Cinema bosses do U-turn on film screening

CINEMA bosses have done a U-turn and decided to screen the multi-million pound movie Byzantium in Hastings after being bombarded with requests from angry film fans.

The Odeon in Queens Road will tonight(Friday) screen the movie after fans contacted head office to ask for it to be shown in their home town where it was filmed on location.

5/6/13- Film fans outside the Odeon Cinema, Hastings.

5/6/13- Film fans outside the Odeon Cinema, Hastings.

The nearest screenings were in Ashford and Crawley before Odeon bosses changed their minds and decided to show it here.

Paul Field, a member of the St Leonards Film Society, claims he was the first to register his disappointment.

Prospective parliamentary candidate for Hastings, Sarah Owen, started a Facebook campaign which attracted more than 100 supporters.

Paul said: “We couldn’t believe they weren’t going to show it in the town where it was filmed. Total madness.”

The film is a British-Irish fantasy thriller directed by Oscar winner Neil Jordan starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton and Jonny Lee Miller.

The story involves a mother and daughter vampire duo and was filmed on location in Hastings last September.

It cost up to £8 million to produce and was released across the UK last Friday.

Producers contacted the St Leonards Film Society to help provide several local extras who were interviewed at the White Rock Hotel.

The former Palace Court Hotel and the seafront were regular locations for filming.

Dawn Dublin, secretary of the St Leonards Film Society, said: “There should be a fanfare for this film in Hastings.

“A lot of people want to see it here because a lot of people were involved locally.”

Odeon spokeswoman Danielle Wilson said: “As the largest cinema group in Europe, Odeon is proud to offer guests a wide selection of films to enjoy on the big screen.

“That said, from time to time, films have limited distribution and on this occasion Byzantium has not been released at all Odeon sites.

“However, in light of the recent requests received by guests, Odeon Hastings is delighted to announce Byzantium will begin screening from today.”

Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration at the council said: “We’re very pleased that Byzantium will be shown in Hastings. This major international film, helps our growing reputation as a stunning, unique location for filmmakers and adds another string to our bow as we aim to be City of Culture 2017.”

Ms Owen said: “It was a bit of a batty decision not to show Byzantium here.

“When I spoke to the offices of distributor Studio Canal, they clearly took on board what local people wanted. This is a great result. I started the Facebook campaign with a few other local film buffs last Friday when we found out the film was not showing here. If Hastings was good enough to shoot the film in, it should be good enough to show the film here.”