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Paul Vickery, programmer at the Prince Charles Cinema
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you programme the Prince Charles Cinema

Written by
Kate Solomon

…according to Paul Vickery.

No one just wants to see your favourite films

‘We have a lot of freedom at The Prince Charles Cinema to show unusual films, but it’s important to have a good mix. It can’t just be “Paul’s 20 Favourite Films” played over and over forever (unfortunately). I open it up to external programmers, talk to the team or see what people have put on our requests board. Sometimes I have to put on films that I hate.’

Wikipedia is your friend

‘None of the information about who owns film rights is really publicly available. You have to ask people you know in the industry or hit Wikipedia and hope you get lucky. I spent five months last year just trying to find out who owns “Synecdoche, New York”. We finally got it, but that’s a lot of work for just one evening.’

It’s really, really hard to screen Point Break

‘The rights to screen it are really expensive. It’s owned by a financial company who don’t know anything about the film industry, so the terms they put forward are beyond the means of a small cinema run. We did show it once, but it took us seven years to track it down and get permission. Keanu Reeves even sent a video message. That’s why we’ve never done a Keanu Reeves season – you just can’t without “Point Break”.’

Quentin Tarantino always sits in the front row

‘Tarantino comes to watch movies when he’s in town. He sits front row in the centre and just wants to be part of the audience. We have quite a few famous fans. Christopher Nolan came to watch “Leviathan” a few years ago. But my favourite was when Woody Harrelson came to watch “The People vs Larry Flynt”. No fanfare: he just came to watch himself in a movie.’

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