committee will be joining Wendy for the screening of ‘A Bunch of Amateurs’ at 1pm on Sunday 18th December at Heart. Whilst this isn’t really a festive film, we felt that the subject matter and tone of the film really chimed with the Friends’ values. We will be in the café before the film, so come along if you can for a catch up. Bill and Wendy will be giving an update on progress at the Picture House and what’s been happening with the Friends.

“Joyous and heartbreaking celebration of film-making passion” 

Guardian 9th October 2022


Comes together as a wistful reflection on the power of cinema and community in the face of adversity.

Marina Ashioti Little White Lies

Cinema Rediscovered on Tour: Women’s Stories from the Global South (& To Whom They Belong)

Hyde Park Picture House has worked in collaboration with Watershed, Black Cinema Project and Ajabu Ajabu to develop and tour an exciting film programme, a focus on five women’s stories from Morocco, Cuba, Venezuela, Angola and Tanzania.

Curatorial collaborators Mosa Mpetha (Black Cinema Project, Hyde Park Picture House), Darragh Amelia and Jesse Gerard (Ajabu Ajabu) presented five recently digitised or restored works from the Global South that are written by and about women in Cinema Rediscovered Film Festival July 2022. Surrounding each film from this selection existed a uniquely challenging story of ownership and distribution, opening up discussion around the imbalance of power within film cultures perpetuated globally and locally. The strand includes Sambizanga the first film by a woman to be restored by the African Film Heritage Project, an initiative created by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the FEPACI and UNESCO – in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna – presented in person at Cinema Rediscovered by Annouchka De Andrade, daughter of director Sarah Maldoror.

All Titles include: Door to the Sky (Morocco, 1989), De Cierta Manera (Cuba, 1974-77), Araya (Venezuela, 1959), Maangazimi: The Ancient One (Tanzania, 2001) and from Angola Sambizanga (1971).

Launching at this year’s festival – the package of films is available to book for cinemas and festivals across the UK from August 2022 to January 2023 with support from BFI awarding funds from The National Lottery and MUBI.

Hyde Park Picture House screened Araya in the City Varieties on 1 November 2022, and A Door to the Sky is showing on 29 November 2022.

We have an interview between Robb Barham (HPPH Operations & Programme Manager) and Mosa Mpetha (HPPH Creative Engagement Officer) about the curational process for this programme.

Robb: So, tell me how this strand came about, how you were invited to participate in Cinema Rediscovered, and how you built the strand together with the people that you were collaborating with.

Mosa: The strand came together through several separate streams of work, and it ended up being much bigger and better than I initially anticipated.

It started with the film Sambizanga; my friend Samra Mayanja and I created Black Cinema Project together a couple of years ago, and we were really obsessed with this film because it was the first film that we showed to our group. On researching the film we came to learn it had a particularly interesting backstory due to the fact that the filmmaker and her daughters were trying to reacquire the rights to get it taken off youtube where a shoddy version was available, and they were trying to get the rights back so they could restore it. They basically wanted people to see it in its full glory. But the producer of the film had sold the rights to a French distributor in a 50 year contract, and the French distributor wasn’t doing anything with the film.

So it really sparked our interest and when we were researching this, we started to wonder about the politics behind film rights and restitution in the film industry. What are the circumstances that allow a film to become locked away in individual, any individuals basement, uncared for and unseen? So we were particularly interested in this story and followed its journey. Unfortunately, the filmmaker, Sarah Maldoror died in 2020, after which her daughters continued on trying to get the film back. Eventually they did, largely because they got support from Scorsese’s Film Foundation and a wider funded project – the African Film Heritage Project.

They managed to get the rights back in order to restore the film which was screened in Bologna in 2021, and it was just a really exciting moment. So essentially, we knew this film had to be seen and appreciated by lots of people, on multiple big screens, and to be treated with the respect it deserves.

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Bill’s Experience of #LIFF2022

Without the coziness of the Hyde Park Picture House or the grandeur of the Town Hall, this year I went for the 6 screenings for the price of 5. Choice is difficult with so many films from so many countries. I decided on:

No Bears (2022)


Highly recommended.  Once again Jafir Panahi uses his considerable film making skills to challenge the Iranian state. This time the film actors are in Turkey while Panahi directs from Iran close to the Turkish border because of government restrictions on his movement. There are stories within stories. 

