This story in particularly really resonated with me and lifted my spirits. Why? Because I believe firmly in the power of television (the good stuff, of course) and film. I’ve seen firsthand where people have been transformed by watching a movie, sometimes repeatedly. Its as if a message is continually sent to the depths of their being and eventually, manifests itself in “real life.”
Kudos to Open Cinema founder Christoph Warrack!
Open Cinema, a UK film club helping homeless and socially excluded people reconnect with society, has branched out internationally
With a network of member cinemas already including those in UK cities such as London, Birmingham and Cardiff, Open Cinema has widened its reach having opened a new club in Dublin in July.
From a background in film production and having volunteered helping homeless people at St Patrick’s Church in Soho, London, Open Cinema founder Christoph Warrack started the initiative in 2005 after a guest at a weekly soup kitchen requested some entertainment.
Noticing that London’s West End was central to the film industry as well as a key area of homelessness in the capital, Christoph used his industry contacts to set up free screenings of the best classic and contemporary films.
Christoph believes that films can help homeless people to re-imagine their lives and engage in public life: “It’s really reconnecting people with a culture that is rightfully theirs for which they are wrongfully excluded,” he said. “There is a great lack of entertainment delivered to this group.” He added: “There are numerous mental health benefits.”