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The rise of pop-up cinemas

Pop up cinemas are taking London by storm with the underground film scene scrambling to build microplex cinemas in any space available, in opposition to the anti-social aspects of the traditional multiplex monsters.

Pop up cinemas can take place anytime and anywhere as the following examples show, the idea is to reignite the social aspect of films by taking audiences to a strange new world and to be able to chat amongst themselves whilst watching a familiar film. Most of the pop up cinemas focus on cult film selections and the Secret Cinema events have included titles such as Bladerunner, Lawrence of Arabia and The Fifth Element.

Secret Cinema is the daddy of the underground cinema scene in London and ticket holders get invited to a mystery location by email and get cryptic clues to the film they will see and a rather bizarre dress code request.

The clever people behind secret cinema find isolated or dilapidated locations around London and dress the venues up to suit the feel of each particular film.

Secret Cinema’s success lies in the fact it is incredibly social and gets people excited enough to go and watch a film they have probably already seen dozens of times just for the thrill of the event.

Portobello pop up cinema is a not for profit venue situated in the Westway underpass on the Portobello Road / Acklam Road junction. Tickets prices for films are run on a pay-what-you-can-afford basis with a suggested price tag of £4.

Usually run through the summer months Portobello pop up cinema is supported by various charities and foundations and welcomes the influence and input of artists, volunteers and new filmmakers.

The Cineroleum Pop-Up Cinema in Clerkenwell made use of an abandoned petrol station and car park to whack in some temporary rows of seating for up to 118 people. The cinema was constructed by fifteen artists, designers and architects and a few curious neighbours.

Built from donated and found materials the cinema has a rustic hap-hazard feel and looks quite intriguing to commuters and cyclists whizzing past on their way into the city.

The selection of films shown at the cinema included American drive through classics such as The Long Goodbye and Rebel Without a Cause. The Cineroleum proves that the derelict spaces in London can be put to good use and as there are 4,000 derelict petrol stations in London, this could be a good place to start!

Guerrilla Cinema is a mobile cinema set up to bring documentaries to the people! In response to escalating theatre prices Guerrilla cinema want to bring film back to the masses and make people think while they are at it!

Always looking for film makers this pop up cinema takes submissions for free and shows new filmmakers work for free too. They even give credits and are keen to showcase new emerging artists and get their work in front of new audiences.

Guerrilla Cinema can be found at music festivals, parties and student unions all around London and will consider setting up at your event if you ask them nicely. have been running pop up cinema films night from their Chelsea warehouse for a little while now and you get the chance to win tickets to film events where you can chill out of the comfy sofas and eat some great food. You even get to pick the film you would like to watch the guys will play it on their state of the art cinema screen and projector.

The latest event is James Bond themed and you can win tickets to the film night on their comfy sofa blog by solving the James Bond related rebus picture puzzle.

So there you have it, there are lots of different types of pop up cinemas scattered across London showing all different types of films in crazy and unusual locations get together with some friends and head out there!

Jonathan is a freelance writer who writes about all aspects of life.