In 2010 the Iranian government banned Panahi from film making for twenty years for propaganda against the state but with huge international support he found ways to continue. Since No Bears was released he  has been rearrested and is currently serving a six year prison sentence. The screening I went to was sold out.

Zuhal (2021)

A very well made black comedy about a lawyer who hears a cat meowing in her Istanbul apartment. Or does she? The sound takes over her life, as she struggles to find an explanation. Excellent cast. Recommended. (Presented jointly with Bird’s Eye View and Reclaim The Frame).

Casque d’Or (1952)

A newly restored taut French thriller. Set in 1902, it shows the struggle between an ex-con who is trying to go straight, and a local gangster boss. The reason? Marie (Simone Signoret) who is a force to be reckoned with. Highly recommended.

We Might As Well Be Dead (2022)

This satirical film creates a coherent dystopian world with a tower block as a refuge from dangers in the surrounding countryside. I struggled a bit with following the plot, but interesting enough for me to consider a repeat viewing.

Fanomenon Shorts

As well as aliens trying to take control of human relationships and breeding, I enjoyed the Japanese film Theatre (2022). Staff at a Tokyo cinema carry out plans to ensure its survival during Covid, with the help of a ghostly spirit. Inspiration for the Hyde Park Picture House!

Return to Seoul (2002)

This is summed up by the subtitle: all the people I’ll never be. Freddie, a 25-year old French adoptee goes to South Korea to find her biological family. Based on a true story. An emotionally intense exploration of clashes of cultural values around family and society in the two countries. Ji-Min Park, the headstrong Freddie, gives a powerful performance in her first film. Highly recommended.

Many thanks to all the LIFF22 staff, volunteers and venues for bringing it all together. 

Bill Walton

Leeds Palestinian Film Festival 2022

The Unreported Occupation

We pull the curtains back on the illegal occupation Israel wants the world to forget

‘Mediterranean Fever’

This year’s Festival opens, as usual, with a title screening the Leeds International Film festival. This and the complete programme can be found, with all details, on the Festival WebPages.

Mediterranean Fever, Palestine/Germany/France/Cyprus/Qatar / 2022 / 108 minutes Arabic with English subtitles – Director Maha Haj. LIFF screening at the Vue in the Light on November 16th and 17th.

This subtly tender film tackles the dynamics of male friendship and the strain of living under occupation. It focuses on the daily struggles of Haifa’s Arab community, as two middle-aged frenemies develop an unexpected relationship and are drawn together by a series of terrifying events. Premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain regard section, and won the Prize for Best Screenplay.

Following the International festival the programme of Palestinian titles offers screenings at a number of venues up until early December. There will be speakers at some events: a musical event: and an evening which includes Middle eastern food.

Fadia’s Tree, Sarah Beddington / UK / 2022 / 68 minutes / Arabic, English, English subtitles. Seven Arts Friday November 18 2022 7:00pm

Sarah Beddington’s film is a compelling documentary account of the director’s friendship with Fadia, a charismatic Palestinian woman and teacher who lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon but yearns to reconnect with her ancestral village in Palestine.

The film spans 15 years, during which time Beddington agreed to make the journey that Fadia was prevented from taking to the home village she has never seen – to find the mulberry tree that has taken on a totemic significance for generations of her displaced family.. Speaker: Susan Simnett, producer of Fadia’s Tree

Love and Resistance in the Films of Mai Masri

Double-bill – Q&A with Victoria Britain – delicious Middle Eastern buffet. Wheeler Hall Saint Anne’s Street – Monday 21 November 2022 4-7.15pm

Frontiers of Dreams & Fears, Mai Masri / Palestine / 2001 / 56 minutes

A tender insight into the lives of Palestinian children growing up in refugee camps. Although Mona and Manar live in camps miles apart, a friendship is forged through barbed wire and walls of concrete.

Hanan Ashrawi: A Woman of her Time, Mai Masri / Palestine / 1996 / 50 minutes

An intimate portrait of a formidable political activist and former spokesperson for the PLO who rejected a position in government in favour of human rights advocacy.

