Sherlock star Martin Freeman was guest of honour at private event in Lewes last night (Thursday) to launch the Depot cinema.
Mr Freeman met with fans and signed autographs before heading inside to meet with members of Lewes Community Screen, the charity behind the cinema’s construction.
The actor is the first celebrity to visit the town’s new three-screen cinema, with Wolf Hall’s Mark Rylance to launch its education strategy this evening (Friday).
The cinema will open to the general public on Saturday (May 27) with a three-day festival of 25 films including silent films and classics, new movies such as “Sense of an Ending” and “Their Finest” and critically acclaimed mainstream movies such as “Logan” and “Beauty and the Beast”.
There will be many future events including guest speakers, festivals, discussion groups and workshops.
The building has been built to high specifications, encasing the former warehouse in a glass surround but retaining the features of the original building. An area termed “The Gallery” features a major installation by artist Stephen Chambers called “The Big Country”.
The project has taken four years to come to fruition, involving an £8 million refurbishment of the former Harvey’s Depot warehouse adjacent to the railway station in Lewes town centre.
The charity purchased the site in 2013 from Harvey’s Brewery and have since transformed it into a major arts venue. In addition to film screenings the charity promises the venue will feature theatre and live music.
Robert Senior, Chair of the Trustees, says: “The programme will include an inclusive mix of movies with an emphasis on quality. Die Hard was good, so we would show it. Die Hard 2 is not, so we wouldn’t.
“We will show art movies, films for young and old, films about gender, ethnicity, sex and politics. Horror movies, thrillers and westerns. Great famous directors and obscure up and coming talent. Local film makers and Arab movies. You name it. Plus a film education programme, festivals, workshops, guest stars, Q&A sessions.”
All photos by Carlotta Luke photography. www.carlottaluke.com