Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House is an epic 14-day filmathon that takes place every summer – and this year is no exception. We headed down to see what all the fuss is about.
Set in the historic setting of Somerset House in central London, Film4 Summer Screen’s current season is already under way and while you’ve already missed some amazing films (you fools!), there’s still time to catch awesome screenings over the remaining nights.
You can find a full listings of all remaining showings (and ticketing options) right here. And below –having attended the series’ awesome horror double bill of Donnie Darko and The Omen on Saturday night – we sum up exactly why you need to put Film4 Summer Series right at the top of your to-do list.
It’s fun watching a film under the stars
Sure, the cinema is fun, everyone loves watching a movie on the big screen… but you just can’t beat an outdoor cinema experience. Summer Screen’s huge, thwacking screen is not only London’s largest, but the open-air setting in Somerset House also offers unrivalled views of the night sky as it darkens above you; all while you lounge on blankets, pillows and cushions (you can rent these here, or take your own), as some of the most amazing films ever committed to celluloid play out before you.
Somerset House is steeped in history
The Neoclassical grandeur of Somerset House is a breath-taking sight to behold. Originally the site of a Tudor palace, the building was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1776, with Victorian extensions taking place in the early 1800s. It’s also been used as a filming location for countless movies, including The Duchess (2008), two Bond films – Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and GoldenEye (1995) – and can be seen in several Sherlock Holmes films, including the 1970 film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, and Guy Ritchie’s modern take, starring Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr.
Fabulous food and drink
Summer Screen has food and drink nailed. There’s a fully licensed bar and coffee point to keep you well lubricated throughout the screening, and you’re also welcome to bring your own picnic into the venue – although no glassware, crockery or sharp knives are permitted.
We went for dinner before the show and smuggled in our leftovers, gorging on cold pizza and burrata and turned quite a few heads; which, frankly, we feel is half the point of picnicking – to incite food envy in your neighbours.
We needn’t have bothered though! There’s a range of food available to buy on site, Tom Kitchen offer a selection of picnic hampers which can be bought at the same time as purchasing tickets, which are then available to collect at the venue on the night.
There’s an awesome exhibition to boot
As if the screening itself wasn’t enough, the venue’s annual film poster exhibition in collaboration with Print Club London returns again this August, featuring 20 original screen-printed artworks inspired by the Film4 Summer Screen programme.
The exhibition is open every day and each evening, prior to the screenings. Each of the posters is part of a limited-edition, signed and numbered by the artist, and exclusively available to purchase on site for £60.00. It’s well worth a look.
You might even learn something
Part of the joy of Summer Screen is just how excited the people behind it are. The programme has been especially curated by talented, interested and insightful Film4 honchos who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to movies.
Each screening is lovingly introduced by the series’ curators, giving the audience a real understanding about why the film has made the programme, what makes it special and why it’s important to the history of celluloid.
You can still buy tickets for the remaining screenings at Somerset House via Ticketmaster.co.uk right now. What are you waiting for?