Centenary film showcase takes historic Leeds cinema back to 1914

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A century of cinema has kept West Yorkshire informed and entertained at a historic picture house like no other.

Hyde Park Picture House, in Brudenell Road, Leeds, has been a constant presence in the city since November 7 1914 and to celebrate its centenary a special evening of live music from the After Hours Rauchestra swing band, period screenings and newsreel showings has been organised to transport cinema goers back 100 years.

At the Hyde Park Picture House, Brudenell Allan Foster,  chief projectionist for  14 years.

At the Hyde Park Picture House, Brudenell Allan Foster, chief projectionist for 14 years.

The ‘A Night at the Cinema in 1914’ event forms part of the 28th Leeds International Film Festival and is one of six free screenings at the Picture House tomorrow.

When it opened the Grade II listed Picture House, one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas in the UK, immediately had an important role in screening news bulletins and morale boosting dramas for families of Leeds servicemen who had just enlisted in the First World War.

Wendy Cook, Hyde Park Picture House’s general manager, said: “Getting to this point has only been made possible because of all the amazing support we’ve received over the years.

“So to the countless staff members and volunteers, the thousands of wonderful audience members and our many partners and friends in this fantastic city, we’d like to thank each and every one of you for helping us get this far. Here’s to the next 100 years.”

Hyde Park Picture House, in Brudenell Road, Hyde Park.

Hyde Park Picture House, in Brudenell Road, Hyde Park.

First screening the patriotic drama ‘Their Only Son’ on its opening night in 1914, the Picture House was described in the Yorkshire Evening Post as “the cosiest in Leeds” and has since managed to adapt to the evolving world of cinema.

Industry challenges such as the transition to sound, the competition from television, the multiplex boom and home entertainment were all overcome, although in 1989 the landmark had to be saved from closure by Leeds City Council. The cinema has now developed a film programme, dedicated to screening independent, art-house and classic films from around the world.

A second event has been planned to celebrate the centenary on November 22, when a film commissioned by the Picture House and arts organisation Pavilion by artists Luke Fowler and Mark Fell is screened.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for culture and skills, added: “Leeds has a unique history with the art form of film dating back to October of 1888 when Louis Le Prince captured the first bit of moving image footage on Leeds Bridge. By celebrating the centenary of the Hyde Park Picture House we are celebrating a culture of film watching and making in our city that we can all enjoy and that Leeds City Council is proud to be part of supporting.”

Hyde Park Picture House, in Brudenell Road, Hyde Park.

Hyde Park Picture House, in Brudenell Road, Hyde Park.

For information on the 100th anniversary events and the rest of this year’s Leeds International Film Festival, which runs until November 20, visit www.leedsfilm.com.

LEEDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Every November Leeds hosts the largest film festival in England outside of London.

Welcoming thousands of film lovers to more than 250 screenings all over the city, the Leeds International Film Festival presents a broad range of films from November 5 to 20 this year.

It features world premieres of new releases, hit comedies, dramas, world cinema, short films, experimental works as well as animation and Japanese anime.

Since 2012 the Leeds International Film Festival has been an Academy Award Qualifying Festival through its short film awards.

This year venues include the Everyman Cinema at Trinity Leeds, the Royal Armouries Museum and Leeds Town Hall.