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Film: Liverpool Small Cinema – Opening Soon

March 3, 2015 | By | No Comments

A short film documenting the build and discussing the aims and ethics behind the Liverpool Small Cinema project. Filmed and edited by Anthony Killick, a PhD candidate in Film and Politics at Edge Hill University, and part of the Liverpool Radical Film Festival team. Ant has been on site most days to capture the progress and drink tea.

Day In The Life of a Coal Miner

June 18, 2013 | By | No Comments

A special presentation before each feature screening for the MINERS FILM WEEKENDER, this short film is shown courtesy of the North West Film Archive at Manchester University:

A miner leaves home for work and the film is subdivided as follows – The Pit Head; Locking the Lamps; Miners Descending; Coal Face; The Coal Shaft, 4 & 9 Tub Cages; The Pit’s Mouth; Hoisting the waste; Belles of the Black Diamond Field; Female Industry; Loading Wooden Props; Sorting, Screening and Loading; Coal trains leaving; Back to Daylight; Pay Time; Light after Darkness. The final scenes show the miner returning home and a comfortable middle-class family enjoying the fruits of his labour – a coal fire.

‘It Doesn’t Make It Alright’ – A Short Film About Hate-Crimes

January 27, 2013 | By | No Comments

Lou Beckett at the Miners Community Arts & Music Centre has added another string to his bow with his film-making debut – It doesn’t Make It Alright.  Created as part of a hate crime awareness initiative, and written, shot and edited in just over a week, the film was made on site at the Miners, with the collaboration of actors from a local theatre group rehearsing at the miners. The story was written by Lou along with Stephen Coulon, and the excellent camerawork and editing done by Adam Sheldon.

A fully in-house production and exhibition, the film was premiered yesterday at the Miners, and will continue to be shared with other groups in upcoming events.


Sigur Ros – Valtari – videos

December 10, 2012 | By | No Comments

On Saturday Moston bore witness to a unique global gathering for fans of music and film as part of the Sigur Ros ‘Valtari’ film experiment. Small Cinema at the Miners was the venue for over 50 enlightened folk to enjoy a series of films made in response to Sigur Ros’ ‘Valtari’ album.

There were many new faces for the two-hour screening, which was brilliant to see. Moston may seem afield than the Northern Quarter or Didsbury, but the tram and train  mean it’s only 10 minutes away from the city centre. Fortune favours the brave and open minded, and in this case, the brave were rewarded with an event that felt truly special. The videos were a mix of the strange and the beautiful, showcasing gorgeous cinematography, fantastic animation and amazing performers

The Icelandic band’s music was aptly presented in the December chill, though thankfully with a warm hot chocolate and brandy to take the edge off 😉

Cheers to Kerenza (Buddleia), Lou Paula and Howard (Mineres Community Arts), Liam (Ask Me PR), Elizabeth Alker (BBC6 Music), and volunteers Paul, James and Jordan for making the event happen. And of course, a huge thankyou to everyone who came along!

The videos (some commissioned, some fan made and selected by the band) can all be seen here on the Valtari website

I’ve put a couple of our favourites below, as well as one which didnt get seen on the night, but is well worth a look, created by Manchester film-makers Cosmic Joke (the team behind Treasure Trapped).

Seraph from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.

Sigur Rós – Valtari from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.

Sigur Rós – Ekki múkk from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.


Saving Ancoats Hospital

November 9, 2012 | By | No Comments

The Ancoat’s Dispensary fundraiser event featured a number of musical acts and speeches at the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre. Also showing was this short film about the campaign itself and the people involved.

A film by Ben Cheetham, Tom Turner, Kieran Hanson

visit the Fight 2 Save Ancoats Dispensary website

Our Club, Our Rules

November 5, 2012 | By | One Comment

Soon after I began exploring Moston, it became clear that beyond the residents groups, Sure Start centres and knitting circles, there was also another community network with a strong presence in North Manchester. FC United’s plans to build their stadium opposite the Miners on St Mary’s road had brought about a range of opinions form the community as to how it would affect the area. FC’s network of fans was very active across Manchester, as was their community work with young people and disadvantaged, and yet the proposed stadium move was a controversial issue for Moston, with people as vehemently opposed to the move as other were hopeful of the opportunities that it might bring.

Being a football fan myself, but equally a cynic of how clubs have related to their local communities, I was intrigued to learn more about the ethos of FC united in relation to community. I attended two matches at the end of the 11/12 season, speaking to people about what the club stood for, and why they believed in it so much. I came away feeling that not only was the stadium a potentially very positive development for Moston, but simply the presence of FC in North Manchester was nurturing a kind of community activism that was really powerful and would have a positive impact locally. In addition, the alternative model of a football club run for the fans and the community seemed to chime with the model of cinema that I have been trying to explore with the Small Cinema project for the last four years. As much as I tried to remain ‘neutral’ as a film-maker, I was just blown away by the enthusiasm of the fans, and the vision of the club. Everyone I spoke to seemed energised by the idea of FC as a vehicle for change in sport, culture and community.

