Alex prepares for premiere in celebration of cinema

Lights, Camera, Action !-Young Morpeth filmaker Alex Ayre.
Lights, Camera, Action !-Young Morpeth filmaker Alex Ayre.

Work directed by a Morpeth filmmaker is to be premiered at the Tyneside Cinema.

The Dream Palace has been created as a celebration of the Newcastle-based Tyneside Cinema, the only surviving Newsreel Cinema still operating in the UK, to celebrate its landmark 80th anniversary in 2017.

Funded by a £59,400 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant as part of a wider cinema audiences project, the film brings the history of Tyneside Cinema to life as we look at it through the eyes of people who have been part of its journey over the last 80 years.

The film not only celebrates the cinema’s unique heritage and place in the history of Newcastle upon Tyne, but takes a wider look at the history of cinema-going across the UK.

The project saw the Tyneside engage with people in the cinema and wider community to capture their stories through workshops, interviews and online crowdsourcing.

These excerpts were then produced into a series of short films, which were screened before feature films throughout 2017 at the Tyneside, as well as the feature-length documentary, which premieres this month.

The final film, which was directed by Morpeth’s Alex Ayre, a graduate of Tyneside Cinema’s education, training and production programme and whose previous work has been showcased by Channel 4’s Random Acts and BBC Fresh, combines these personal anecdotes with archive footage to show how cinema has evolved over the decades.

It runs from the Newsreel era of the 30s and 40s, to the impact of television, from the emergence of the arthouse scene and cult followings for world cinema and LGBTQ films, to the arrival of multiplexes and the loss of local cinemas.

The film also goes behind the scenes with former staff members.

The Dream Palace has its UK premiere at Tyneside Cinema on Wednesday, before opening to the public on Friday, March 2. The film will then tour regionally and be entered in film festivals.