Cinema venture marks first year in business

Triskel Christchurch champions art house and leftfield film screenings in Cork, Colette Sheridan reports

Cinema venture marks first year in business

TRISKEL Christchurch Cinema has just celebrated its first anniversary. From timeless classics to gritty documentaries as well as art house and world cinema, the operation caters for a broad range of film fans.

Since January 6,000 people have attended Triskel cinema screenings, which comfortably seat 150.

Cinema manager Chris O’Neill, who used to be the programmer at the now defunct Kino Cinema, says the past 12 months have been encouraging. “It has been a good year. We’re getting the numbers we were hoping for. We are very much trying to cover all aspects of cinema. We’re not just doing foreign language art house films. We also show documentaries as well as quirky mainstream films from all over the world. It’s like a rebranding of what Triskel used to do before its film club ended around 2004.”

O’Neill points out that art house cinema “has a certain connotation, whereas cultural cinema has a broader spectrum. Basically, we’re interested in bringing to Cork any cinema that is a bit outside the mainstream. We also like to show Irish films.”

Triskel Christchurch Cinema has a partnership with the IFI (Irish Film Institute) which programmes the cinema. A recent hit film at the venue was Marley, a documentary about reggae star, Bob Marley, directed by Kevin MacDonald, featuring rare footage.

“Over 400 people came to see that film. We had one night that was sold out. We were the only cinema in Cork City to show it. There was just one screening of it in a suburban Cork cinema.” The biggest attendance was for the multiple Oscar Award-winning silent movie, The Artist. It was screened over nine days in February and was seen by 1,000 people. The Audrey Hepburn classic, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was another hit. It drew an audience that was, to an extent, new to Triskel Christchurch. “It was amazing to see people coming in, looking around the venue in surprise.”

A documentary that caught the imagination of the public was Dreams of a Life, which was about a young woman, Joyce Vincent, who died in her bedsit in North London in 2003. Her body wasn’t discovered for three years. The director, Carol Morley, attended a screening where she conducted a Q&A session with the audience.

“We try as much as possible to have Q&A sessions with directors. Another director that came to Triskel was Jamie Thraves. He answered questions about The Cry of the Owl, which he adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel. He also came for another Q&A session for Treacle Junior. That film stars Irish actor, Aidan Gillen, who has become Triskel Christchurch Cinema’s first patron. We’re delighted to have him on board.”

Despite advancing technology which allows people to access films that have a narrow window between theatrical release and DVD and online availability, O’Neill says that people still appreciate the experience of seeing a film on a big screen with a good sound system. “It’s one of the best cheap nights out.” The cinema offers a ‘Dine & Movie’ deal whereby people can park at the Q Multi Storey car park on the Grand Parade, dine at Soho Bar and Restaurant and see a movie for €25 per head. “It’s a saving of 30% and is very popular.”

The straight back pews are part of the charm of the Christchurch building, but some people complain that they’re uncomfortable. “We’re looking at ways to improve the seating, but we need to respect and preserve the building, which is listed.”

O’Neill doesn’t see the Triskel Christchurch Cinema as being in competition with the Cork Cine Club in the Crawford. That club screens films on either Thursdays or Fridays and has a different programming source. “We try to support each other. We take their flyers and they take ours.”

Currently showing at Triskel Christchurch is The Raid, an Indonesian action film which previewed at the venue some time ago. Cafe de Flore, a French Canadian drama, starring Vanessa Paradis, is being screened until Wednesday. On Jun 14, Ghost Blues: Rory Gallagher, will be shown, featuring Slash, The Edge and Johnny Marr.

The film follows the musician’s life and career and contains footage not seen in the television version. There will also be a mini science fiction season on Jun 25-26 in conjunction with a ‘Curious City’ event at Blackrock Observatory to include Forbidden Planet, Fahrenheit 451 and Robocop.

* www.triskelartscentre.ie

Picture: Pictured at the Triskel Arts Film Screening: Chris O'Neill, Triskel Cinema Manager, Ben Cuddihy, General Manager Triskel Arts Centre and Rebecca Daly, Film Maker

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