There’s no doubt that Leeds loves its movies. The city is home to a host of multiplexes, art-house cinemas as well as a multitude of film festivals. What you might not be aware of, however, is the number of film screenings going on every week in other, less conventional venues.
With locations ranging from pubs and bars to textile mills and theatres, we’ve selected some of our favourite hidden film nights Leeds has to offer, each one offering their individual take on the cinema experience.
Films at Heart
An independent art space located in Headingley, The Heart Centre also puts on its own film night in the form of Films at Heart. Membership costs £20/£15 per year – non-members are also welcome, though – and allows you to watch contemporary independent, European and world cinema from the comfort of their café area. While you’re there, let’s face it, you should probably grab yourself a coffee and a slice of cake as well.
Crowd of Favours’ Secret Cinema
Every Tuesday, Crowd of Favours transforms its basement into a movie theatre for the night. The films chosen are about as diverse as you can get, ranging from the critically acclaimed and thought-provoking Milk to the cult favourite (and slightly less critically acclaimed) Sharknado. Combine this eccentric film selection with free popcorn and one of the finest gin menus in Leeds and you’ve got a unique film night. Check out their special event taking place on Monday May 4, where they’ll be showing all six Star Wars films, with a free meal awarded to the best fancy dress.
Not for Rental
Taking place monthly at the Carriageworks Theatre, Not for Rental is another excellent addition to Leeds’ film calendar. Put on by the talented folks at Leeds Young Film and MediaFish, NFR offers Leeds' more youthful film fans the opportunity to watch classic films, such as Alien, the way they were meant to be seen: on the big screen. A great way to bridge the gap between Leeds Young Film Festival and Leeds International Film festival, this is an essential event for the film-makers and writers of the future.
There’s little to write about Minicine that hasn’t already been written. The award-winning film society is one of the most acclaimed in Britain, showcasing a variety of independent and foreign-language films that might not otherwise make it to West Yorkshire audiences.
They’ve hosted events at a variety of venues around the city but their true home is The Palace Picture House in Armley Mills Industrial Museum. With screenings taking place every fourth Thursday of the month, it’s a great opportunity to be introduced to some movies you won't see anywhere else, as well as to meet up with some fellow film fanatics. If all that wasn’t enough, they also pride themselves on the quality of their homemade cakes.
Located in Chapel Allerton, Seven describes itself as an independent arts space with a difference. Every month they put on a variety of gigs, talks and theatrical performances. What we’re really interested in today, though, is their film offering – and this is where Screen Seven steps in. Taking place each Monday, Screen Seven showcases some of the greatest contemporary films from around the world, including titles sure to give pause to even the most knowledgeable of film buffs.
The Little Reliance Cinema
Found at the edge of Leeds city centre, The Reliance’s reputation for excellent food and great beer selection always make it worth the extra five minutes it takes to walk there. The bar also hosts regular film screenings, a recent highlight being their Sheffield music documentary double bill. If you fancy hosting your own movie night and watching a favourite film with some friends, you can even book a private screening and take advantage of their Dinner and Cinema Experience.
Okay, so this one isn’t technically an on-going film night per se, but we’d be crazy not to draw your attention to it. Creative Networks, while not dedicated solely to film, organise regular events and talks in the city aimed at people working in the creative industries.
On Thursday April 30 at Leeds College of Art, they’re hosting an evening with fashion photographer and film-maker Elaine Constantine. Elaine will be talking about her experiences of the two industries and how she made the transition between them. Following this, there will be a screening of her BAFTA-nominated film Northern Soul. Tickets are free and can be found here.
Did we miss any hidden film nights? We’d love to hear your suggestions, just let us know in the comments below.
More film goings-on in Leeds.