Gilbey on Film: save our cinemas!
Unlike out-of-town multiplexes, the likes of Walthamstow's EMD bring communities together.
The campaign to save the EMD cinema in Walthamstow, east London, is nothing new (the NS reported on it back in 2004) but it is vital that anyonewishing to add their signatures to the petition does so by the end of this month.
The McGuffin Film and Television Society (so named in honour of Alfred Hitchcock, born in nearby Leytonstone) has done a hardy job of highlighting the social and cultural loss which will befall this corner of London if the cinema, which is Grade II listed, is converted into a church by its current owners UCKG (United Church of the Kingdom of God). UCKG bought the building in 2003, following their acquisition of the Rainbow Theatre, the legendary former music venue in Finsbury Park, north London. Since then, the EMD has stood dormant, and was recently occupied by squatters. Images taken by the local MP Stella Creasy have shown the interior to be in a state of significant disrepair, contrary to the claims of UCKG.
A video filmed by torchlight inside the cinema was as difficult for me to watch as any horror movie. I have a sentimental attachment to the place -- it was where I saw my first film, and countless subsequent ones. I was as happy there as a child as anywhere I have ever been, so it would not be overstating the case to say that seeing the dilapidated, water-damaged interior now is like witnessing the desecration of a childhood home.