Roughcuts of the film were screened to M40 residents and FC branch members in order to share my process and also discuss my aims with the Small Cinema in Moston. As crazy as it may seem to build a cinema, I always felt that the FC network were far more crazy for building a new club, and so I think there may have been a common understanding. Indeed, many FC supporters volunteered their time to help build the cinema, and the FC network in general helped spread the word about what we were trying to achieve. The cinema couldn’t have been built had that creative, activist, community minded network not already existed.

The final film was screened on 4th November, before Looking For Eric, which featured FC united in the storyline. Actor Steve Evets said a few words about working on the film with Ken Loach, drawing parallels between the themes of Looking For Eric, (camaraderie, collective action, community, sport) and what had been achieved in Moston with the Small Cinema. It was a huge compliment, and much appreciated, but the groundwork for those things already existed in the community. FC seem to be tapping into the potential of North Manchester to be at its most radical.

Filmed by Sam Meech and John O’Shea. Edited by Sam Meech. Produced by Re-Dock as part of A Small Cinema in Moston.

(a dvd / blu ray of the film can be obtained by contacting

Building the Moston Cinema

October 28, 2012 | By | No Comments

A video from the first week of ‘building week’ – as work began on the Moston Miners Small Cinema. Filmed by Tim Brunsden of Re-Dock, and produced as part of A Small Cinema in Moston.


Fine Casting

October 28, 2012 | By | No Comments

A film about language, craftsmanship, cinema and peoples’ stories. This is a short film about Shane O’Brien and his plaster casting business on Oldham Road, Manchester (‘Fine Castings‘). As well as being a fine craftsman, Shane is also fluent in 3 other languages (Spanish, Italian, French) and is a lover of world cinema, often visiting the Cornerhouse. Shane contributed to the Small Cinema in Moston project by creating the Oscars that were handed out to volunteers on the launch night.

This Film was Shot on Digital

June 26, 2012 | By | No Comments

Filmmaker and cinephile Ian Mantgani shares his documentary exploring the ‘tidal wave of digital projection’, and discusses his thoughts on the future of cinema.



Traditional photochemical film (whether nitrate, celluloid, polyester, whatever) looks beautiful, when projected, in a way that digital cinema does not. There’s a depth, a richness and an organic quality to it. That specialness, that quality, that thing you don’t get at home, is an essential part of going to the cinema.

The threat of digital cinema becoming the primary form of exhibition has been looming for over a decade. There was talk of it throughout the 1990s, when most films used the Digital Intermediate process, in which movies shot on film would be scanned digitally, colour-corrected and printed back onto film. Then, around the time of “The Phantom Menace,” George Lucas was trying to force digital projection into happening with Texas Instruments projectors that were by all accounts awful. The industry as a whole resisted the change, so I was keen to believe it would never happen. That respect for tradition would prevail.

But now it is happening, swiftly and mercilessly. Odeon threw out their film projectors in 2010, and went 100% digital. Similar moves have been occurring in America and around the world. UK cinemas are now, according to newspaper articles, two-thirds digital, but really I suspect it’s more – it’s so hard to find real film being projected nowadays. The independent cinemas that do, like Liverpool’s Plaza, are mainly doing so because they can’t afford the absurdly costly switch to digital, and they’re both finding it harder to get prints of new films and finding themselves in danger of going out of business if they can’t put up the cash for the new equipment. (It should be added that this new equipment is much more prone to obsolescence and to breakages that in-house technicians can’t fix. They’re very complicated, expensive pieces of IT that, like any pieces of IT, are supplanted by new models relatively quickly, as opposed to mechanical projectors, which will last for hundreds of years with proper care.)

Sundance London held a competition that asked entrants to make a 3-to-5-minute picture about a “Story of Our Time.” Given my lifelong passion for cinema, the depressingly accelerated progress of this switch to digital and the rise of similar projects like the Los Angeles-based ‘Save 35mm’ campaign, I couldn’t help use this an an opportunity to step into projection booths and document what was happening.


I’d like to give a standard positive boilerplate answer about how there’s more moviemakers than at any time since the silent era, and so many platforms on which to distribute work, but really, cinema as we know it is not even going to survive as an artefact unless passionate activists make that happen. In terms of the visual arts, yes, there’s loads of stuff out there – you can be wowed for hours, days, weeks, with the right arsenal of Vimeo links, for example. Digital tools help us create high-quality content cheaply, even if they’re not inherently cinematic. People will watch moving pictures for as long as we’re able to create them.

But cinema attendance has been dwindling for years, thanks to TV and video, and now there’s less reason to go to the movies than ever. Ten years ago, when I was reviewing films, you could go and see a film print at a matinee show for around £3. Now I find cinema tickets cost around £10, and all they show you is a high-quality digital video. Why would I pay an absurd price to see something I can see at home? Why would anyone? When you go to a multiplex, it’s made so much worse by the lack of ushers guarding the screenings and the lack of care that almost all staff have for the experience.

