New Southsea community cinema plans by Portsmouth Film Society take a big step forward

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THE group behind plans for a new community cinema hope to have it up and running by Easter.

Portsmouth Film Society (PFS) is set to take over the lease on the former Halifax branch in Palmerston Road, Southsea and begin conversion work as soon as possible.

A planning application is expected to be submitted any day now.

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The proposed Southsea Community Cinema and Art Centre will include a 40-seat cinema, an educational centre, a small cafe area and display area for local artists.

A mock-up of how the proposed Southsea Community Cinema could look at 1-3 Palmerston Road, SouthseaA mock-up of how the proposed Southsea Community Cinema could look at 1-3 Palmerston Road, Southsea
A mock-up of how the proposed Southsea Community Cinema could look at 1-3 Palmerston Road, Southsea

Aysegul Epengin, the director of PFS said: ‘For years our members have been asking for a cinema in Southsea.

‘We are able bring it to you in a new format that meets the changing ways that people are interacting with films and other visual media.

‘We believe that cinema can be everywhere in the communally not just in front of the TV set.

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‘The arts of moving images, digital art, even dance and theatre performance can be sharable with our audience.’

The society has been looking to create a permanent home for several years now.

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Plans to take over Lumps Fort in Southsea collapsed in 2019 after the council rejected the society’s bid for not being financially viable.

Aysegul said: ‘We have been desperately searching for a place for years.

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‘The building is owned by a private landlord and we have been working closely with him on this. We also have some angel investors who are helping us.

‘I’m preparing to submit the planning application now and if everything goes well, we hope to be open by Easter.’

Plans to regenerate the former Knight and Lee site at the opposite end of the Palmerston Road precinct also include a cinema.

But Aysegul thinks they will be catering to a different market. She added: ‘We’ve already talked to the group behind that about what they are planning to do there, but they wanted to go with a commercial film provider. It’s not the same kind of thing as we plan to do.’

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PFS has worked with a broad range of community groups and organisations, and will continue to run film educational programs for vulnerable groups including youth groups/children, recovery groups and immigrants.

Working with partners and sponsors, PFS will offer non-mainstream films several times a week. These may be complemented by guest speaker panels, quiz nights, film festivals, Q&A sessions, talks and courses.

The society has used several sites for its screenings over the years, often at the University of Portsmouth or The Kings Theatre, as well as hosting outdoor and drive-in screenings.

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