Roadmap to Apartheid, Ana Nogueira & Eron Davidson / South Africa/Israel / 2012 / 94 minutes. Slung Low at The Holbeck – Friday November 25 2022 7:30pm

The analogy of the Palestinian experience under Israeli occupation as apartheid is dissected in a forensic comparison with the history of apartheid in South Africa. Eye-witness accounts and unseen archive material are included. Speaker / Q&A with Robert Cohen.

Tantura, Alon Schwarz / Israel / 2022 / 85 minutes. THE HEART – Sunday November 27 2022 1:30pm

In the late 1990s, a graduate student conducted research into an alleged massacre at Tantura. His work later came under attack and his reputation was ruined, but 140 hours of audio testimonies remain. Israelis insist that the massacre never happened, while Palestinians view it as a hell that can’t be forgotten.. Speaker: Dr Kholoud Al-Ajarma.

Boycott, Julia Bacha / USA / 2021 / 70 minutes / English. Otley Courthouse – Sunday 27 November 7.30 p.m.:  Wheeler Hall – December 9th 6.30 p.m.

When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona, and a speech therapist in Texas are told they must choose between their jobs and their political beliefs, they launch legal battles that expose an attack on freedom of speech across 33 states in America.. Speakers. Jenny Lynn – Ben Jamal

‘Boycott’

Eye Witness – singing, film and food. Chapel FM Arts Centre – Sunday 4 December 2022 3pm – 5pm

We are delighted to offer you two eye-witness accounts of life under occupation, both reflecting the power of solidarity. The singing and film will be followed by refreshments. Tadhamon Choir- The singers are fresh from a solidarity visit from Sheffield to Palestine in October. They travelled around the West Bank, visited projects and met many community activists, witnessing first-hand the brutality of life under Israeli occupation. They will share their songs and discuss what they learnt.

Tour Wadi Hilweh, Silwan  18minutes

Sahar Abassi is a community activist and Deputy Director of the Madaa-Silwan Creative Centre She gives us a personal tour of the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, where an art project with Art Forces from the USA reinforces local resistance to the ethnic cleansing of the neighbourhood.

And running throughout the Festival is an exhibition of photographs.

Humans of Palestine – Unique exhibition showcasing top Palestinian photographers. Otley Courthouse, 1st – 28th November

Job Opportunities At The Picture House

At our Annual General Meeting a few weeks ago, Wendy mentioned that as well as all the building work they would soon be starting to recruit for new roles to facilitate the reopening and ongoing operation of the Picture House. There are now five roles being advertised:

  • Deputy Operations Manager
  • Deputy Projection and Facilities Manager
  • Projectionists
  • Cinema Venue Coordinators
  • Cinema Services Coordinators

You can find out more details about these roles and how to apply on the Hyde Park Picture House Opportunities page on their website.

They will also be running some drop-in sessions where the cinema team will be available to meet in-person and answer any questions you have about the roles or the recruitment process. These will be at the Cardigan Community Centre (145-149 Cardigan Rd, Burley, Leeds LS6 1LJ) on:

  • Thursday 20th October (11am – 2pm)
  • Friday 21st October (11am – 2pm)

Heritage Open Days

Hyde Park Picture House normally opens its doors every year as part of Heritage Open Days but this year, they have decided to use the On the Road programme to take the love of all things heritage out and about across the city through a range of events. Wendy has written about this on the Leeds Heritage Theatre website and there is an overview of some more events happening this September below.

You can find out more about the Heritage Open Days on their website which includes a search to find events all over the country. There is also a booklet of Leeds events available from LCC Libraries, Museums and Galleries or as a PDF download.

The Lost Films of Louis Le Prince

Friday 9th September 2pm – Leeds Becket University

This illustrated lecture from historian Irfan Shah will investigate the work of Leeds-based film pioneer, Louis Le Prince. It will take place in the exciting new cinema space of Leeds School of Arts at Leeds Beckett University.

