Film society unveils plan to open community cinema in historic Southsea seafront fort  

PORTSMOUTH Film Society is hoping to use Lumps Fort in Southsea for a new community cinema.

Film Society founder and project co-ordinator, Aysegul Epengin, hopes the proposed development at the Rose Gardens will provide a multi-purpose venue for the people of Southsea.

Aysegul Epengin, founder of the Portsmouth Film Society. 'Picture: Sarah Standing (170186-2555)

Aysegul Epengin, founder of the Portsmouth Film Society. 'Picture: Sarah Standing (170186-2555)

‘If we get the go-ahead, this will be a tremendous facility for families and people to enjoy. In addition to showing films we can also use the auditorium for theatre productions, intimate concerts and even as a business conference facility,’ said Aysegul.

The new proposal will include a 100-seat cinema and a cafe run by the Garage Lounge, which already has a coffee bar in Southsea.

The society’s bid has already passed the first stage of council’s procurement process with the second and final stage due to be ratified on February 21.

Aysegul believes the development would provide a new cinematic experience for the people of Portsmouth.

Lumps Fort

Lumps Fort

‘Unlike modern multi-screen venues a community cinema is also about the social experience. It is about being part of a club in which as well as watching a movie people can meet for a coffee and a chat. After the movie there is an allocated time for people to discuss  and debate what the they have seen. We also often invite in guest speakers to talk about some of the themes present in the films,’ she explained.

The society has said that any development will maintain the historical heritage of the Grade II-listed building.

‘It is a 300sq m building which is currently not being used,' said Aysegul. 'Lumps Fort was built in 1861 as the last military fort in the city. During the Second World War it was used for special forces training of commandos involved in Operation Frankton. We will ensure that any developments respect the historic heritage of the fort.'

If successful in their bid to secure the premises the society is looking to raise £100,000.

Vision for the Fort Lumps cinema.

Vision for the Fort Lumps cinema.

The organisation currently has 50 permanent members and more than 100 associated members.

‘We currently operate out of the Eldon Building at the university,' said Aysegul. 'However we are restricted to two screenings per day. In addition to providing a fantastic facility for the community this will also enable us to have a permanent home.'