A night with the stars
A guest post by Sue Palmer.
It’s not often I get invited to introduce a film premiere – in fact, it’s never happened to me before, so I felt very honoured. Granted this premiere was to take place in a field in late October, but it did sound like the perfect venue for Project Wild Thing, a film about getting kids back in touch with nature. And when I googled The Children’s Wood in North Kelvin Meadow, it looked terrific – an area of wild space, bang in the middle of Glasgow, which the local community is trying to keep as a place for children to play.
So, as dusk fell on the appointed evening, I arrived at the venue, well-wrapped up and clutching a roll of bin bags and a blanket, in case we were expected to watch from ground level. I needn’t have worried – the Children’s Wood committee had fixed up a sort of awning (like a marquee with no sides), chairs, groundsheets, beanbags for people at the front and something called a ‘pop-up cinema’ which was just as good as any you’d get indoors. There was a stall selling hot drinks too, and some of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever tasted.
They’d strung fairy-lights along the routes to the show, so picking one’s way there through the undergrowth was absolutely magical. Before the film, I was given a torchlight tour of the wooded area by Ian, who told me he’s battled to keep this space for the community for several decades, handing it over in 2008 to a group of local residents. They’re now waging a fierce campaign to save it from developers and Project Wild Thing was one of many fund-raising events.
It certainly got plenty of support – the locals turned out in droves and, judging by the laughter and applause, thoroughly enjoyed the film. I’d been slightly worried at the number of children in the audience because the film’s aimed at adults, but the committee had built a bonfire in a nearby clearing, so bored kids could just wander off to toast marshmallows.
Project Wild Thing wants groups around the country to stage a showing, and I can’t recommend the outdoor approach highly enough. A pop-up cinema is a great way to enjoy a movie and a brilliant opportunity for urban families to enjoy a night out under the real stars, rather than cooped up staring at the manufactured variety on telly.
Sue Palmer is the author of ‘Toxic Childhood’ and acted as a consultant to Project Wild Thing.