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Waterfront Festival

Kino Klubb vs Kneel Before Zod

21 April 13 words: Alison Emm
Welcome to Nottingham’s underground film scene - where 'cinema renegades’ bring people together to do more than just watch a movie
Kneel Before Zod (drawn by Tara Hill of Kino Klubb)

Kneel Before Zod (drawn by Tara Hill of Kino Klubb)

What is it that you both do?
We started in November 2010. The original ethos was for it to be a crap film club – this being a unique selling point. The first film we showed was Troll 2, but we realised we couldn’t expect people to pay £6 to just watch that so we had to make it a bit special. So we added a membership system, and started making idents and showing trailers.  The crap film club thing has become a broader remit - we’re crap at being just a film club for starters. If faced with an opportunity we won’t turn it down; we said yes to doing all the visuals for a two day festival for Gringo Records at Nottingham Contemporary without really understanding the responsibility involved. Rich designs our posters and they’re purposefully restricted, he’s got an hour to do what he wants to with a pencil. Unless we’re promoting someone who’s giving us their time, we’re not going to short change them so we do another poster that we spend a bit of time on.

KK: We’re a professional cinema club… We got together about a year and a half ago and just wanted to show films that we loved in a cinema venue. There’s got to be something exceptional about the film we choose, and we go for the aesthetics over the story quite a lot.  But it just depends.  Tara does all our posters, and we do little brochures for each screening to try and contextualise the film. We try and make it fun, encourage people to dress up if they want. Except that no-one’s ever has apart from for They Live. When we started off we bought prizes and got really dressed up, and then nobody else did. We kept trying for a few screenings but gave it up. We try and do different things; for Fitzcarraldo a local artist did a puppet show with Klaus Kinski – the lead actor – reading from his erotic novel and about his experiences on set. 

Where did the names come from?
I really like Polish film posters, and cinemas in Berlin, they’ve always got klub and kino in their titles, usually with some bad spelling on their posters. And we have a love of alliteration.

KBZ: It’s a quote from Superman 2. Rich doesn’t like the name and will sabotage it at every opportunity. Our promotion is always KNLBFRZD in capitals without the vowels, our facebook page is The Kneel Before Zod Video Club of Nottingham Club which annoyed a lot of people because the word club is in there twice, and we’ve had a lot of typos too. When we were at the Contemporary doing the visuals for the last Souvaris gig, on all the tickets it said Neil Beforezod like he was a performer.  We also discovered that zob was French slang for dick, so we just need to change one letter and we’ve already got another line.

 Kino Klubb (drawn by Rich Dundas of Kneel Before Zod)

 Kino Klubb (drawn by Rich Dundas of Kneel Before Zod)

Isn’t it expensive to screen films publically?
There are some cult Italian seventies, like Cannibal Ferox, and that’ll still be owned by the mother of some long dead director who’s sat in Milan saying, “I want €6,000 for that.” And you just say, “naff off”.

KK: It depends, the average is about £150. If you want to show a Kubrick film, that’s really difficult. You’ve got to put in writing what you’re doing with it and why you want to show it.  

Kneel Before Zod – do you actually only show VHS, being a ‘video club’?
KBZ: We’ve given it a crack. There are pros and cons: it does mean often that you get a different cut, and we’re also a bit scared because we worry it will snap or get chewed up. VHS is an extension of trying to make it almost a family atmosphere that’s like being back at home with your VCR and TV. We like the idea that we haven’t vetted the tapes, so as long as it works, we don’t know which trailers we’re going to get - it could be brilliant, or it could be horrible. We showed Nightbreed in the basement of The Monster Store and we didn’t know what was on the tape. There were some really dodgy trailers on there and we had to keep shouting, “I’m very sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”

Are you ever tempted to ever roll out a trolley like they did at school?
We discussed this. We have our own projector, VCR, PA – it’d be great to shove it in a trolley we’ve nicked from Asda and wheel it around showing films shouting, “Hobgoblins! Watch out!” Like madmen.

KK: A friend at Uni showed all four Tremors films at the same time, she stacked up four tellys and showed them all. The weird thing was the same thing happened in all of the films at the same time. 

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Do you fancy confusing your audience by showing them more than one film at the same time?
KK: Or advertising one film and showing something completely different. See if anyone notices…

What’s the appeal of the big screen?
That feeling we got when we showed our first 35mm print in the Broadway, that was heaven. Smelling the reel - it smelt gross.

KBZ: Similar to your experience, when we showed Weekend at Bernie’s 2 to a bunch of our friends on VHS, that was a big moment. People have done studies on whether a big screen actually ‘bigger’ and if it gives you a bigger impact. But it’s the ritual of going somewhere dark and a bit exotic, the red crushed velvet … if you go to The Savoy it gives you that tingling. We never thought the audience was that important until we went to see Paranormal Activity 2. You have this communal experience with people going, “Oh no! Oh no! Look!”, then suddenly it’s exciting. It made it a better film than it was.

