Trendsetting cinematic experience

!(feature_c)! Backyard Cinema
_London Fields Brewery, Hackney
Sunday 21 July 2013_

Fighting against Lovebox’s myriad charms, Backyard Cinema offered an alternative option for Hackney’s various trend-setters and trend-ignorers, on a smaller scale but no less fun. What began as a homemade cinema in North London back garden has grown into an attempt to reinvent the cinema experience with a variety of quirky additions (some deliberate, some not so). Now they run mini film festivals at interesting venues across London with a selection of cult classics and more up-to-date movies.

This weekend was held at Hackney’s London Fields Brewery, a craft brewer well known within local beer enthusiasts for its Hackney Hopster. Obviously, they supplied the beer for the weekend – a much more preferable situation than a warm £5 bottle of Carlsberg drunk in a megaplex cinema. With beer you need food, and Backyard Cinema delivered there too with various pop-up food stalls, including a Korean BBQ burritos. In between and after films we were entertained by a jazz band and a DJ spinning a wide variety of interesting tunes, including Marvin Gaye and Prefuse 73. As I said – not a usual cinema experience.

What began as a homemade cinema in North London back garden has grown into an attempt to reinvent the cinema experience.

Did I tell you we were there to watch a film? You almost wouldn’t need to bother, but we did. Earlier attendees had enjoyed the cult (The Big Lebowski, Tremors, Jurassic Park from the 1990s) and the new (The Hobbit and Trance). We enjoyed something from the latter category – The Life of Pi, Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning adaptation of Yann Martel’s extraordinary philosophical novel. The film is cleverly realised and, at times, staggeringly beautiful, particularly on the big screen. Perfect for a Sunday evening, especially whilst lounging in the selection of deck chairs and beanbags on offer. Backyard Cinema’s sound and vision at this bespoke venue was good too, though one of the non-deliberate quirks was the rumble of trains from the nearby overground station. These didn’t really affect the film, rather they added to the homespun charm of the whole affair.

At the same cost of watching a film at your local cinema, this is a very enjoyable alternative with some added extras. Find out all the latest from Backyard Cinema at

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