Handmade Cinema is an award winning community cinema that transforms the way you watch film. We screen classic films in immersive environments and host film-related workshops, allowing family audiences to interact with film in a more engaging way.
With craft activities, decorated environments, live music, themed food and interactive workshops, Handmade Cinema screenings shun traditional one-dimensional cinema experiences and transform familiar films, such as The Jungle Book, Fantastic Mr Fox, Chicken Run, Mean Girls, Muppet’s Christmas Carol and many more.
Based in Sheffield and founded by Ellie Ragdale in 2013, Handmade Cinema aims to tackle the increasingly impersonal experience of film viewing. Ellie says: “I wanted to create something that was immersive, affordable and involved the audience in a way that gave them a sense of ownership and involvement in the film.”
In order to reach different communities, the Handmade Cinema team take portable screening equipment from venue to venue, presenting events at places as varied as Longshaw Estate, Burngreave Scout Hut, The Montgomery Theatre and Walkley Community Centre. Ahead of the final screening, community groups have the opportunity to explore the film’s themes and ideas through Handmade Cinema workshops involving crafts, filmmaking, creative writing, photography, pottery, drawing and more.
Handmade Cinema is a founding member of Girl Gang, a creative collective celebrating women and hosting film screenings amongst other events. Girl Gang Sheffield’s screenings of Mean Girls (2015) and The Punk Singer (2016) won Best Single Event for two consecutive years at The Film Society of the Year Awards. Ellie was also presented with the Outstanding Contribution Made by an Individual Award at the 2016 ceremony. And Voluntary Action Sheffield awarded Handmade Cinema Most Innovative Organisation at the Sheffield Make a Difference Awards in 2016.
Meet the Team
Name: Ellie Ragdale
Occupation: Creative Director
Top Film: I have so many! But, my ultimate go-to pick me up is Singing in the Rain
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? Aside from getting stuck in creating large-scale props, sets and characters with different communities, particularly the children and their parents, I enjoy exploring our chosen film’s themes, culture and location! Most of all though, I LOVE watching the audience’s faces as they enter the transformed venue – seeing their excitement at how their school hall/community centre/space is completely changed into the world of the film never fails to make me happy!
Name: Hannah Clugston
Occupation: Community Engagement Officer
Top Film: Coraline
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? Every time we put on a new film we get to be really creative, learn new crafts and collaborate with amazing artists. It is impossible not to feel inspired after an event and I love seeing our audiences getting more from the film than they would ordinarily. Plus, I get to work with a fab bunch of people!
Name: Ellen Ledger
Occupation: Art Leader at Kids Arts Academy, Nursery worker at Woodland Kindergarten and gymnastics coach
Top film: I don’t have a favourite but I do have a great appreciation for all films animated!
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? I like the creative parts and the massive pieces of cardboard we use to create things.
Name: Mike Scown
Occupation: Ceramicist, www.msc-ceramics.com
Top film: Into the Wild
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? Getting crafty and creative as a group.
Name: Marianne Slater
Occupation: Florist and Business Owner at Frances&Rose, www.francesandrose.co.uk
Top film: Changes with my mood, but usually The Shawshank Redemption
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? How much fun I have with everyone. And it’s amazing how I can watch a film – think nothing of it – and then when I watch it with Handmade Cinema my head becomes full of ideas as I think of all the amazing ways we can bring it to life. It is one of the best creative processes I’ve ever been part of!
Name: Jessica Inglis
Occupation: Learner Enhancement Manager
Top film: The Consequences of Love or It’s a Wonderful Life. Can’t choose between them.
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? Cutting, sticking painting and generally getting creative to make fabulous props for our film screenings.
Name: Sam Fowler
Occupation: Teacher Training Student by day – Cub Scout volunteer and printmaker by night.
Top film: I can think of nothing finer than watching Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. A film full to the brim with action, adventure and all the best bits of the 1980s.
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? The audience interaction is the best bit. I love being involved in every part of Handmade Cinema, but nothing beats watching people completely immersed – in the activities and in the watching of a film, in a magical environment that we’ve created.
Occupation: Team Coordinator/Reading volunteer
Top film: Birdman
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? Helping to create extraordinary cinema experiences for children and parents.
Name: Claire Healey
Top Film: Die Hard is prince of my heart, forever and always.
Favourite thing about Handmade Cinema? It is aaaaaalllllll about the crafting. Cardboard, poster paint, glitter – bring it on.