The ArtHouse responds to new cinema opening in Crouch End
The Crouch End Picturehouse is now showing films in Tottenham Lane, yards away from the independent ArtHouse cinema, which opened in March last year.
Independent cinema The ArtHouse came together through an alliance between a Game of Thrones actor, a director, and a former teacher at Rokesly Junior School.
The trio, actor George Georgiou, 37, married couple Jenny Hansford, 49, and director Sam Neophytou, 54, now jointly own the cinema.
They opened the cinema in March last year, although they planned it for years.
“Had we known that the Picturehouse would open, we wouldn’t have ploughed in all of our money, all of our ideas,” George said.
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When they opened the cinema, he said that there was an “urgent need for a creative space - there were so many actors, creatives and directors”.
The Picturehouse, which opened last week, received planning permission in December 2014, although the project has been in the making for almost a decade.
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The ArtHouse owners say that they have tried to reach out to the Picturehouse, but that there has not been a coherent response.
“In an ideal world, we would have a working relationship,” Jenny said. “We don’t want to show exactly the same films at exactly the same times - that will frustrate people.”
Jenny, George and Sam are proud that the ArtHouse is one of the few independent cinemas in London. As a business they are proud to pay London Living Wage.
George is concerned about increasing gentrification in places such as Soho. “We’re getting a lot of displaced people,” he said. “It’s the job of the community to support businesses and allow them to stay here.
“Crouch End has always been about small businesses.
“We don’t want a situation where all the artists move out - and we get corporate shop after corporate shop.”
Sam and George, both Greek-Cypriot, met when Sam cast George in a TV pilot about their community and they are committed to showing diverse voices.
At the cinema, they present a monthly LGBT night and promote women and ethnic minorities in film.
The difference between the ArtHouse and a chain, George explained, is that the owners can have creative control over the listings.
“We’re creatives rather than businessmen,” George said.