Cinema used to be something special and cheap, a treat for the masses. Now, more often than not, it’s unspecial and expensive. Distributors have been cutting costs through ‘innovations’ like digital projection, assuring us that it will bring us greater variety of programming and lower prices, but it never does. They save more, exhibitors and the public pay more, and the corporate grip tightens. In the long run, they’re cutting their own throats. One of the advantages of using 35mm film was that even the people who assumed the projection booth consisted of some guy pushing a video button would be surprised by how much the picture quality just popped. As good as digital has become, there’s no surprise and no magic to it. How do you now argue with someone who says “I’ll wait for the DVD,” or, “I’ll download it?”

My main hope for cinema is that independent cinemas find creative ways to treat their customers and provide surroundings that are comfortable, impressive and reasonably priced. And that pop-up film events and societies will make something special of the filmgoing experience, including using real film prints where possible. Vinyl records and pubs with homecooked food aren’t dead, after all – but they are premium experiences, and it’s sad that a good day out at the movies will similarly become something rarefied and unique, instead of something society expects as standard.



Wow, that’s a big question! A few disparate memories:

In 2002 I went to the Telluride Film Festival, which stands alone among major film festivals as having a special and pure atmosphere where publicity and schmoozing are sidelined in favour of people congregating for love of the flicks. I saw great films like “Morvern Callar” and “Bowling for Columbine,” and met some great, passionate people just standing in line and shooting the breeze. I saw bits of “Naqoyqatsi” in its outdoor screening, with Philip Glass just casually walking around and chatting to people. That was dreamlike.

I saw “The Shawshank Redemption” in 1995 with my dad, before it was a huge cult smash. That feeling of discovering something, and knowing my dad was as moved as I was, was just great.

I have loved seeing old favourites that I know from TV projected on a big screen. The Plaza have showed films like “Angels with Dirty Faces” and “Citizen Kane” – seeing them on a print is just thrilling. In London, the BFI and the Prince Charles regularly play revival flicks – I think of them as hallowed ground. When I lived in Sheffield a few years ago, I used to love going to Sheffield University Film Unit, the student union’s own cinema, where similarly I saw old favourites like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” in a proper theatrical environment.

One of the neat things about movies is how you can see them as a kid and they take you into an adult world. Pauline Kael used to often write about how in a world of visual arts, we learn how to talk, how to stand, how to kiss, how to smoke, from the movies. Gene Siskel used to talk about how the movies would be one place he’d go as a kid and feel like a proper grown up – handing over the money for his ticket, getting his own choice of snack, all of that. On a related note, some of my favourite memories of movies have been the naughty thrill of getting into films that I was supposed to be too young to see: I went with my family to see “Kindergarten Cop” in Ireland when I was 7; it was 12-and-over only in the UK, but in Ireland it was under-12s-accompanied. I knew a guy in the now-closed 051 cinema who let me in to see the 18-cert “Breaking the Waves” when I was 14, which was fun enough, and then the film itself blew me away.

Some people see the movies as mainly social – they remember big outings with friends, or date nights at the movies. For me as a cineaste, the primary relationship is between me and the screen. But then, the beauty of seeing a film in a communal environment is that you have the interdependent thrill of having your own personal experience, and sharing it with others. I remember seeing “Home Alone” in America, loving being a kid seeing an onscreen kid getting away with crazy hijinks, and my parents and I loving being in a country where adult audiences seemed to laugh much more uproariously than people in England did. I saw “The Dictator” a few weeks ago with my girlfriend, and it was fun to turn to each other and laugh, and to laugh at each other’s silly laughs, for that matter. Recently I saw an outdoor screening of “Nosferatu” projected up against a white wall at the side of a local library – the projection was from a DVD, and the movie looked crap, but there was a palpable thrill at the uniqueness of locals getting together for this impromptu little event. If it had been projected on film, it woulda been out of this world!



In terms of making films, I’m not sure. I was working on a few fiction projects that have all fallen through at once! In terms of documentaries, there are so many worthwhile subjects out there that it can be daunting to know what to pick.

In terms of general business, even though I live in London, I grew up in Liverpool, and there’s one particular derelict cinema there that I’d love to revive as a movie-house showing both digital and film in one big screen, as well as having a cafe/bar and library off the lobby area. Laying the groundwork for that might be a good collaboration with me and A Small Cinema, eh?

Follow Ian on twitter  @mant_a_tangi


Ian and his prized 8mm projector

Adelphi Cinema, Kenyon Lane

May 7, 2012 | By | No Comments

Brian Lever told me about a number of former cinemas in Moston, but nearby on Kenyon Lane was a real treasure, an art deco building that now houses a family run hardware shop. We decided to take a bit of a tour… Read More

Future Shorts spring 2012 – Watch Again

March 31, 2012 | By | No Comments

If you missed the last event, you can see some of the films again on the links below Read More

Watch again…. future shorts and local heroes

January 28, 2012 | By | No Comments

If you missed the screening, or simply want to watch some of the films again, i’ve put those that I could find online below. Enjoy!


The External World from David OReilly on Vimeo.

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