After our 2020 plans for a national tour of Esther Johnson’s Asunder were put on hold due to the pandemic, we turned our attention to supporting online screenings of this award-winning archive documentary. Thanks to a new collaboration with YourScreen, the film was able to reach a much wider audience throughout March and April 2021. Written and produced by respected music writer and film producer Bob Stanley, Asunder tells the story of the region’s involvement in the ‘Great War’ through personal experiences.
We worked with Sunderland Culture and YourScreen, a multi-screen virtual cinema created in partnership with local, independent exhibitors to stream films into homes across the UK, on this Asunder legacy project. With the help of both organisations, Asunder was broadcast via the YourScreen website for a two-month run. Viewers across the UK were able to watch Asunder at https://watch.yourscreen.net/ from Monday March 1 to Friday April 30 for £7.99, or at a discounted rate of £5.99 when booked through one of YourScreen’s partner cinemas around the country who share in a percentage of ticket sales. Audiences were encouraged to check with their local independent or community cinema to see if they are signed up to YourScreen, and if they hadn’t already done so, they could sign up as a partner venue by contacting email@example.com to get set up.
Participating cinemas included:
Saffron Screen, Essex
The Dukes, Lancaster
Reading Film Theatre
Electric Palace, Hastings
Depot Cinema, Lewes
Keswick Alhambra Cinema
The Castle Cinema, Hackney
The David Lean Cinema, Croydon
Memo Arts Centre, Barry
Wotton Electric Picturehouse
Windmill Cinema, Littlehampton
Shrewsbury Town Hall
Live & Local, Midlands
Bracknell Film Society
The Lowther Pavilion, Lytham St Annes
Strode Theatre, Somerset
Plymouth Arts Cinema
Northampton Film House
The Torch Theatre, Milford Haven
Leyburn Arts & Community Centre
The Place, Bedford
The Regent Centre, Christchurch
The Roses, Tewkesbury
Streaming the film also included a #ReclaimtheFrame Q&A with Director Esther Johnson, hosted by Birds’ Eye View Films’ Director Mia Bays. The Q&A was available to anyone who rented the film.
About Sunderland Culture
Sunderland Culture was set up in 2016 to bring together the cultural programmes of Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland and Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust into a single, independent, resilient delivery model and realise the ambition of a city brimming with creative potential. Sunderland Culture works in National Glass Centre and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington, The Fire Station and delivers programmes of cultural engagement and events across the whole city. It works across the city to ensure the power of great art, culture and creativity is harnessed for the benefit of Sunderland, its residents and visitors. Sunderland Culture’s mission is to improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture.
The idea for YourScreen grew out of Cheltenham International Film Festival 2020, one of the first film festivals in the UK to stream its programme online. A positive audience response led the founders Leslie Montgomery Sheldon, Chris Baker and Patrick Bliss to consult with independent film exhibitors and community cinemas to define YourScreen’s virtual cinema offer. Following YourScreen’s launch in October 2020, film exhibitors, community cinemas, specialist festivals – all seeking a host platform for their programmes, closed by the pandemic – became YourScreen partners or affiliates. Films on YourScreen are new and/or unavailable on any other digital platform in the UK. There are up to 10 films in each season’s programme which changes every two months – partner exhibitors can choose as many films as they wish to promote to their audiences. Box office revenue is shared with independent exhibitors, who benefit from having access to an extra screen with no added costs on which to offer films during lockdown.