Cinema City pledge to film fans

LORNA MARSH Film fans have been reassured that Norwich's much loved art house cinema will not sell out when it gets taken over by a London-based chain after its grand reopening.


Film fans were last night reassured that Norwich's much loved art house cinema will not sell out when it gets taken over by a London-based chain after its grand reopening.

Cinema City's present director David Litchfield is handing over the reins of the business to Picturehouse, which manages a national circuit of independent cinemas and has given funding for the building's redevelopment.

The cinema's board of trustees asked Picturehouse to take on the day to day running of the business from October 19 when Mr Litchfield leaves and the cinema reopens after a multi-million pound makeover with state-of-the-art facilities and three screens in place of the former one.

A spokesman for the cinema said that the decision to hand over management came about following a successful five year partnership with Picturehouse enabling it to obtain advantageous deals on films and show them earlier than would have been possible if it were programming in isolation.

The cinema will retain its original name, its own staff for its educational programme and its board of trustees.

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Gabriel Swartland, spokesman for Picturehouse, said: "In practical terms this means that when the cinema re-opens in October the board will work closely with Picturehouse Cinemas on the future operation of the cinema… the programming style will be little changed, indeed this is guaranteed by the contract between the two parties.

"The board is confident that Picturehouse Cinemas will provide the quality of cinema that Norwich has become accustomed to and deserves.

"The cornerstone of Picturehouse Cinemas' philosophy is in programming the very best in arthouse, independent, foreign language and classic revivals, indeed all the film styles that Cinema City has championed for over 25 years."

Mr Litchfield said: "It has been a wonderful decade bringing films to the cinemagoers of Norwich and Norfolk. Realising the development of a new three screen cinema has been an extraordinary challenge but I am proud of what has been achieved and confident that I will be leaving behind a venue that will be much loved and valued."

The new three screen complex at the medieval building features modern projection and sound systems, top-of the range seats and a new bar and restaurant.

Parts of the building that have lain unseen for many years will be opened up and the popular courtyard will be covered with a new glass canopy.

Picturehouse Cinemas operate many independent cinemas around the country including London's Curzon Soho and Mayfair, the Cambridge Picturehouse, and cinemas in Oxford, Exeter, York and Brighton.

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