Words by Yazz James
Aside from the central, Przym-neighbouring Odeon or the Marina’s Cineworld, Brighton is home to many other cinemas and screens.
Reachable by bus or train, Depot sits next to Lewes Train Station. With its friendly staff, incredibly affordable pricing of £4 per ticket (for under 25s) and spacious, yet comfortable auditoriums, Depot is easily one of my favourite university discoveries. In addition to a variety of screenings, the Lewes-based cinema also offers courses, shows plenty of independent, foreign and documentary films and it hosts live events – such as Q&As. The venue is accessible with each auditorium having wheelchair and companion spaces and its audio-described, signed, captioned and subtitled screenings. There are also relaxed and autism-friendly screenings. For more information or showtimes, take a look at the website: https://lewesdepot.org/
Duke of York’s and Dukes at Komedia
‘Picturehouse’ cinemas are known for their stylish interiors, special screenings and somewhat quirky character. Both are recognisable by pairs of striped legs extending from their roofs. Duke of York’s houses one screen, but offers balcony seating in addition to the usual ground level. It claims the title of Britain’s oldest cinema and is located at Preston Circus, whereas its younger sibling, Dukes at Komedia, can be found on Gardner Street; both are suitable spots for a post-film pint and discussion. The ground level of Duke of York’s is wheelchair accessible, as are the ground and first-floor levels of Dukes at Komedia.
The not-so-student-friendly pricing can be intimidating, but I would highly recommend purchasing a £20 student membership if you’re likely to visit often; you will receive a discount, saving yourself a couple of pounds each trip and the membership also allows you to get two free tickets, £5 tickets for ‘Vintage Sundays’ screenings and 25% off food and drink – you even save on alcohol! I also used my membership to get first dibs on tickets to events like a Timothée Chalamet Q&A at Picturehouse Central in my second year; the London-based special screenings tend to sell out quickly and so membership is sometimes the only way to attend. Your option for the cheapest possible Picturehouse trip, however, would be to attend one of the monthly E4 Slackers Club screenings for free. For this, make sure you sign up to “My Picturehouse” and keep an eye out for any updates – it’s a great way to catch a preview showing.
The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) is located on campus. Always with the offer of a concession rate and – depending on when you arrive – sometimes ‘pay what you decide’ tickets, it is great for those on a budget. Whilst it may be predominantly known for hosting an array of productions, exhibitions and talks, ACCA also shows films. As one of the venues for Brighton’s CINECITY film festival and its Sunday Cinema Club, there is plenty to be seen throughout the year. Possibly most suitable for documentary fans, ACCA always have something educational and intriguing to screen. Part of my love for the Attenborough Centre is down to its more niche selection – it’s unlikely you could find anywhere else to see the films on the big screen.
After fears of it being cancelled, Brighton’s biggest film festival, CINECITY, is due to return this autumn. The website currently explains that the festival is to take place both online and physically, once again, inviting audiences to discover world cinema, regional filmmakers and emerging talents. Last year’s screenings included Robert Eggers’ beautiful, yet disturbing ‘The Lighthouse’, Celine Sciamma’s stunning ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ and Rian Johnson’s fun-filled, murder mystery ‘Knives Out’.
Brighton has previously been blessed with The Brighton Film Party Society’s (TBFPS)
‘Wes Fest’, a mini Wes Anderson celebration with screenings, Q&As, fancy dress parties – the lot! However, 2020 provides something a little different; organised by White Wall Cinema (WWC) in collaboration with TBFPS, ‘Spike Fest’ is described as “two days of special pop up cinema film festival… dedicated to one of the world’s greatest living movie directors Spike Lee.” There shall be six films screened across the weekend with Saturday centred on ‘Do The Right Thing’ (1989) and Sunday on ‘Blackkklansman’ (2018) – two other films shall be shown either side. WWC continually offer exciting pop-up screenings around Brighton and were my first taste of public film viewing post-lockdown. ‘The Socially Distanced Summer Screen’ has hosted an array of cult-classics, anti-blockbuster and secret screenings over the past two months, giving Brightonians a taste of big-screen life again – for that we are very grateful.
Free, on-campus and offering an easy opportunity to make friends, Film Soc is well-loved! Run by students, the team host weekly screenings for all to attend. I’d recommend familiarizing yourself with the friendly faces via the Freshers Fair and following them on Instagram (@sussex_filmsoc) to keep up to date. Screenings are usually followed by a trip to Falmer Bar where everyone grills or gushes over the film and gets to know each other.
For those who are interested in production, Uni TV is a great place to get some experience and meet other creatives. The team have shot projects ranging from news updates, short films, freshers events and their own game-show ‘UScovery’.
Undergraduate Film Showcase
All undergraduate filmmakers – whether film students or not – are invited to screen and share their work at the showcase. Again, this is organised by students and so the event only runs thanks to volunteers. I attended last year and was overwhelmed by the level of talent and creativity displayed. Keep an eye out on Facebook and your university emails to see more student work.