On Saturday, 23rd July, the Westgate Community Trust and Curzon Cinemas are inviting Canterbury to Westgate Hall for our free all day Big Screen event. We would like to demonstrate to the community how the Trust and Curzon will work together and what we could offer the city if the Trust succeeds in saving the Hall.

The Trust’s partnership with Curzon Cinemas forms the core of the proposed business plan the Trust presented to Canterbury City Council in June. The plan illustrates how the voluntary and corporate sectors can find common ground and collaborate. In our case, community underpins our relationship: a community that feels valued and is involved in determining its quality of life creates a dynamic city for all.

The Council will decide the Hall’s future on Wednesday, 27th July, at 5 PM at the Guildhall.

Philip Knatchbull, Chief Executive of Curzon Artificial Eye and former University of Kent student, clarifies Curzon’s engagement: “We are both delighted and excited by the prospect of opening a Curzon Cinema in Canterbury with the Westgate Community Trust. Also on a personal level, I am immensely pleased to be looking within Kent for our next potential venue, as I grew up and attended university in the county too. We look forward to bringing the local community together to enjoy quality films and alternative content with the latest digital technology. A visit to Curzon is much more than just going into the screen and watching a film – our venues are a forum for people to engage with one another before and after seeing a film in the relaxed surrounding of the cinema café-bar. We hope that with our extensive range of independent films, ballet and opera screenings, CineKids (films for children) and more means there will truly be something for everyone at Curzon.”

There can be little doubt about Curzon’s commitment to Canterbury; this is its second effort to establish itself in the city.

In defining Saturday’s programme, the Trust and Curzon have worked to highlight Canterbury’s film achievements and reveal its dynamic film world by placing them in the context of the national and international scope of Curzon.

Curzon has chosen films that reveal the diversity it can offer — foreign, children, animated and independent — to all age groups and tastes. The children’s activities following the first film will demonstrate the kind of hands-on approach Curzon adopts in adapting to the interests and needs of its different audiences. Curzon will also be providing information about support for those requiring care and those who look after them.

Saturday’s schedule:
• 10.00: Eleanor’s Secret [U] Dubbed into English. 76 mins
Natanaël, seven, still doesn’t know how to read. His beloved aunt has bequeathed her book collection to him and unable to read the books he is very disappointed. However, unbeknownst to Natanaël, his aunt’s library is a magical collection of originals containing all the heroes, such as Captain Hook and Alice, found in children’s literature. One evening the characters emerge from the bookshelves asking him for protection. For if they leave the library, they will disappear along with their stories forever! When his parents start selling off the books, Nathanaël, who is shrunk by the evil witch, sets on a quest to save his tiny friends and his reading skills are put to the test.
This will be followed by a children’s workshop.

• 12.00: ‘Becoming’: “Just when you thought you were safe…”, Peter Cook, in collaboration with the Marlowe Youth Theatre, will present a selection of witty, scary funny and poignant films around theme of Becoming.• 12. 45 – 3.00: Azur And Asmar: The Princes’ Quest (U) Animated Dubbed into English and Arabic. 99mins From the acclaimed French animation director Michel Ocelot this magical film tells the tale of two very different boys, raised like brothers, and reunited as rivals on their quest to free the mythical Djinn fairy.

Animate & Create, the Whitstable-based independent animation studio that won the “One to Watch” award at the Canterbury Culture Awards 2011, will surprise us with one of its creations.

• 3.00: Justinian Dispenza, a US film student from Indiana who has spent a year studying film at the University of Kent, has volunteered his passion and skill and produced a documentary of the Trust, Westgate 2.0; and, drawing on the resources of historic film shot by amateur film enthusiasts in Canterbury from 1932 – 1968, a film compiled by Robin Edmonds.

• 4. 00: Pina [U] Independent German, English & French with English subtitles 103 mins.
Pina Bausch is a legendary dancer and choreographer. Her unique creations transformed the language of dance, offering a visual experience like no other. Acclaimed German auteur Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas and The Buena Vista Social Club) presents a revolutionary new film that captures the aesthetic of Bausch’s greatest works in an utterly thrilling way. A feast for the senses, this promises to be one of the film experiences of the year.

• 7.30: The King’s Speech [12A]
English language
Fascinating, moving and often humorous The King’s Speech charts the personal relationship that developed between England’s reluctant King George VI, plagued by a nervous stammer, and his irreverent Australian speech therapist. The award-winning cast includes Colin Firth as Prince Albert, and Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth.
Unfortunately, given the current facilities in the Hall, it isn’t possible to set up the necessary loop for the hard-of hearing; however, Pina, a foreign language film, has subtitles. While, for technical reasons, Curzon will also be unable to show its ‘alternative content’, such as ballet, opera and theatre, the trailer reel will contain excerpts.
We do hope you will be able to join us for this last Trust event before Canterbury City Council reaches its decision.

Whatever the outcome, the Trust would like to thank Canterbury’s residents, all our volunteers, members, corporate, private, and voluntary sector supporters, and the collaboration of the Council, for your interest and encouragement since we started this project in March 2010. Through the process we have found community. It’s been amazing teamwork. It’s been a fantastic journey!

Thank you.