Secret Cinema is a London-based entertainment company that specialises in film and television screenings. Founded in 2007 by Fabien Riggall, it conducts screenings at initially undisclosed venues in London, which include interactive performances in purpose-built sets. It also stages screenings internationally, some of which are simulcast at different locations at the same time.
In July 2014, the company launched Back to the Future screenings, set in a life-size recreation of the 1950s Hill Valley town featured in Robert Zemeckis's film. The first two Back to the Future dates were cancelled with only a few hours' notice and the company offered a full refund or exchange for the cost of tickets, but not for any booking fees; the opening dates of its 2013 production of Brazil had also been cancelled at short notice.
In December 2014, Secret Cinema announced the screening of a secret film in response to Sony's withdrawal from the release of The Interview. The screening was revealed to be Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, which was simultaneously screened in Rome, London, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, in support of Article 19, a charity dedicated to the freedom of speech. Screenings included live speeches and readings, music and performances. In March 2015, the company and its founder were criticised on Twitter and other publications for using unpaid actors; the company defended its practice and described the volunteers as interns who benefited from the experience.
In June 2015, Secret Cinema launched Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, its biggest production to date. As part of the hundred shows that ran in London, a side-event at Alexandra Palace with musical guests DJ Yoda, Nightmares on Wax and Jamie Jones raised £11,000 for the Refugee Council. A further £29,000 was raised for the charity from the show. The production made it to the top ten UK box office for eleven weeks, generating a total of £6.45 million.
More recently, as screenings have grown in size and popularity, the company have decided to forewarn cinema-goers of the film to avoid disappointment. Their most recent screening of Dirty Dancing attracted thousands of fans, and it is still subject to debate whether the new set-up is welcome.
In April 2017, Secret Cinema ran an extended production of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! Artists such as Jarvis Cocker and Groove Armada performed for audiences. The show drew attendees such as Poppy Delevingne, Matt Bellamy from Muse, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Over 70,000 people attended, putting Moulin Rouge back into the UK box-office top ten for eleven weeks.
In August 2014, the company held a charity screening of Dead Poets Society, to mark the death of actor Robin Williams. All proceeds were donated to the mental health charity Mind. Each Secret Cinema production raises money for charities including Save the Children; the National Alliance on Mental Illness; Refugee Council; and MAC UK, a local Camden charity which provides mental health services to disadvantaged youth.
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