Magic of cinema returns to Coalisland

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The first cinema to open in Coalisland for decades is set to start showing films in the new year, promising to bring classic, cult and the best new movies to local audiences.

Already a buzz has been created on social media for a new golden age of film-going in the town, whose famous cinema at the Lineside, which opened in 1922, was recently commemorated by a special blue plaque by the British Film Institute.

Coalisland Community Film Club based at the Craic Theatre will be operating the new venture in conjunction with the Belfast Film Festival and NI Film Hub.

The cinema organisers hope to appeal to the hearts and minds of local film-lovers.

“We won’t be showing Hollywood blockbusters”, vowed Oliver Corr from Craic Theatre. “Because of the funding stipulations, the movies have to be produced in the UK, but we will have access to a huge archive of classic and cult movies.”

Oliver waxed nostalgic about the town’s first golden age of cinema-going.

“The cinema at the Lineside was a local institution, running from 1922 until 1985. Six nights a week it brought all the glamour and grit of the movie world to local audiences. It showed three features a week and was often packed out.

“However, it fell foul of the video craze in the 1980s and was forced to close its doors.

“We now hope to tap into the town’s great love of cinema.”

The films will be shown in Craic’s main theatre, which has 198 seats and a big screen already installed.

“Our partners the Belfast Film Festival and Film Hub NI will be shouldering the cost of the license, making it viable for us”, said Oliver. “At the start we will be limited to twelve showings a year, but we hope to eventually expand upon that.”

The club will launch its first movie on December 2. Patch of Fog is a crime thriller by Bafta-winning director Michael Lennox set in Northern Ireland and starring Conleth Hill and Ian McElhinney.