Film & TV

Sol Cinema – The world’s smallest solar-powered cinema – hired by top band Madness to premiere their new film

The award winning Sol Cinema was hired by one of the biggest and most loved bands in British culture, Madness.

Since all the regular sized cinemas were closed, Suggs and his band decided to hire the 8 seater Sol Cinema to host their red carpet premiere of “Before We Was We: Madness by Madness”, a three-part AMC UK original docuseries.

The Sol Cinema was brought to London’s Leicester Square to be filmed. Using clever camera trickery, we get to see the lead singer Suggs in the box office, be the popcorn seller, a showman and also be the audience. The film will be broadcast on May 1st.

“Before We Was We: Madness by Madness” will air in the UK on AMC, exclusive to BT TV from 1st May on three consecutive Saturdays at 9pm BST, with all three episodes also available to stream on BT Player.

Projectionist and co-founder of Sol Cinema Paul O’Connor said: ‘In 2020 The Sol Cinema marked our 10th anniversary but no celebrations were to be had due to COVID. So helping Madness launch their new film in 2021 was a real celebration for us. Being sited in Leicester Square outside the 1600 seater Odeon was funny as it showed the largest cinema in the UK with the smallest.’

Since 2010, the diminutive cinema has entertained more than 80,000 people at music and film festivals in Britain and the E.U

On the red carpet, Suggs said: “I can’t believe they’ve had me working at my own premiere. It’s a disgrace.”

He then went on to talk about why they decided to make the docuseries: “It was the 40th anniversary of when we made our first record, and we thought it might be nice to do a book, one that wasn’t just about when we became successful, but about before we became successful, although we were all successful as kids in our own right, which you will find out watching this fantastic series.

“The premise of the book was that we all got interviewed individually, and we thought maybe it would be nice to do the documentary like that because not all of the members of the band get to say their own bit, and I think that’s what made it interesting is that we all contradicted each other.”

Madness inside the Sol Cinema (Image: Sol Cinema / Madness)

Co-founder and builder of the Sol Cinema Jo Furlong added: “Sol Cinema has performed in festivals, factories, schools, city centres, on a farm and even in a Zoo. Being mobile, we can squeeze into the strangest of places and entertain with short films using our smartly dressed experienced street performers. Helping Madness launch their new film was a lot of fun”

The Sol Cinema was created from a 1972 caravan which was being used to house chickens on a small holding. Artist Jo Furlong added plush seating, LED lighting and a projector combined with surround sound to create the unique mobile venue.

Based in Swansea, the mini movie-house that can accommodate eight adults is powered entirely by solar energy. It’s fully mobile and can be towed behind a car.

The Sol Cinema won a Digital Hero award for best use of sustainable technology. It also won a Network Wales award for best communication project.

(Lead image: Sol Cinema / Madness)


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