Based at the National Videogame Arcade in Hockley, Fortune & Glory Film Club is known for cult film screenings with a difference: a super interactive, immersive, fancy dress and goody bag type of difference. Miriam Blakemore-Hoy met up with club's founder and creative force, Emma Duncan, to discuss the past, present and history of Nottingham's most unique cinema experience.
In April 2015, Fortune & Glory roared into being with a screening of the ultra-cult film, The Room (never to be confused with Room – very different movie). Emma launched the club initially as a private shindig with attendees being invited only by word of mouth - a sort of private Saturday afternoon pyjama party. The Room is already a popular choice for independent screenings, and Emma capitalised on the idea of providing the audience with spoon props and the opportunity to quote along to all the best lines… “You’re tearing me apart Lisa!!” by adding in rose petal confetti to throw at the screen, blow up footballs and personal shots of “scotchka” so that the audience could join in with the appropriate scenes. I asked Emma where she got the inspiration from and she explained how she had got the idea from screenings of Rocky Horror, which are famous for getting the audiences involved, as well as going to a screening of The Room herself, back in the day. She saw how much the audience enjoyed being able to join in with their favourite scenes/lines and songs and wanted to expand on it - adding more to the experience of watching something already well loved, bringing back the fun to a favourite film.
This first event was such a success that Emma was encouraged to organise and plan for more and with the encouragement and support of Screen 22’s owner, Amy Gathercole, she was able to run events every six weeks. The club regulars started out as friends, and friends of friends, but as word spread, she found more and more people were coming along and getting involved. There were several sold out screenings, including Aliens and Transformers the Movie. Generally, things couldn’t have been going better when Emma received news that Screen 22 was being sold… She admits it was a bit of shock and a certain amount of reflection and regrouping had to be undertaken. She considered letting the film club fold but was reluctant to give up too easily. After all, despite a love/hate relationship with the event management side of things, she had too much passion for this to just let it go.
We don’t revel in films, we frolic!
While scouting for other possible venues, Emma made contact with the National Videogame Arcade, who were happy to provide a new space for the club in their Toast Bar. The change in venue has allowed a change in direction for the club, Emma was able to revamp the look and feel of Fortune & Glory to fit in with the bigger space. She set up cabaret tables instead of the traditional cinema rows which was a better set up for the extra games and activities that she also added to the event program. Screenings can now include anything from caption contests, lucky dips (Ip, dip, dog shit) for truly trashy but amazing DVDs, piñata bashing and even, for the Ghostbusters screening, a create-your-own staypuft monster, using nothing but marshmallows and cocktail sticks. The toastie interval can’t go unmentioned either, which is the extra benefit of meeting at the Toast Bar after all. And through the changes, Most importantly, Fortune & Glory has now gone public. You can see what they’re up to and follow them here.
After several further sell-out screenings (Scott Pilgrim and Mario Bros. amongst others) and an audience now doubled in size, what’s in store for the future of Fortune & Glory? Emma has ideas up her sleeve. There’s talk of a collaboration with Nottingham’s own Fan Club, as well as Big Sky Cinema. Over the summer Fortune & Glory may possibly move to more unusual locations, maybe outdoors? There’s also a rumour of a Predator screening, but Emma’s keeping her cards close to her chest. The most important thing for her is to keep it fun and keep it real. She smiles, “We don’t revel in films, we frolic!”
The next Fortune & Glory event will be Wayne’s World on Saturday, 31 March. Tickets are available via the NVA website