Manager of Picturehouse cinema: “I want to go back to the golden days”

The highly-anticipated Picturehouse has finally opened, complete with four cinema screens, one smaller screen available to hire - and even a designated buggy space.

General manager Tom Roberts and marketing manager Ian Mantgani say they know their audience - and that includes the littlest residents of Crouch End.

They’ll be running a “kid’s club” with £1.50 tickets for children and accompanying adults. “It’s why we call it the Big Scream,” Tom said.

The venue, part of a chain owned by Cineworld, plans to show indie and arthouse films, as well as blockbusters, but they are not looking to establish a working relationship with the ArtHouse.

“We’re not programming in response to them,” Tom said. “We’re very different places to be.”

Ian claims that he did not know about the ArtHouse’s plans to open when he first visited the Crouch End site.

“Two years ago when I came here, I didn’t expect it to become the north London cinema mecca,” he said.

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Both Tom and Ian, however, anticipate a “friendly” relationship with their neighbour cinema, and will be dropping by for a coffee, pastry - and even to see a film.

“If I lived here, I would go to both,” said Tom, who is planning his move to Crouch End from east London.

Rather than worrying about the competition, the pair are hoping to revive the golden age of cinema.

“In the early twentieth century there were cinemas on every street corner,” Ian said. “Then we had the decline of cinema-goers in the ‘60s and ‘80s. I want to go back to the golden days.”

Tom is especially excited about trying out their new projector which can show films on 35mm film, rather than just limiting the cinema to digital films.

“It’s a different experience – it’s that whole clicking of the projector,” Tom said. “Some films just glow - they have this indescribable something at 35mm.”

While films shown in Crouch End will be picked centrally, Tom says that there is flexibility. “If 100 people come in and ask for a film, we would put it on,” he said.