Thursday 18 February 2016 saw two groundbreaking Christian events in one spectacular occasion. For the first time, a major faith-based cinema event opened simultaneously in the UK and in the US. In fact, if you take into account the international time difference, the UK led the way by a few hours. The movie, WOMEN OF FAITH: An Amazing Joyful Journey, premiered at KICC The Open Door’s new cinema in Crystal Palace (London): The Open Door Cinema.
The Open Door Cinema is the brain-child of former leader of the Christian Party and hit producer-songwriter, Rev Dr George Hargreaves, who is now the Chief Executive of The Christian Cinema Charitable Trust. The Scottish based charity, set up to promote Christian cinema throughout the world, has negotiated a deal with KICC The Open Door to run a fully fledged digital cinema at their £3m facility at 25 Church Road, Crystal Palace, London.
Dr Hargreaves says, “The Open Door Cinema is a cinema with a difference, and shows the way forward for other churches with similar buildings who really want to engage with the wider community.”
The Open Door Cinema is Crystal Palace’s long-awaited cinema venue. Local residents and politicians have long campaigned for it and now it is here. However, The Open Door is no ordinary cinema. Set in the beautifully restored former Rialto Cinema, which was built by AC Matthews in the 1920s, The Open Door Cinema is a unique combination of movie theatre, bistro buffet and restaurant.
For those who do not wish to dine, The Open Door Cinema’s balcony transports them back in time to the heyday of cinema. They can enjoy their popcorn high above a 30-feet-wide silver screen, and watch movies on the big screen in a way that is simply not on offer in the multi-screen cinema complexes.
Not only will the best new movie releases be shown at The Open Door Cinema, but also live satellite broadcast events, such as: ballets; Shakespeare’s plays and Ted Talks; documentaries; film premieres; film previews and directors’ Q&A screenings.
The Open Door Cinema will run a cinema-restaurant on the ground floor, with a seating capacity of 134 in full view of the cinema screen, with the upstairs balcony seating 299 for patrons who do not want to eat.
The Open Door Cinema’s fully digital cinema system and 30-feet-wide 3D cinema screen has meant that it can offer movies, such as WOMEN OF FAITH: An Amazing Joyful Journey, gala openings and premieres to rival London’s West End and New York’s Broadway.
“When we told the New York-based distributor, By Experience, what we were doing, it was they who asked us if we would launch WOMEN OF FAITH: An Amazing Joyful Journey in the UK. It seemed to be highly appropriate and good thing to do so – even a God thing,” noted Rev Clement Adeboye, a trustee of The Christian Cinema Charitable Trust.
WOMEN OF FAITH: An Amazing Joyful Journey charts the work of America’s leading women’s ministry for over almost 20 years. Women of Faith (http://www.womenoffaith.com/ ) grew to become the largest non-denominational Christian women’s conference, touching over five million lives with personal stories full of laughter and tears.
Stage events have included such inspirational and spiritual luminaries such as: Campus Crusade for Christ’s Mary Graham; author and reality TV star, Korie Robertson; author and popular speaker, Luci Swindoll; author Sheila Walsh, and others.
The cinema event takes viewers on the journey of Women of Faith through the years: on stage and off; on their travels with World Vision; their impact on audiences – in short, the way they’ve changed the world. Partly historical and frequently hysterical, this unique cinematic experience will be packed with some of the most popular pieces from the beloved speaking team, to include: Thelma Wells, Anna Trent, Mary Graham, Luci Swindoll, Sheila Walsh, Jen Hatmaker, Sandi Patty, Patsy Clairmont, Nicole Johnson and Marilyn Meberg, as well as music and performances from Christian contemporary artists who appeared on the tour.
Featuring never-before-seen interviews, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, this cinema presentation brings back memories for all those who have attended a Women of Faith weekend, as well as creating new memories for those experiencing it for the first time.
The WOMEN OF FAITH: An Amazing Joyful Journey was launched in partnership with World Vision, and the Gala Banquet’s opening night acknowledged the work of both World Vision as well as The Christian Cinema Charitable Trust’s Solar Cinema Project in Africa, which is establishing a network of solar-powered community cinemas across the African continent.