The Picture House

Posted: June 24, 2018 in Documentary, Editing, Uncategorized
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The Story of Limerick’s Cinemas

Director David Burns outside the Royal Theatre, Limerick.

Following the first documentary Kemmy (2017) (on the late Limerick Politician Jim Kemmy), comes David Burns’ second factual feature, ‘The Picture House‘. This hour long film documentary tells the story of the glory days of Limerick’s one-screen cinemas until their demise in the late 1980s.

We see how the cinema screen was, and is, the biggest cultural outlet for Limerick people, and look at the various venues that thrived in and around the City Centre. We get the idea of how most theatres mainly screened films but also mounted variety shows, concerts, operas, plays, and talent shows.

The documentary has three main threads:

  • The main cinemas, the films, shows and their market. How the venues came and went.
  • The people who worked in the cinemas, from manager to page boy. Their struggle for a proper wage.
  • The cinema-going public and their stories.The attitudes of the authorities – mainly the Church.

At its height in the sixties, Limerick had seven or eight cinemas of various standards, and the documentary looks at them with regard to their history, and their impact on Limerick’s cultural social and economic life.  We see the slow demise of the city centre cinemas due to neglect, competition from television and VHS, and the rise of the profitable suburban multiplex.

The documentary uses a presenter to tour the main cinemas.  At each venue, we get a potted history of the cinema, together with photographs and adverts from the Leader, background material –reminiscences from the staff who worked there, stories about the behaviour of the clientele, the kind of films that were shown together with film posters and snatches of music, the controversies which arose, and reminiscences from patrons.

The Picture House seeks to give an overarching flavour of the history of Cinema from the first cinema in La Ciotat in 1899, the advent of talking pictures, colour, the evolution of digital cinema and the return of the city centre cinema in the 21stCentury.

Simon is on board as Editor again and post production will take place over the summer of 2018 with a projected release in Autumn 2018.

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