‘Film and Food’ is flavour of the month for student business

Wed, 03 Dec 2014 10:32:00 GMT

Marsden-based Ginger Bread House Presents takes national awards for its cinema enterprise

‘Film and Food’ is flavour of the month for student business FILM enthusiasts have plenty of food for thought, thanks to an award-winning cinema venture that has received crucial backing from the University of Huddersfield.  When they attend screenings presented by the group, audiences are served meals from menus inspired by the movie they are about to view.

For example, Babette’s Feast was accompanied by a five-course tasting menu of gourmet delights, food from America’s Deep South spiced up a screening of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and there were Hawaiian recipes when filmgoers saw the musical version of From Here to Eternity.

It is a unique format that has just earned the venture named Ginger Bread House Presents, based in Marsden, near Huddersfield, two prizes at the 2014 Cinema for All Film Society of the Year Awards.

There was the accolade of Best New Society 2014 plus the £1,000 Filmbank Audience Award, for which there was strong UK-wide competition.

Film and food

Suzi Tibbets Co-director of the group Suzi Tibbetts (pictured left) – a lecturer at Leeds College of Art – is delighted by the awards.  They complement her personal success in just being awarded her PhD degree – in art education – at the University of Huddersfield.  As a research student at the University, she was able to join its Enterprise Support programme and make successful applications for funding that enabled the new community cinema group – a social enterprise – to acquire the equipment it needed for movie screenings.

The main venue for the Food and Film nights and other film presentations, is Marsden Band Room, but Ginger Bread House also aim to use other locations to show films that local audiences would otherwise not get to see on the big screen.  Huddersfield’s elegant Byram Arcade is one possibility being investigated.

Suzi Tibbetts explained that the group’s unusual name stems from her partner Richard Higginbotham – known as Higg – who is a baker and has ginger hair!  His culinary expertise is important in preparing the menus for the Food and Film nights.

The couple moved to Marsden after a period living in York, but while she soon felt at home in the Colne Valley, Dr Tibbetts missed the opportunities to attend screenings of art house, foreign language and independent movies.  She and like-minded people decided to start a film club in Marsden, but the cost of film licences was steep.  As a way of making the venture an economic proposition, they developed the concept of film and food nights and the venture has been a success, with growing audiences.


The importance of public screenings

Ginger Bread House has taken part in the Holmfirth Film Festival and is now launching a new venture dubbed The Electric Theatre, named after Marsden’s last cinema.  These film-only screenings will take place on the first Sunday of each month and there will also be free afternoon screenings of family films.

Dr Tibbetts and her colleagues are definite about the importance of public screenings, even in the age of the DVD and online streaming.

“It is all about being in a room with a lot of other people, where everybody laughs or gasps at certain points and the emotion can build in a group environment,” she says.

She has a background as an artist and has also worked behind the scenes as an art director in TV and film – including a stint with TV programme Big Brother.

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