Southsea Community Cinema and Arts Centre is a new home for the arts in Southsea as Portsmouth Film Society founder sees dream of 10 years become a reality
‘This has been my dream for 10 years’ – the opening of a new community cinema in the heart of Southsea is the culmination of a decade of work for a film society.
Southsea Community Cinema and Arts Centre opened yesterday in Palmerston Road with a launch event featuring local performers, music, and screenings.
Formerly a branch of Halifax bank, the building has been converted into a cinema, and has a meeting room with photography and film capabilities, plus a cafe.
The new home of the Portsmouth Film Society, the art centre’s programme will introduce local people to a range of art, films, theatre, music and entertainment.
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Aysegul Epengin, director of Portsmouth Film Society, has worked tirelessly over the past two years to open what she describes as a ‘boutique cinema’.
She told The News: ‘I’m feeling confused, excited, and scared.
‘This has been my dream for 10 years.
‘It’s still like a dream, I cannot believe it is happening.
‘We lost our venue in the lockdown, and for two years we have been searching desperately.
‘It was a huge financial risk but we thought: either the society is going to die or we keep going and take the risk to make it happen.
‘There is the need in Southsea for a cinema and arts centre.
‘We took the initiative and we hope people will support us.’
Funding for the project came from an online campaign, and the cinema was also backed by Portsmouth City Council.
Aysegul expressed her thanks also to Get Set Solent, Power to Change, and the British Film Institute.
She added: ‘I hope we will attract different kinds of audiences - elderly, youths, young children - and we will do dementia-friendly screenings.’
Miles Hanmore, a University of Portsmouth undergraduate studying film industries and creative writing, is one of around 25 to 30 volunteers with Portsmouth Film Society.
He said: ‘I have always loved cinema, it is the definitive art form.
‘It creates this perfect representation of the real world in interesting ways.’
Miles, who has been with the group for more than two years, added: ‘We have been in so many venues over the years, so having this space all to ourselves is one of the best things that happened to us. This is now the home of Portsmouth Film Society.’