In the years 1888-89, Louis Le Prince shot at least six continuous motion picture sequences in the city of Leeds, of which only a few seconds of three remain. Researcher, Irfan Shah, tells the story of the lost films of Le Prince and shows how Leeds itself was not merely a location for them but an essential ingredient of the inventor’s work.

You can read more about Louis Le Prince in our blog post “Louis Le Prince – moving image pioneer – 1841 to 1890” from earlier this year.

More Details

Screenings at Palace Picture House

Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th September – Leeds Industrial Museum

Nestled amongst the Kalee Projectors and Louis Le Prince’s early cameras, there will be a mixed programme in celebration of our favourite astounding invention: film.

Featuring:

  • Shorts programme: Cinema Memory (30min) – 12.30pm and 1.15pm
  • Hyde & Seek Screening: A Grand Day Out (1994, U, 24min) and The Wrong Trousers (1994, U, 30min) – 2.00pm
  • Minute Bodies: The Intimate Works of F. Percy Smith (2017, U, 53min) – 3.10pm

More Details

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Celebrate Yorkshire Day with Billy Liar

Wednesday 3rd August 6pm Leeds University Union

To celebrate Yorkshire Day this year there is a screening of Billy Liar (1963) at Leeds University Union on Wednesday 3rd August at 6pm.

Before the film there will be a brief update on the upcoming changes to the Friends Membership scheme and how that fits in with the development, changes and reopening of the Picture House in the autumn.

The Friends will be moving to an annual “Pay What You Decide” membership model and focussing more on our charitable aims. Soon, The Hyde Park Picture House will be introducing their own new membership scheme which will include discounted tickets and other benefits.

We’ve made these changes because membership schemes are an important way for cinemas like the Picture House to raise income and grow audiences. The primary motivation for the Friends has always been different, focussing on our charitable objects to support and celebrate the cinema. At this point clearly separating the two so both could thrive felt like a great opportunity.

We’ve put together a page of Frequently Asked Questions on our website which explains things in more detail but if you have any other questions please get in touch

Back to Billy Liar in which Tom Courtenay plays an irresponsible funeral director’s clerk, who fiddles the petty cash, is at war with his parents, and has become involved with two young women who share the same engagement ring. An incorrigible liar and day dreamer by nature, whenever possible, Billy retreats into a fantasy world where he is the hero: a dictator of an imagined land of Ruritania or a famous novelist. Anything to avoid have to make a decision, grow up, get out.

Filmed on location in Bradford and Leeds, Billy Liar is outlier to the brand of kitchen-sink realism then current in 60s Britain. Director John Schlesinger, with screenwriters Keith Waterhouse (who wrote the 1959 novel the film is based on) and Willis Hall, craft a wonderfully cast and irreverent film that sits somewhere between reverie and reality, cleverly mirroring the modernisation of British society at the time.

Rosie, Ireland 2018

This movie was screened at the Hyde Park Picture House in 2019; now it is transmitted this coming Sunday evening at 8.40 p.m. on the new BBC Three channel [Freeview 109 – also on the BBC iPlayer) . The Picture House screening was accompanied by presentations from members of the production, including  the director;  which added a welcome dimension to the event. I was impressed and included the title in my ‘best of the year’ selection . Rotten Tomatoes had very positive reviews and commented:

“Equal parts empathy and outrage, Rosie offers a heartbreaking glimpse of economic insecurity that will hit many viewers uncomfortably close to home.”

A day in the life of a family whose lose their rented home and find that the city [Dublin] is no place to be homeless. The key character is the mother, Rosie Davis (Sarah Greene); critics generally had high praise for her performance. But the whole family cast are really good with her partner John Paul Brady (Moe Dunford) and their four children, Kayleigh (Ellie O’Halloran) and three younger children Millie (Ruby Dunne), Alfie (Darragh McKenzie) and Madison (Molly McCann) equally convincing.

The day is a bleak procession of failures and lack of provision. The parents desperately seek a shelter, even for one night, as the children suffer from their poverty and insecurity. Much of the day is spent in their car as they search the city: this offers distinctive variation on the road movie: perhaps influenced by some of the also distinctive but different variants in Iranian cinema. This is the bleak landscape for the homeless in Ireland’s capital, but this is a story that could equally be filmed in British cities and in those of North America.

