Phoenix Cinema: Fundraising weekend launched to boost campaign to keep cinema independent

The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley. Picture: Siorna Ashby

The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley. Picture: Siorna Ashby - Credit: Archant

The Phoenix Cinema is holding a series of fundraising events in March in its continued battle to stay independent.

The weekend-long programme has been launched by the cinema’s trustees and is backed by film director and Phoenix patron Ken Loach.

It includes a film quiz on Friday March 15, a screening of children’s film Big Hero 6 on the Saturday in the morning, before the cinema will show Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams, followed by a Q&A with its director Mat Whitecross.

There will also be tours of the cinema and the projection booth and a talk about its history. The cinema will celebrate its 110th anniversary in 2020.

So far the cinema’s own fundraising campaign has raised nearly £8000. Total fundraising, including a raffle before Christmas and a crowdfunder by campaign group Save the Phoenix, has taken the figure to more than £10,000.

Last year campaigners worked to keep the cinema independent after an announcement that it would be taken over by the Curzon chain.

It culminated in a fractious public meeting at the venue in East Finchley, with members of the community expressing their unhappiness with the plans. Former chair of trustees, James Kessler QC, stood down at the end of 2018.

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The campaign was supported by Sir Michael Palin, rock legend Robert Plant, and Mr Loach.

Mr Loach said: “I am delighted that the Phoenix trustees and staff have declared their intention to make every effort to keep the cinema independent. The Phoenix, one of the oldest cinemas in the country, has a unique identity that combines quality programming with education and community activities for all ages. Please help the Phoenix rise again with your donations and support – and enjoy visiting this special cinema”

Chair of the Phoenix Cinema board of trustees, Alison Gold said people can donate online or in person.

“We saw an outpouring of support for the independence of the Phoenix at the end of 2018 and we now want people to demonstrate their support by getting behind our campaign. We welcome large and small donations to our online appeal or to the cinema in person,” she said.