A Guide to Unusual Film Screenings

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We examine the finest, and more off-piste, filmic offerings London has to offer...

Lights, camera, London! While we adore the familiar embrace of the average cinema experience, it's time to flip the script and dive into the reel deal of unusual film screenings scattered across the city. We've curated a guide that promises to reel you in with its quirks and charms. Bid adieu to the mega multiplexes and embrace the hidden gems of London's film scene, where every frame tells a tale and every screening is a cinematic escapade.

Herne Hill Free Film Festival

Herne Hill Free Film Festival via Facebook

This May, London is in for a celluloid sensation as the Herne Hill Free Film Festival proudly celebrates its 11th year in the spotlight. From cult classics to modern marvels, the lineup promises to have audiences shouting "Lights, camera, action!" from the rooftops. Picture yourself swooning under the stars with Moonlight at Brixton Lido, or getting tangled up in the greenery with Little Shop of Horrors at the South London Botanical Institute.

Doc 'n' Roll Film Festival

Doc 'n' roll films via Facebook

While the main event jams out in the autumn, this music-infused extravaganza keeps the rhythm alive all year round with screenings across various London cinemas. Led by a powerhouse team, Doc 'n' Roll is your ticket to dive deep into the heart and soul of the music industry, celebrating the unsung heroes and chart-toppers alike. From soulful sagas like Don't Forget Your Music, following the rise of Gregory Porter, to electrifying premieres and encore screenings that hit all the right notes, this festival is music to every cinephile's ears.

The Barbican Centre


Silk Street Level -2, EC2Y 8DS

Within this brutalist beauty lies a trio of screens showcasing a curated collection of indie gems, foreign flicks, and timeless classics. From the latest releases to under-heard voices and celebrated filmmakers, The Barbican delivers a cinematic experience that's as diverse as it is delightful. But wait, there's more! With special baby-friendly screenings and youth memberships that won't break the bank, this cultural hub offers something for cinephiles of all ages. And let's not forget the cherry on top – homemade popcorn that's sure to make your taste buds sing!

Backyard Cinema

Backyard cinema via Facebook

 2-4 Armoury Way, London SW18 1SH

Backyard Cinema is bringing the beach to Borough! Escape the concrete jungle and dive into an oasis of cinematic delight as Miami meets London in this sandy sensation. From Back to the Future to Clueless, there's no shortage of crowd-pleasers to sink your toes into. From its humble beginnings in a back garden to becoming the talk of the town with themed sets and drinks, Backyard Cinema proves that when it comes to movie magic, they're making waves like no other.

Rooftop Film Club

Rooftop Film Club via Facebook

 Roof A, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST

 Rooftop Film Club Roof East, Great Eastern Rd, London E15 1BB

With locations in Peckham and Stratford,the Rooftop Film Club brings the magic of the silver screen to the city skyline. Picture yourself lounging under the stars, munching on street food, and sipping on cocktails while watching everything from Barbie to Mamma Mia or 50 First Dates. It's a cinematic soirée like no other, where every ticket comes with a free drink – talk about a reel deal! So grab your blankets, grab your buddies, and get ready to soak in the sights and sounds of cinema under the open sky.

Rivoli Ballroom Cinema Nights


 350 Brockley Rd, London SE4 2BY

The magic of the silver screen meets the vintage charm of a 1950's ballroom extravaganza! Hosted by Crofton Park Pictures, these pop-up cinema nights are gracing the hallowed halls of Rivoli Ballroom over three enchanting evenings every month. As one of London's last remaining intact 1950s-style ballrooms, Rivoli Ballroom exudes an authentic vintage vibe, making it the perfect backdrop for your cinematic escapades. With its maple dance floor ready to rock 'n' roll and its timeless interior transporting you back in time, Rivoli Ballroom has been the setting for iconic TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing and blockbuster films like The Avengers and Legend.