Do you encourage people to act out a bit at your screenings?
We’ve never asked them to make noise, and part of us hates it, but at the same time we’ll laugh because we find it funny too. When we showed Dead and Buried there were a couple at the front who were firing off party poppers every time someone died. But they’d always wait a couple of seconds which was superbly poignant. It was brilliant. And when we showed Friday 13th we had the actor who played Jason jumping out and it was just wonderful. It does help you spot things that are patently awful that you’ve never noticed before, because at home on your own it’s just part of it, but when you’re watching it with other people and someone goes “Durr!” you think, “oh yeah, that is stupid.”

KK: When we showed The Beyond at Screen 22, a little girl got shot in the face and her head got blown off and everyone wet themselves laughing – it was the funniest thing ever, but not something you’d necessarily find funny watching it at home on your own. And at The Boyfriend screening there was a lady on the back row and she obviously couldn’t see so well - every time someone came on screen she said, “Is that Twiggy!?” Every single person. Really loudly.

Kino Klubb, you go for the more arty end of the cinema spectrum, while Kneel Before Zod, you go for the, shall we say, trashier B-movies.  How do you pick your films?
We’ve got similar tastes. We both just get excited about something, have a drink and think about how we’re going to decorate the bar, then we get too excited, and then it happens. We do have had ‘artier’ films but then Tara and Lottie [founding member of Kino Klubb) did fine art, and Joey likes a bit of art… KBZ are just philistines.

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KBZ: Our initial guiding light was that excitement you of being a kid in a garage looking at the lurid shelf of chunky oyster clam shell VHS with something weird on the front. They seemed so illicit and beautiful and horrific and intriguing at the same time. We have a particular penchant for video nasties and things like that, and although that’s always at the back of our minds it won’t always necessarily guide us.  There are things that we’ve got planned that are the diametric opposite of that.

KK: We’ve kind of all infected each other, with Mayhem as well. This new programme we’ve got with Cinema Diabolique, you’ll be quite surprised by some of the choices of films that each clubs have made. 

KBZ: Robocop was very much Kino Klubb’s idea, but on paper any of the three clubs could have picked it. Which is part of why we decided it would be the first one. 

How did Cinema Diabolique come about?
  We all get on and all like each other, why not try and create something in Nottingham a bit special? Instead of being rivals, which is just ridiculous and happens in the music scene so much, let’s all do something bigger and better together. It’s really nice that you’re introducing a specific audience to something completely different.

How is it different to the individual clubs?
The Cinema Diabolique label gets us out of our little boxes really…

KBZ: Let’s us show off our penchant for Judy Garland films…

KK: We’re going to have those seaside things that you put your head through. Each film we show we’ll pick two characters and you have a photo with it. I can’t wait for that. And people need to start dressing up. There might be a double bill, or there might be a bar thing, but for an audience it’s going to be completely different each month. We’re going to have a triple bill in the summer for Scala Beyond Festival which is exciting to be a part of. Scala Beyond is a great idea because it’s going to bring all the film clubs in Britain together. 

But you will keep running your own nights?
KBZ: Mayhem will always be Mayhem, Kino Klubb will focus on what they want to go with, and KBZ will be when we take liberties and try things out.  But Cinema Diabolique is special - we’re all working towards putting Nottingham on the celluloid map. There’s a lot of cinema history around here but regarding a culture of film screening there’s a huge scene of different film clubs across the country - we’d like Nottingham to be a real part of that.

What else have you both got in the pipeline?
The first April screening’s going to be the premiere of ABC’s of Death, and then in May we’re showing Birdemic 2: The Resurrection. For the latter the director/writer James Nguyen, producer Jeff Gross and stars Whitney Moore and Alan Bagh will be making special guest appearances. 
KBZ: We’re in negotiations to show  a BFI restoration of an old Soviet propaganda film with a live soundtrack. It’s currently being toured around Europe and we’re trying to bring it to Nottingham. It’ll be really exciting if it works.

KK:  June’s going to be a Russ Meyer double bill. Then at the beginning of July, Spencer Hickman from Death Waltz is showing Wolfen and will DJ after. Then we’re got the Scala triple bill...

Anything else you’d like to say to the esteemed readers of LeftLion and the cinema going populous of Nottingham?
We’re probably shooting ourselves in the foot, but we’d encourage everyone to do the same thing that we’ve done, set up their own film club and see what they can do with it.

KK: We can offer advice. For a commission. Nottingham’s so open minded. Literally no-one has ever said no to any idea that we’ve ever had, everyone’s really creative in this city and it’s really lovely. Someone will say no eventually…

Cinema Diabolique are hosting H Is For Horror: The Quiz of Doom (Tuesday 16 April) and
showing The ABCs of Death (Sunday 21 April), Birdemic 2:The Resurrection (Thursday 2
May) and The Shout (Friday 24 May) all at the Broadway Cinema.

Kino Klubb website
Kneel Before Zod website

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