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The Floating Cinema

2011 - 2015

The Floating Cinema is a bespoke cinema and events space on a functional canal barge based in London. Somewhere programmed the project from 2011, with 2015 being our final season.

The Floating Cinema began as temporary commission to create a water-borne cinema space which would spend summer 2011 navigating the canals and waterways around the emerging Olympic Park in East London. Somewhere developed the programme of events and screenings for the cinema, thematically relating them to the geography and communities of the waterways.

The 2011 project launched to a 400 strong audience, premiering Somewhere's Barging Through London (Again), a shot-for-shot remake of a historic London canal portrait with a specially commissioned sound track by Tim & Matthew Olden. For the design we worked with architects Studio Weave to customise an existing barge into a 12-seater cinema with bespoke interior. The cinema hosted intimate onboard screenings and discussions as well as providing a base for larger outdoor events at different locations on the waterways throughout summer 2011. The programme included new films made by local film-makers, historic archive screenings, tours by esteemed writers Iain Sinclair, Richard Mabey & Michael Smith and comedy performances by Holly Burn, Susie Donkin & Jemima Burrill.

In 2012 we were delighted to renew the project for the Legacy List, commissioning a new structure from architects Duggan Morris who won the competition we ran with the Architecture Foundation. Due to the new craft being built, programming that year was modest but included 'I was Here' with Fugitive Images.

In 2013, the new bespoke barge was launched at the White Building in Hackney Wick, London, with a newly commissioned film by Oonagh Kearney. The programme - 'Extra-Ordinary'- was a themed strand of film and events celebrating the brilliance of the everyday. The cinema again hosted screenings and discussions, ranging from a Horror Weekender (curated by horror director Steven Sheil) at Kings Cross, to a Guerilla Science workshop as well as larger outdoor films such as a popular fancy-dress Frankenweenie.

For 2014 the programme was even more ambitious, and we developed 'Extra-International' in collaboration with leading international film festivals Ambulante (Mexico) and Jihlava (Czech Republic), also working with Manchester's Centre for Contmporary Chinese Art. As well as screening many brilliant films, the events ranged from a masterclass with documentary director Marc isaacs, to dusk tours, an Esperanto language workshop and film, pop-up food tours with foodie writer Richard Johnson and 'My London' tours with broadcaster Robert Elms.

For our final season (2015) we left London for the first time - travelling to Bristol along the lovely Kennet & Avon Canal and stopping for events and happenings along the way and back again. Our theme was 'Archive' but we took a characteristically left-field approach and gathered amateur and professional footage from diverse sources, creating a new Somewhere short film with Alice Powell and Tim & Matthew Olden, as well as lots of other things of interest - find out more here!

The Floating Cinema was a continuation of UP Projects' Portavilion programme of temporary pavilions for London's public spaces. It formed part of the Create 2011 summer festival and was commissioned by The Olympic Delivery Authority and funded by Arts Council England with support from Bloomberg.