The Somerset House Film4 Summer Screen 2013
I had my first experience of Somerset House’s Film4 Summer Screen this year. The world première of ‘About Time’ was the first of my three bookings at Somerset House, next was the triple bill marathon of Mean Girls’, ‘Carrie’, & ‘The Loved Ones’, and finally, the world première of ‘The Way, Way Back’. And I’m happy to say that this was perhaps my best cinema experience I’ve ever had in London.
Film4 Summer Screen was on for a grand 14 days this year from August 8-21 at Somerset House’s The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court this year; featuring world premières, double bills, and triple bill marathons.
It may also be worth mentioning that I was happy to discover that Somerset House provided cycle racks within the screening area, which was great for cyclists worried they would have to lock their bikes up on the roads outside, having to walk potentially long distances to retrieve their bikes while they were at the mercy of thieves and rascals. The weather was also surprisingly fine the three days I visited, but we were told in advance that the screenings would go ahead come rain or shine, so it’s recommended you come prepared just in case. When the weather is fine and the skies are clear, the evening and night sky are beautiful to lie back and gaze at.
Besides the film screenings themselves, there were also exclusive ‘Behind the Screen’ talks between writers and directors either of the films showing during the 14 days, or whose films are regularly screened on the channel Film 4. This was a good opportunity to hear first hand from the creative minds behind the films, and get some insights into their inspirations and what drives them personally. Not to mention a good way to pass the time while waiting for the film to start roughly 3 hours after it’s recommended that you turn up. Having exclusive VIP-ish designated seating after the Behind the Screen’ talk is always a nice perk too. It also means you don’t need to worry about finding a space to sit within the immense crowd of movie-goeres. If you can afford the extra price, I would definitely recommended going to a talk prior to the actual film screening, to make the most of the experience. However there are very limited spaces available, so advanced knowledge of when tickets are available is key.
Somerset House’s Film4 Summer Screen is unlike other pop-up screens or outdoor screenings in London, in part because of the sheer scale of the venue and screen, the high profile location, as well as the exclusive opportunities only available to Somerset House.