The Curzon Project Launches
T-shirts and prints depicting the beloved Ormeau Road cinema go on sale in bid to fund 'dream documentary' to be made this summer
Last month Culture NI brought you news about the Curzon Project, a new endeavour by Belfast film-goers hoping to recapture the spirit of the now-demolished cinema and its surrounding community on the city's Ormeau Road.
Resident businessowners and once regular attendees Paul McNally (Stylografik) and Orla Smyth (Kaffe O), together with Sara Gunn-Smyth of Film Hub NI, set out to highlight the importance of independent filmmaking and revive the institution's glory days through a new documentary looking at the legacy it has left on the area.
Members of the public were invited to share their memories of the Curzon at an informal launch event held at Kaffe O, with many more recalling experiences through Culture NI's Facebook and Twitter pages.
'The Curzon was where I saw my first ever film in a cinema, The Aristocats. I queued around the block to see many films here as a young teenager,' said Sharon Matchett on Facebook. One person meanwhile chose the picture house as the place to pop the question, as Barbara Martin wrote: 'My husband proposed to me there while watching Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in 1968.'
Others had slightly scarier recollections. 'The only time I was in the Curzon was to see Silence of the Lambs with my husband and another couple,' noted Sally Campton. 'I was so traumatised by Hopkins' performance as Hannibal Lecter that I couldn't face the pepperoni pizza we went for after the film.'
As was a common occurrence in Belfast and around Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Caroline Johnstone remembers screenings being evacuated due to bomb scares, 'but I also remember being traumatised by Tommy, and going to see Grease and Star Wars three or four times,' she said.
Overwhelmed by the response, the team behind the project produced the above video with help from Stuart Sloan of Ormeau-based film club Second Chance Cinema. It features testimonies from former staff, customers and fans of the Curzon. The outpouring has further driven the team to make the project a success.
To help fund the documentary, which is hoped to be shot, edited and screened in the summer, a range of original merchandise depicting the Curzon has been produced, including high quality organic t-shirts and giclée prints. These can now be purchased from www.stylografik.com/curzon and will remain on sale until May 18, after which further announcements about the film are due to be made.
Orla, Paul and Sara are each urging the public to get behind the project: 'We’ve brought our three organisations together to launch this project, which we believe is an important legacy for the much missed Curzon and for those people for whom it was a valued part of the local community. We encourage you to get involved by buying a t-shirt and/or a print and spreading the word around your fellow Curzon loving friends. The Curzon was a significant part of so many people’s lives so let’s bring it back and relive it – even if just for a short time!'