Last Saturday Leeds Black Film Club in association with Kush Films presented a special preview screening of Sprinter.
Sprinter is a warmly entertaining and funny film with many laugh out moments. I love it when everyone laughs at the same time. Sometimes they were laughing when I wasn’t, which meant I’d missed something that a native Jamaican hadn’t.
The things I enjoyed most about Sprinter was the humour, the music and the use of the beautiful Jamaican landscape.
I didn’t find the film too predictable and at certain points, I wasn’t sure which way the story was going to go – which is good! There are many layers to this story: parent-child separation, family ties, high-school-sports and others (#nospoilers). It’s a lot to weave into one film but I think it’s done well.
The only downside was thinking Bryshere Y Gray’s character was too similar to his Empire role. I would have liked to see him do something different but it doesn’t take away from the film which has some very (very) special moments.
After the film preview, there was a lively Q&A session with the Producer Rob Maylor and actress Shantol Jackson (who plays Kerry Hall) and they both shared personal stories about their own families and how they got to where they are today.
It was heartening to hear how passionate they were about retaining the cultural authenticity in many different ways such as ensuring the accents were on point and how their hard work paid off when they saw how the locals reacted to the film.
We all love a good sports movie and Sprinter has all the elements that make it one to add to the list – even more so for me personally – it is great to see a strong black sports film showing young people who are driven and focussed on achieving great things.
Support the Girls has a great cast. The standouts for me are Regina Hall, Shayna McHayle and Haley Lu Richardson. Their dynamic works really well on screen.
This film shows a day in the life of sports bar Double Whammies’ boss Lisa and the many challenges she faces trying to keep the bar and staff running throughout a busy day. The film starts with Lisa crying in her car before starting work as some girls begin to turn up to be interviewed for a job which requires the female waitresses to wear denim hotpants and crop tops. From that point onwards, Lisa’s day full of issues and confrontations.
There were a lot of interesting characters such as the bar owner Cubby and Lisa’s husband, who I would have liked to see more of and see their backstories. Either way, there were both disappointing figures in Lisa’s life.
As I watched the film unfold, I kept waiting for the main story to kick in and just when I thought it would, it skipped to another scene, which gave the film a slightly disjointed feel. I did enjoy that it was a great observation into the life of someone who just wanted to get by and help others but failed to receive the same amount of support back – apart from two loyal members of staff Maci and Danyelle. There were some distinct laugh out loud moments and it did a good job of showing how hard day-to-day life can be when you’re trying to keep your head above water. I would recommend this film for a rainy afternoon.
My first time at Hyde Park Picture House (HPPH) was to see Much Ado About Nothing in 1993 – I was still at High School. I’m a huge Keanu Reeves fan and because this film was not to be shown at the former Odeon or ABC cinemas, off I went to the HPPH feeling exceptionally cultured to watch my true love play a plain-dealing Shakespearean villain.
I’m sure there are many of us who have similar first-time memories of visiting the HPPH. I took the opportunity to volunteer to contribute blog posts to the Friends of Hyde Park Picture House (The Friends) and was really excited about being invited to attend the AGM and to write a report from the perspective of a new volunteer.
The meeting started with committee member Ian Sanderson giving a tribute of a founding member and former Chair Peter Chandley who died last year. It was nice to hear about Peter and how passionate he was about the cinema.
10% of members needed to be in attendance at the meeting to be quorate (having the necessary number of people present for decisions to be made). There were only 49 at the meeting out of approximately 700 members. I wondered how well it had been advertised and if the importance of being in attendance was stressed, especially if decisions were to be made. Fortunately there were only procedural matters that required a vote this year and these will be carried over to a Special General Meeting on July 15th. The Friends are now a registered charity and the committee wanted the group to stay focussed and relevant to members (who pay an annual membership fee) and recognise the importance of getting more people to attend future AGMs.
The purpose of the committee and The Friends was discussed at length and to me, it was not as clear as it should be (something the committee acknowledged and want to work on). When the cinema was in danger of closing, The Friends are the ones who saved it. Now it’s thriving and from January 2020-December 2020 the cinema will be closed and massive renovations will take place. Plans will be to add a second screen, meeting rooms, to extend opening times, to increase programming and the number of film-related activities.
Where will The Friends fit into this new phase of specialist film showing in Leeds? One way is to ensure that HPPH continues to deliver a good variety of films. Should the HPPH be doing more or something different?
Wendy Cook (Head of Cinema) continued the meeting with an informative presentation on what had been achieved throughout the past year such as showing 374 different films and hosting 1172 private events. Two new members of staff have been recruited to join the small team – Creative Engagement Officer and Young Audience Officer. The HPPH is expanding into a new entity and the committee of The Friends would like to expand with it. There was a call for more volunteers to join the committee that reflects the community of Leeds. The Friends ultimately are the voice of the community who love and appreciate specialist films.
It’s an exciting time of change.
All ideas and names of potential committee members should be submitted before the 15 July 2019 via the contact form, Twitter (@friendsofhpph) or Facebook (FOHPPH) which is when there will be a Special General Meeting.
- The membership scheme is under review (suggestions are welcome)
- Volunteers are needed to help sift through the archives
- The topic of reinstating film appreciation clubs and group discussions was suggested
- A variety of alternative venues will be used throughout the temporary closure
- More blog contributors are needed
Friday 29th March 8:30pm
then screening daily until 4th April
Many of us vent our life’s frustration by pushing ourselves to a physical limit. Tina, a mother of three, does the same in the film The Fight. Jessica Hynes (Spaced, The Royale Family, W1A) plays the character of Tina, who takes to the boxing ring to deal with her ever-increasing stress levels from dealing with a complex and hectic life as a wife, mother and daughter. This uplifting family film also stars Russell Brand and Anita Dobson.
Jessica Hynes debuts as a director for the film, which is set in her hometown of Folkstone and will be taking part in a Q&A session at our iconic picture house on Friday 29 March at 8.30pm. Tickets are still available.
“Being a true fighter means you’re not afraid to fail. You can’t do anything if you’re worried about losing. That’s the spirit in which I made this film.”
Jessica Hynes talks to inews
It feels like a very personal film, well acted by the A-list cast that Hynes has assembled: a cathartic meditation on the need to heal, the need to confront those who do wrong and to confront yourself when you’ve done wrong.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian