Share Your Curzon Memories

Film project commemorating the former Ormeau Road institution calls for stories and images from Belfast cinema-goers of yesteryear

Artwork by Francis McCrory, featured as part of the Naughton Gallery's 10th anniversary exhibition in 2011

It is not by coincidence that the Ormeau Road in Belfast was where Paul McNally decided to set up his design studio, Stylografik, and the place Orla Smyth chose to locate her first Kaffe O coffee shop in 2014.

Both grew up along the thoroughfare, one of the city's oldest, in the 1980s and '90s, when it was very different, for many different reasons. Since then the road has changed immeasurably, and yet over that period of time the sense of community among its people has always remained prevalent.

One major hub of this community before its demolition in 2003 was the Curzon, a five screen cinema designed by John McBride Neill, which opened in 1936.

curzon

McNally and Smyth often look across the road at the space which now occupies the former Curzon site with a twinge of sadness and, while wishing cannot make it reappear, a seed was sown that there must be many people out there who held similar views and had fantastic memories of the famous institution to share.

As a result the pair have come together to launch The Curzon Project, which aims to revive the cinema's glory days through archive footage and personal stories, while at the same time highlighting the importance of independant cinema and filmmakers.

The project will include the production of a film, exhibition and screen heritage aspects overseen by fellow Ormeau native and former Curzon regular Sara Gunn-Smith, of Film Hub NI. To help reach the £3000 funding target a series of organic t-shirts and prints commemorating the Curzon have been designed and produced, which will be available for a limited time on www.stylografik.com from April 5.

Curzon Project

A percentage of profits will be channelled to local filmmakers to make a short documentary on people's personal experiences of the Curzon, while the rest will go towards bringing it back to life in a special Ormeau Road screening planned for later this year.

The Curzon Project will get underway on Wednesday, March 22 at Kaffe O (411 Ormeau Road), where cinema-goers are invited to bring along and share any memories they might have, or have captured. These clips will form part of the launch short film set for early April, before the main film is produced during June and July.

Those unable to attend are encouraged to send their old photos and stories to @curzonproject on Twitter or to projectcurzon@gmail.com, and be part of the Curzon revival.