Scalarama Supporting community-led programming through our Propeller Awards
A micro-grant to nurture DIY cinema hotbeds in Leeds and Liverpool.
Scalarama is the UK's annual festival of cinema for and by everyone; a month-long celebration of community-led cinema, DIY screenings and pop-up programmes. Taking its inspiration from the legendary Scala Cinema - a London institution famed for its eclectic line-ups and experimental approach that closed its doors in 1993 - Scalarama is an expansive event that refuses to draw boundaries and makes room for programmes of every type.
The 2019 editions in Leeds and Liverpool, supported with funds from our Propeller Awards, were exemplary cases in point. Throughout September, programmers, venues and community groups in both cities got together to deliver festivals that offered up a spirited defiance of conventional notions of genre, format and focus.
The Scala’s spirit of outré programming was alive and well in cult selections ranging from the familiar - midnight mainstay The Rocky Horror Picture Show was presented in collaboration with Leigh Film Society - to the freaky: a trio of Brazilian underground cuts programmed by Liverpool Radical Film Festival. Cult completists will want to add the deliciously obscure At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, Macunaíma and How Tasty Was My Little French Man to their “to watch” lists.
There was a look-in too for the sort of off-beat Hollywood productions that regularly featured in Scala line-ups. The Leeds edition kicked off the month with a B-movie double bill featuring two of cinema’s most unforgettable femme fatales: Ann Savage’s mysterious hitchhiker in Detour and Peggy Cummings’ sharpshooting heist artist in Gun Crazy. And the unconventional auteur Bob Fosse was celebrated through a series of screenings showcasing the full breadth of his talent - from semi-autobiographical, semi-fantastic musicals like All That Jazz to challenging character studies such as Lenny, Fosse’s portrait of troubled comedian Lenny Bruce.
Beyond the realms of conventional cinema, the Leeds and Liverpool programmes made room for expanded events combining film, installation and live music. Belgian prog rock outfit We Stood Like Kings provided a live soundtrack to Godfrey Reggio’s visionary documentary Koyaanisqatsi at the Square Chapel Arts Centre, fourteen pulsars served up an evening of multi-screen audio-visual performance under the suitably cryptic title, ⬣ (J0534+2200), and Partial Facsimile presented Media OS 5.1, an interactive, multi-sensory experience recreating a hectic London commute.
Scalarama Leeds and Liverpool presented their 2019 programmes with support from our Propeller Awards. For more information on how we can help with your next project, visit our Exhibition Funding homepage.