The screenplay is by the noted Irish writer Roddy Doyle. And the script was developed from real-life experiences  of people caught in the trap of homelessness. Filmed on location in Dublin the cinematography by Cathal Watters  uses frequent hand-held camera and large close-ups to present the emotional problems for the family.  The director Paddy Breathnach handles the production extremely well and achieves a documentary feel to the drama.

The film was likely shot in colour on a digital format in colour, it circulated on a DCP. It should show up well on the BBC HD channel though the widescreen 2.35:1 ratio may be slightly cropped. The title runs for 86 minutes. If you missed the Hyde Park screening the title was hard to see; the fate of many independent but really worthwhile movies. So it is a definite must on Sunday; be prepared for an emotional and powerful drama.

Louis Le Prince – moving image pioneer – 1841 to 1890

I suspect that most of the Friends are familiar with this C19th inventor who, in 1888, produced what is the earliest surviving example of a strip of moving image; scenes shot on a single lens camera of people in a Roundhay garden and then of people and traffic on Leeds Bridge. The second Leeds International Film Festival was, in his centenary year, a celebration of Le Prince’s achievement. And Blue Plaques commemorate his pioneer work on Leeds Bridge and the site of his workshop on Woodhouse Lane. Now a new study has appeared, ‘The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures’ by Paul Fischer, published by Simon & Schuster this month, in 2022, [ ‘The Genius, Secrecy and Disappearance of Louis Le Prince’]. Helpfully, a condensed version of the publication was premiered by BBC’s Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’; five episodes of 15 minutes each and available on BBC Sounds.

The book adds to the available studies of this important pioneer of what became cinema. There is Christopher Rawlence’s ‘The Missing Reel’ [Collins 1990): there is Rawlence’s documentary dramatisation of the book, made for Channel 4 in 1990, but not apparently available: David Wilkinson’s 2015 The First Film, more an argument for Le Prince’s recognition that a documentary [available on MUBI]: a detailed Wikipedia page links and detailed references: archive material at Leeds Industrial Museum and at Bradford’s National Media Museum Insight collection: interesting discussion of Prince’s achievement on a blog devoted to William Friese-Greene: and the Louis Prince Leeds Trail. YouTube has transfers of Le Prince’s moving images and a number of short video pieces on him; some have debatable claims.

The title is slightly over the top. The 1880s was a time when a number of pioneers were experimenting with developing photographic technology into a format for moving images. The author does detail the way that Le Prince worked at developing camera and projector for moving images. His descriptions in the BBC extracts are clear and understandable. However, all that survives are examples of what Le Prince filmed and one of his model cameras. As Fischer points out these are the earliest surviving examples of projectable moving images. However, there is no clear evidence that Le Prince successfully projected these. And after his death, when his family attempted to prove his prior claim to the patents of Thomas Edison, they failed; partly because what Le Prince patented did not offer enough detail.

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Stan & Ollie (Britain, Canada, USA 2018)

This is a portrait of two icons of film comedy, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. However, most of the film deals with their later years, an eight month tour of Ireland and Britain in 1953, presenting performances on stage in music halls based on their famous routines. It was a success at the time and now offers a combination of celebration, humour and nostalgia. The film is screening this Wednesday [April 6th] at 9 p.m. on BBC 2. Since it is, in part, a BBC production it should be featured on the iPlayer for some time.

The film is well put together and has a fairly straightforward narrative. The stand out aspect are the performances as Stan / Steve Coogan and Ollie / John C. Reilly. For fans like myself it was as if watching the duo once again. The supporting cast is excellent, especially their two partners: Ida Laurel / Nina Arianda: Lucille Hardy / Shirley Henderson. In fact the actual tour, organised by impresario Bernard Delfont (Rufus Jones), is more or less played in reverse. At the opening the audiences are small and lukewarm; the reverse of actuality. The intention it would seem is to develop a rising narrative ending with a highly successful performance and a delighted audience.

It is not all humour. The tour ended when Oliver suffered a heart attack and following the tour they were unable to work again. So there is also a disconsolate note at the conclusion. The film also shows in flashback how Stan and Ollie ended their association with Hal Roach (Danny Huston). Continue reading