A cinema is perhaps the last thing you’d expect to encounter floating down Yorkshire’s waterways. But that’s exactly what you’ll find should you head on down this summer, as The Floating Cinema takes to the waves. Delivered by UP Projects, the cinema will travel from Sheffield to Hull for ‘In Dialogue’: a free programme of feature films and documentaries curated in response to the major new artistic commission On the Bench by Leeds based artist Harry Meadley. Meadley’s work touches on themes of perseverance, determination and dedication – all of which are reflected in the films being screened.
The programme of films itself is exceptional; encompassing everything from important documentaries, Hollywood classics, urgent political art-house fare and beloved pieces of cinematic escapism. There’s a real international flavour too, with the fifteen films coming from nine separate countries. Screening at Rotherham Lock, Jafar Panahi’s Offside – a terrifically nuanced portrayal of six girls who dress up as men in order to sneak into Iran’s World Cup Qualifier with Bahrain – stands out as unmissable. As does Billy Wilder’s canonical film noir Sunset Boulevard which screens in Sheffield and South Ferriby.
In Hull, sound artist Jason Singh takes us back in time as he performs his live vocal score for Drifters – John Grierson’s dramatic – location appropriate – silent documentary of life in the North Sea herring fleets in the 1920s. Whilst more recent documentaries such as 2013’s 20 Feet From Stardom, which begins the series in Sheffield’s Victoria Quays, and 2011’s contemporary dance focused Pina (Hull Marina), screen off the back of positive reviews from audiences and critics.
In addition to Meadley’s On the Bench, UP Projects have partnered with local arts organisations across the eight tour stops to curate an associated series of events, which will see The Floating Cinema transform in each location: becoming a site for exhibitions, one-off events, and education initiatives. With these added layers of engagement provided on top of the first class film programme, it seems that Yorkshire’s waterways are the place to be this summer.