The Kennington Bioscope at The Cinema Museum
When I was in London in October, I went to the Cinema Museum for the first time, to attend a film screening event organised by Kennington Bioscope. It was for the 35mm film screening of Dawson City: Frozen Time, directed by Bill Morrison. I first saw the film in 2016 at the BFI London Film Festival and instantly loved it.
The film unravels the true story of a long-lost collection of more than 500 nitrate film prints from the early 1900s. Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City was settled in 1896 and became the centre of the Canadian Gold Rush that brought thousands of prospectors to the area. It was also the final stop for a film distribution chain that sent prints and newsreels which were never returned. The film collection was discovered in 1978 when a bulldozer working its way through a parking lot dug up a horde of film cans. Bill Morrison combines the rare silent films and newsreels that were found with archival footage, interviews and historical photographs. It's beautiful and magical film and one you should seek out if you can.
So when I heard the 35mm version of the film was showing at the Cinema Museum whilst I was in London, I couldn’t miss it and it was also finally my time to visit the museum.
Michelle Facey from Kennington Bioscope programmes regular screenings of rare silent film with live music at the Cinema Museum and it took her two years to organise the screening of Dawson City: Frozen Time.
It was an incredibly special night. It was a full house in a venue that is delightful and cosy, and the post screening discussion between Bill Morrison and film historian Kevin Brownlow was fun, enlightening and heartwarming.
After the screening, I wanted to sit with Michelle to talk about it and to also find out more about Kennington Bioscope and the Cinema Museum.
I recorded our interview for Tea with Culture podcast and you can listen to it here.
Whilst you are here, there is a petition to save the Cinema Museum and it would be great if you can sign it.