Action! Derry film buffs set up unique cinema club

Se�n Coyle, John Leighton, Colm. S Herron and Michael Breslin.
Se�n Coyle, John Leighton, Colm. S Herron and Michael Breslin.

A group of young Derry men have set up a unique film club in the city centre with plans to create a local society and showcase homegrown talent from the North West.

Derry film graduates, Seán Coyle, Colm. S Herron and Michael Breslin have been impressed with the strong turnout at their weekly screenings, aimed at bringing together those with an interest in watching and making movies.

John Leighton, Michael Breslin, Colm. S Herron and Se�n Coyle beside the big screen at Bennigans.

John Leighton, Michael Breslin, Colm. S Herron and Se�n Coyle beside the big screen at Bennigans.

The trio have previously scored international success with their podcast show in Derry, ‘More Talk Less Action’.

Over recent months, they have teamed up with John Leighton, owner of Bennigan’s Bar, who has provided the venue, equipment (including a 120 inch movie screen) and support for the movie club screenings, which take place every Wednesday evening at 9pm in the covered beer garden behind the bar.

The non-profit venture is believed to be the only one of its kind in the North West, with free popcorn and pizza included in the £4 admission, which in turn is used to cover the licence fee to show major movies such as ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Blade Runner’, with upcoming listings including ‘Full Metal Jacket’, ‘Manhattan’ and ‘Carlito’s Way’.

Speaking about the origins of the club, Colm said: “A lot of it is down to John because he has had the belief in it from the start and put a good bit of investment in it.”

Michael said picking films that appeal across a broad spectrum is often a challenge and the audience is often asked for their opinions on future screenings.

“We have shown short films from local film makers at the screenings as well,” he said.

“That was always something we had in mind when we started this. We wanted to give local film makers a chance, film makers in the North West or across Northern Ireland.”

Colm said: “Something we are discussing at the minute is developing it into a Film Society, and trying to produce low budget indies, and making it a place where people not just watch film, but where people make films.”

John says that this ties in with what Bennigans is currently doing in developing a creative hub. This includes setting local artists the challenge to come up with artworks on a specific theme which are then displayed and put up on sale for the artists inside the John Street premises.

Seán adds: “I think we all realise there is a huge number of talented people in Derry, especially when it comes to film making or any of the arts, so if we can some way down the roads help them make films, or even with networking, then we are happy to do that.”

For listings, more information, or to submit your own work for screening, check out the ‘Bennigans Film Club’ Facebook page or go to: www.bennigansbar.com.