Why FACT is a credit to Liverpool
By Alex Dopierala
As an avid film fan, one of the first things that I did upon my arrival in to Liverpool was look up my nearest cinema. I was happy to see that there was a huge Odeon Multi-Plex just down the road, and something called FACT. Google told me that it was a Picturehouse Cinema, so there’s a plus, but not until I stepped foot in there to attend a screening of the quite over bearing, Django Unchained, did I appreciate what a fantastic amenity I had on my door step. After being here for 4 years, here is why I think FACT is huge credit to our city…
Exhibitions and Workshops
FACT always has something more than meets the eye going on. There are two galleries that have been used for art, science and media exhibitions, with Hollywood star Shia LaBeouf once partaking in a…thing. (I don’t know, he’s been going through some stuff…) Anyway, I digress. Whether it is within a gallery, or simply in the modern, minimalistic foyer of this unique building, FACT prides itself on the many events they house, many circling around culture and education. At the moment there is the Prototype Summer School with FACTLab running for children to get creative with technology, and, in gallery 1, there is an exhibition presenting the works of Krzysztof Wodiczko, who uses technology and prosthetics to explore themes of immigration and displacement, part of the Liverpool Biennial 2016.
Although this sounds like some sort of solitary confinement punishment room, it most certainly is not. The Box is a screening room located on the ground floor that contains an array of two person (3 if you are all very skinny and ‘close’) couches. I have been fortunate enough to watch an abundance of films in The Box, from recent blockbusters such as The BFG to more arthouse inspired films such as Son Of Saul and, have always found, the relaxed feel of the room to add to the viewing. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to watch the latest superhero flick, or even something like the new Star Trek film, in The Box, but you never would be able to, as they cleverly tailor what films suit the more intimate environment.
Quick tip, shut the door behind you, so that I don’t have to…
Leaf on Bold Street has always been a favourite of mine. A stylish, interesting place to take anyone that is visiting, without breaking the bank and, at the back of FACT, we have the ‘Cafe by Leaf’. The simplicity of the floral decorations, with the obligatory wooden furniture really compliment the surroundings in which they are found. This simplicity is mirrored in the menu, with a deli style set up and an array of tea, for which Leaf is famous, on offer. Partaking in a vegan diet myself I may be slightly biased, as there are lots of interesting alternatives on offer, however this is not an exclusively vegan eatery, if anything one would have to ask for their sandwich without butter, or drinks with soya milk etc. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not getting a big sticky burger, but for lunch, I feel that it has everything for which one could ask.
I love a good arthouse film. I love a good blockbuster too, but the key word there is ‘good’. You’re not going to catch me moving mountains to see the latest Kevin Hart meets Seth Rogan ‘Action/Comedy’. And, if reading that last sentence made your skin crawl, then this bit is for you. I have caught a few independent films thanks to FACT screening them, as well as some screenings of stage shows such as King Lear when the live show was brought to the silver screen. One that I actually missed was a screening of ‘The Curious Case Of The Dog In The Night-Time’, which I’m sure would have translated beautifully, especially in a building like FACT. Generally, if there is a smaller film that you just can’t find in your local Multi-Plex, it will be showing in here. In fact, (no pun intended), right now FACT are participating in Liverpool Film Night (23rd Nov), helping young film makers, as well as being part of the BFI Film Academy. So, if you’re interested in making film, FACT can help! Another Version of Events is the official Liverpool Biennial 2016 film programme, and it’s also showing at FACT as part of the Liverpool Biennial. It features a selection of films influenced by genres including sci-fi, mockumentary, pseudo-documentary, mockbuster and ethnofiction, screened every Thursday throughout the Biennial.
And the rest
There was so much more that I could have written about this great place, such as the pub quiz, the work that the FACT brand has done for the city and the film in gallery 2 which FACT has co-commissioned. to name but a few. However, I am aware that someone hyping something so much can become off putting. So, I challenge you, reader, to spend a whole day and evening at FACT. It’s easy done. Check out a gallery, grab some food, catch a film and relax in the bar for the pub quiz. There you go, doesn’t sound too bad does it now.
We filmed the following videos at FACT last year…