Exploding Cinema – a night for film lovers

Picture from explodingcinema.org
Picture from explodingcinema.org

Stephanie Davis checks out the monthly Exploding Cinema

Greeted by two friendly members at the front desk, I entered a dark and busy room with a large huddle of film enthusiasts. Across the ceiling and along the walls were projections of spiralling letters that spelled out Exploding Cinema.

As a monthly event, filmmakers from Brixton and beyond gather to share their short films. Tonight the venue is a good old-fashioned boozer, The Canterbury Arms, with its comforting yet worn feel – think carpet, dart boards and a large curved bar. The screenings took place in one half of the pub while in the other half locals drank and celebrated a baby shower.

The Exploding Cinema Club has come a long way since it first started out from the back of a sun tan oil factory in Brixton. Since then it has since hosted evenings in venues from pubs to churches to clubs. They still do what they’ve also always done though – create a relaxed environment for people to watch and discuss low (and no) budget film.

So, intrigued by the local filmmaking talent, I ordered a pint and found a vantage point from which to watch the enormous projector screen.

Showcasing films from Dublin to Brisbane, and not afraid of breaking boundaries, they have in the past screened genres from political protest and experimental through to pornography. Films length varies from 2-20 minutes. It all feels pretty democratic and anyone can get involved, adding to the evening’s eclectic nature.

Exploding Cinema
Exploding Cinema

Tonight, my favourite screening was an arthouse film, ‘Moment by Moment’ by Nathan Harmer. Capturing hectic movement across central London, the audience watches a robotic-like crowd surge down stairwells and into the tube. The colours are blurred; all seems hazy. Much of a normal day in central London, or even a late night out in Brixton, I guess.

As if to highlight the diversity of film it was followed by a poignant documentary about the current crisis in Spain that focused on the chaotic yet tragic reality for citizens of Barcelona.

And as if this cinematic variation wasn’t enough, during the interval a Latino duo took to the front to sing and rap to Reggaeton beats. Needless to say, the electro-urban vibe got me wiggling my hips.

So, if you’re a film lover or filmmaker and want to see, share and discuss, then Exploding Cinema is for you. Or if you’re simply after a different night out, it’s worth signing up to their mailing list to find out about forthcoming events.

The next Exploding Cinema, Ignite Your Cells, is at Canterbury Arms on November 8.

Exploding Cinema Dive-In at Brockwell Park Lido, Brixton 1993 from THE EXPLODING CINEMA! on Vimeo.


  1. Next show…..EXPLODING CINEMA
    Friday 8th November 2013
    The Canterbury Arms, Brixton

    Come and singe your mittens at the Exploding Guy Fawkes Spectacular !

    Ahhhh season of mists, mellow fruitfulness, conkers, flu, gunpowder and treason and plot…the Exploding returns with a cellar full of incendiary short films, digital art, D.I.Y. video, performance and eye scorching visuals. Featuring an MC to introduce the films, Q&A’s with the filmmakers, live music in the intervals, and spectacular prize raffles.

    Doors 7.30pm, Show starts 8pm
    Admission £5

    The Canterbury Arms
    8, Canterbury Crescent
    SW9 7QD

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