A city community cinema and venue has kickstarted a crowdfunding initiative for a second screen, as the region’s film industry emerges from the Covid pandemic. Announcing a campaign to raise £20,000, The Mockingbird Cinema, a 98-seat ‘film hub’ located in Digbeth’s creative complex The Custard Factory, is now calling on movie and culture fans from across the country to back filmmaking in the Midlands by getting behind the campaign.
In return for donations to the project, supporters will receive rewards such as private screenings for family and friends, thank you message credits and adverts shown before films watched by thousands of filmgoers, alongside ‘wine and cinema ticket’ goody bags. The fully independently run venue plans to increase screening capacity and event space to offer more choice for Birmingham’s blossoming screen industries in line with unprecedented growth and development in the city’s ‘Creative Quarter’ - a move supported by film professionals across the region.
Hannah Stevenson, Principal at the newly established Screen and Film School Birmingham, said, “Since setting up the school in Digbeth, Lee and the team have been incredibly supportive.
“We have hosted open days, lectures and attended film screenings and Q&As at The Mockingbird Cinema. I’m delighted the second screen is coming soon. Please join me in supporting them - just as they support the Digbeth community.”
Since opening in 2015, The Mockingbird Cinema has hosted hundreds of independent and blockbuster film showings, regional and national premieres including for BBC television productions, ‘in conversation with’ events and panel discussions, live editing workshops, movie marathons – including back to back Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings presentations, outdoor film offerings, and even dog-friendly screenings.
Lee Nabbs, Programmer and Director at The Mockingbird, said, “The cinema industry has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past few years and the challenges to ensure the survival of one of the few truly independent cinemas in central Birmingham have been immense.
“Our remit has always been to serve the needs of Birmingham filmmakers and film lovers and provide a platform for films that are outside the mainstream or promoting diversity. We are striving to make the space better for community use and to create more availability and opportunity for the next generation of filmmakers in the city.
“Moving forward with a second screen model allows us to fulfil this vision, meet challenges of a rapidly changing industry, ensure that independent cinema continues to thrive in the city-region, and welcome even more movie fans during what is set to be an incredible year for Digbeth and Birmingham. We hope in launching this Crowdfunder campaign we will gain the support from the community enabling us to continue to provide for them long into the future.”
The Mockingbird Cinema’s plans for expansion and growth come at a crucial time for the Digbeth area, which is currently seeing major construction for new infrastructure, including numerous residential developments, the extension of the Midlands Metro line along Deritend, and the construction of the HS2 terminus at Curzon Street.
Sam Groves, Head of Programme for Flatpack Festival, said, “The Mockingbird Cinema is one the unsung heroes of Digbeth and Birmingham's cultural and entertainment landscape.
“The venue has played an integral part in our festival over the last few years, and audiences always love the laid back atmosphere and vibe there. We're massively grateful for their support, and a second screen would be nothing less than this city's indie film scene deserves. Please do contribute if you can.”
Sindy Campbell, Head of Film Birmingham, said, “It is such great news The Mockingbird is planning a second screen. As an affordable option for filmmakers to share and premiere their films in the city it is vital that the cinema’s future is secured through investment from everyone who uses and benefits from it.”
To support The Mockingbird Cinema’s Second Screen campaign visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/mockingbirdcinema