Mayor and film industry urge Londoners ‘Back to the Big Screen’

A free outdoor film being shown back in 2019 | Hillingdon Today
A free outdoor film being shown back in 2019 / GoToVan

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today joined with screenwriter, producer and director Richard Curtis and actor, writer and producer Simon Pegg, as well as leaders of the film industry to encourage Londoners and visitors to rediscover the joy of the big screen and help support the capital’s economy.

As part of the Mayor’s Let’s Do London campaign, the biggest domestic tourism the capital has ever seen, Sadiq is working with BFI, BAFTA and Film London to promote cinemas and outdoor screenings and also encourage filmgoers to take advantage of the capital’s world class food and hospitality.

To celebrate the magic of film, the Mayor will be hosting six free screenings in Trafalgar Square later this month to bring 1,500 Londoners and visitors together in the heart of the capital for each film, with 150 tickets reserved especially for key workers at four screenings in recognition of their work throughout the pandemic.

From August 26-29, audiences will be able to enjoy a red carpet experience with a selection of matinee and evening screenings in the Square in partnership with Luna Cinema. The screenings will celebrate London’s importance in the film industry, with all the films either made or set in the capital.

Each feature will be preceded by a short film showcasing a diverse range of emerging film talent, curated by the Barbican, Film London, BAFTA and BFI.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is a global capital for film production and our cinemas are a huge draw for Londoners and tourists alike, but the last 17 months have been incredibly challenging for the whole industry.

“TV and boxsets helped so many of us through lockdown, but with cinemas opening their doors again and big screens installed in public spaces, I’m joining with industry leaders to encourage everyone to get Back to the Big Screen to rediscover the magic of film and also support our central London hospitality businesses.

“By hosting six free screenings in Trafalgar Square of films either made or set in our capital, I want to remind everyone of the joy of getting together to watch a film and make the most of everything our capital has to offer.”

Simon Pegg, actor, writer and producer, said: “I’m supporting the Mayor of London’s initiative to get people back into the capital’s world class cinemas. The pandemic has hit this integral part of London’s cultural heart, hard. It’s time to fill these spaces again and feel the thrill and magic of theatrical cinema.”

Richard Curtis, screenwriter, producer and director, said: “I’m really delighted to hear about this movie plan by the Mayor of London. Many of my happiest memories in London are to do with going to the cinema and then going on to enjoy all the other wonders of the city.”

The film schedule for Trafalgar Square is:

Thursday 26 August
Rocks (12A)

Friday 27 August
Skyfall (12A)

Saturday 28 August
Matinee – Mary Poppins sing-along (U)
Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV) (U)

Sunday 29 August
Matinee – Paddington 2 (PG)
Bend It Like Beckham (12A)