Bradford's National Media Museum returns to being independent cinema operator

James Rice, INDY Senior Film and Development Manager, Kathryn Penny, National Science and Media Museum Head of Film Operation and Pete Johnson, INDY Head of Operations. Picture: National Science and Media Museum.
James Rice, INDY Senior Film and Development Manager, Kathryn Penny, National Science and Media Museum Head of Film Operation and Pete Johnson, INDY Head of Operations. Picture: National Science and Media Museum.

The National Science and Media Museum has today announced it will be appointing a new company to deliver its film programme when it returns to being an independent cinema operator later this year.

Indy Cinema Group (INDY), which provides bespoke film programmes for more than 50 independent venues across the world - spanning the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand - along with film festivals and touring cinema organisations, was selected as the programming partner.

Bradford's National Science and Media Museum. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Bradford's National Science and Media Museum. Picture: Tony Johnson.

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It follows a five-year partnership with Picturehouse Cinemas, which ends when the contract finishes on October 31.

The museum’s head of screen operation, Kathryn Penny, said: “We’ve been hugely impressed with INDY’s commitment to understanding our ambition for the cinema programme to be embedded within the museum’s activities, reflect the diversity of our audiences, and deliver community-focused screenings as well as the international blockbusters.

"We’re confident they’ll put our unique facilities, from IMAX to Cinerama, to the fullest possible use.

“I’d like to thank Picturehouse for the past five years, and we now look forward to operating as a fully independent venue once again. It is an incredible opportunity, and I’m delighted we’ll be able to benefit from all of INDY’s expertise.”

Pete Johnson, INDY’s head of operations, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be working with such an important cinema as it takes the bold step to becoming a fully independent cinema operator again and very much feels like the beginning of a fantastic partnership.

"This will undoubtedly be the most unique venue we programme for and is a film lover’s dream - you can see original prints on an incredible range of formats from the archives under the same roof as the latest 3D IMAX blockbuster and the programming possibilities to tie into the museums heritage and exhibitions are endless. We can’t wait to get started.”

The final screening in the Picturehouse programme will be The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) on October 31.

Upcoming plans for the new partnership between the museum and INDY include new blockbusters such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Frozen 2, both playing in the IMA, films such as Last Christmas and new work from master directors such as Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You.

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There will also be "ground-breaking" new cinema from all around the world, including Alejandro Landes' hallucinatory guerrilla-war hostage drama Monos, and So Long, My Son, Wang Xiaoshui's family epic.

The programme will also explore a broad range of classic cinema, starting with a special ‘Breathless Sensation’ series to accompany the museum’s exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of British cinema pioneer RW Paul, with screenings of King Kong (1933), Mary Poppins (1964) and The Matrix (1999).

The National Science and Media Museum boasts "unrivalled facilities" – three individual cinema theatres, the only public Cinerama screen outside the USA, the ability to screen digital 4k, 35mm, 70mm, as well as IMAX 3D on the biggest screen in West Yorkshire.

It will also be launching a new membership scheme to come into effect in November but existing Picturehouse members will continue to get their same benefits for the full duration of their membership.