10 brilliant movies coming up at Ipswich Film Theatre

Ipswich's Corn Exchange building - home to the town's independent cinema

Ipswich's Corn Exchange building - home to the town's independent cinema - Credit: IFTT

Entertainment venues were among the worst hit sectors during the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. 

Having been closed for much of 2020 and 2021, Ipswich Film Theatre, set within the historic Corn Exchange building, is now experiencing one of its busiest periods ever, say the organisation’s trustees. 

Daniel Champion of IFT is, as you can imagine, a massive film buff, and one of a team of three directors putting on a diverse and truly unique series of events and screenings at the venue. 

If you’ve never visited before, Daniel explains: “The film theatre was established in 1975 as a bold independent cinema, designed to show films you wouldn’t be able to watch in a mainstream setting. 

“It had a specific function. To show foreign films. Older films. And they’d curate seasons around directors. It very quickly established itself as a bold force on the national landscape of independent cinema. The programming went from strength to strength. Today we’re proud to carry on that legacy.” 

The cinema has two rooms. A main screen seating 200, and a smaller auditorium snugly seating up to 40, with its own bar – available for private hire and parties (and known for being a little bit spooky...possibly haunted). 

Following a long Covid-forced hiatus, Daniel is pleased to announce the theatre is back with a bang. “We were lucky to receive money through the Cultural Recovery Fund, which kept us going, and we had donations from customers, which we’re still getting. We’re so grateful for those. And we’re ready to welcome everyone back.” 

The main auditorium at Ipswich Film Theatre

The main auditorium at Ipswich Film Theatre - Credit: IFTT

Get a behind the scenes look at the making of Ghostbusters at Ipswich Film Theatre

Get a behind the scenes look at the making of Ghostbusters at Ipswich Film Theatre - Credit: Contributed

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Citing a visit to IFT as a “more personal” experience, Daniel says there are some fantastic films coming up on the agenda – with the theatre having just hosted the inaugural Suffolk Shorts festival – showing a huge array of dramas, documentaries, animations, and the celebrated Dance Under Suffolk Skies – co-funded by Ipswich Borough Council, DanceEast and Suffolk Libraries. 

“That was a very good half hour exploration of the Suffolk landscape through the eyes of dancers. From children to people up to 80-years-old. It’s an all-encompassing little film.” 

When it comes to programming Daniel says the team always looks first for works that you can’t just roll up and watch at the local multiplex. “There is room in indy cinema for some of the bigger budget films, like Bond, and we’ll always consider those, but first and foremost our mission is ‘independent’, ‘British’, and ‘foreign’. 

“These films show there isn’t just one perspective in the world. It’s thrilling to watch a documentary maybe only 100 other people in the country have seen. And the setting of the Ipswich Film Theatre is perfect for making those discoveries as we venture away from watching film at home. 

“There’s no distractions. No light except from the screen. The experience is purely about what’s in front of you.” 

Has he got any favourites? 

“Nomadland I think was just wonderful. A really solitary film. I would highly recommend that. In terms of documentaries I’d say The Witches of the Orient. We only had it for one showing but it was really good.  

“It’s about a Japanese volleyball team, following them through their winning streak from the 50s, all throughout the years to the present day. They get the team back together around a table, reminiscing. They actually ended up getting to the Olympics and winning. It’s a fantastic story. If you’re not usually into documentaries, this is perfect.” 

For tickets visit iftt.org.uk 

There’s also a new student film club, formed in partnership with the University of Suffolk, with tickets free for students with their ID, or £5 to others on the door. “It’s going to be a great place for students to watch indie films, meet other film fans and possibly even hear from the filmmakers themselves,” adds Daniel. 

A scene from the new Wes Anderson film The French Dispatch

A scene from the new Wes Anderson film The French Dispatch - Credit: Contributed

Coming up

Until October 24 – We've got Never Gonna Snow Again. It’s an amazing Polish film about someone who enters a gated community and starts to learn the ins and outs of the strange upper middle class community. 

October 30 – We’re so excited to have a special showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween eve. We’ll have beer, wine, popcorn – all sorts available. And we encourage people to dress up! 

October 31 – If you missed the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the V&A in London, we have a guided talk and walk-though.  

November 5 to 11 – This is when we’re screening Wes Anderson’s new film The French Dispatch. It's about a periodical magazine and follows the work these people get involved in, with lots of different characters – from the photographer to the staff writer and the investigative reporter. It's a typical Wes Anderson set up. It looks brilliant. 

November 6 – We're doing a one-off showing of the documentary Getting Away with Murder(s). It’s something completely different for the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. Why have 90% of the people who committed those crimes not been prosecuted? Why were they harboured in other countries? We have the director in for a Q&A. 

November 20 – We have the director and producer of Cleanin’ Up The Town in for a Q&A after a showing of the documentary about the making of Ghostbusters. We had a show lined-up just before we closed and had sold out, so we were keen to bring them back. 

Christmas – We’ve pencilled in The Shop Around The Corner, and Home Alone...and a double bill of Die Hard and Die Hard 2. 

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