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#MyDreamPalace

Cinemas are a public treasure – a vital site for film magic and discovery and invaluable places of economic exchange, social communion, and personal escape and solace.

With the lockdown of so many cinemas in the UK, Europe and around the world, we face a crisis that is undermining the business of public film exhibition and threatens to shutter countless cinemas for good. That’s why we are launching an editorial campaign to celebrate, cherish and defend these spaces for the future.

#MyDreamPalace will be a communal celebration of the magic of moviegoing. Over the next winter months, and until cinema curtains roll up and the lights go down, we’ll be asking filmmakers from across the world to reflect on their favourite and formative cinemas in the time of Covid.

We’ll also be spotlighting the people who make cinemas work, from projectionists to ushers to programmers. And we’ll explore what kind of cinema ecosystem we want to emerge from this crisis.

We ask you our readers to join in: tell us about your favourite dream palace and what makes it so special. Join us on social media in posting pictures and videos of treasured cinemas, stories about memorable experiences you’ve had in the audience and observations about what makes film-going an irreplaceable rite. Tag your posts #MyDreamPalace and we’ll share as much as we can. And if you want to drop us any private pitches or suggestions, please email us at s&s@bfi.org.uk

While we wait to again be – to paraphrase Susan Sontag – kidnapped by movies, sitting in the dark alongside anonymous strangers, overwhelmed by the physical presence of the image in front of us, here’s remembering what Tilda Swinton hymned as the “wild wide screen”.

Edgar Wright launches our campaign

My dream palaces: Edgar Wright revels in a life at the movies

Launching our My Dream Palaces celebration of our cinemas, British writer-director Edgar Wright pens an ode to cinemas great and small – from his childhood watching blockbusters in Bournemouth to the socially-distanced screenings of 2020.

By Edgar Wright

My dream palaces: Edgar Wright revels in a life at the movies

Mark Cousins takes his torch to the Edinburgh Filmhouse

Filmmakers’ Dream Palaces

Kleber Mendonça Filho on Recife’s Cinema São Luiz, his hometown picture palace

By Kleber Mendonça Filho

Kleber Mendonça Filho on Recife’s Cinema São Luiz, his hometown picture palace

“Cinema is my happy place”: Francis Lee celebrates cinemas as community spaces

By Francis Lee

“Cinema is my happy place”: Francis Lee celebrates cinemas as community spaces

Christian Petzold on discovering The Deer Hunter one wintry night in Berlin

By Christian Petzold

Christian Petzold on discovering The Deer Hunter one wintry night in Berlin

Cate Shortland on escaping suburbia in Australia’s arthouse cinemas

By Cate Shortland

Cate Shortland on escaping suburbia in Australia’s arthouse cinemas

Małgorzata Szumowska on American movies and communist Krakow

By Malgorzata Szumowska

Małgorzata Szumowska on American movies and communist Krakow

Viggo Mortensen on watching widescreen epics in 1960s Buenos Aires

By Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen on watching widescreen epics in 1960s Buenos Aires

John Akomfrah on why the Rio in Dalston is more than a cinema

By John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah on why the Rio in Dalston is more than a cinema

Guy Maddin recalls his anarchic teen years at the Gimli Theatre, Manitoba

By Guy Maddin

Guy Maddin recalls his anarchic teen years at the Gimli Theatre, Manitoba

Ritesh Batra on the New Roshan Talkies, a cinema frozen in time from old Mumbai

By Ritesh Batra

Ritesh Batra on the New Roshan Talkies, a cinema frozen in time from old Mumbai

Zhu Shengze on watching movies in Wuhan and the oasis that is Missouri’s Ragtag cinema

By Zhu Shengze

Zhu Shengze on watching movies in Wuhan and the oasis that is Missouri’s Ragtag cinema

Wanuri Kahiu pays tribute to Nairobi’s Fox drive-in cinema

By Wanuri Kahiu

Wanuri Kahiu pays tribute to Nairobi’s Fox drive-in cinema

Richard Stanley hymns London’s Scala cinema

By Richard Stanley

Richard Stanley hymns London’s Scala cinema

Céline Sciamma on the Cinema Utopia, the cinema of her teens

By Céline Sciamma

Céline Sciamma on the Cinema Utopia, the cinema of her teens

Peter Strickland on the Husets Biograf, Copenhagen’s cinematic cabinet of curiosities

By Peter Strickland

Peter Strickland on the Husets Biograf, Copenhagen’s cinematic cabinet of curiosities

Mark Cousins on Sarajevo’s Obala cinema and watching films in a war zone

By Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins on Sarajevo’s Obala cinema and watching films in a war zone

Rian Johnson on the distinct charm of the New Beverly Cinema

By Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson on the distinct charm of the New Beverly Cinema
See all our Dream Palace features

Cinemas and the coronavirus

“We’re on a war footing”: independent cinemas stand their ground against the pandemic

By Charles Gant

“We’re on a war footing”: independent cinemas stand their ground against the pandemic

How the coronavirus hit cinema

How the coronavirus hit cinema

The numbers: the coronavirus effect on the UK box office

By Charles Gant

The numbers: the coronavirus effect on the UK box office

Lockdown lessons: 13 UK film industry leaders on coping with Covid

By Isabel Stevens

Lockdown lessons: 13 UK film industry leaders on coping with Covid

Lockdown lessons: BFI CEO Ben Roberts on UK film and the Covid crisis

By Isabel Stevens

Lockdown lessons: BFI CEO Ben Roberts on UK film and the Covid crisis

Lockdown lessons: Sheffield Doc/Fest director Cíntia Gil on defending the collective experience of cinema

By Trevor Johnston

Lockdown lessons: Sheffield Doc/Fest director Cíntia Gil on defending the collective experience of cinema

Turkish cinephilia in the time of Covid-19: quarantined but not forgotten

Turkish cinephilia in the time of Covid-19: quarantined but not forgotten

More celebrations of cinema from our archive

The View from Here, by Tilda Swinton

By Tilda Swinton

The View from Here, by Tilda Swinton

Gallery: five new London cinemas

Gallery: five new London cinemas

Building a small cinema in Liverpool

By Anthony Killick

Building a small cinema in Liverpool

Celluloid haven: Close Up Cinema

Celluloid haven: Close Up Cinema

Deptford Cinema: one for all!

Deptford Cinema: one for all!

Expanding your world: Bertha DocHouse in the Curzon Bloomsbury

Expanding your world: Bertha DocHouse in the Curzon Bloomsbury

London’s Cinema Museum is keeping cinephilia alive. Can it be saved?

London’s Cinema Museum is keeping cinephilia alive. Can it be saved?

Cinephilia down the ages: a Museum of the Everyday

By Pamela Hutchinson

Cinephilia down the ages: a Museum of the Everyday

Lang may yer lum reek: Glasgow at the movies

By Emma Jackson

Lang may yer lum reek: Glasgow at the movies

Revenge of the fleshpit!

Revenge of the fleshpit!

Welcome to the Overnight: 48 hours at a cinephile retreat

By Charlie Shackleton

Welcome to the Overnight: 48 hours at a cinephile retreat

The three o’clock rite: Ingmar Bergman’s home cinema

The three o’clock rite: Ingmar Bergman’s home cinema

The Cinema Travellers – first-look review

By Ben Nicholson

The Cinema Travellers – first-look review

An open letter in defence of Moscow’s Museum of Cinema and its professional staff

An open letter in defence of Moscow’s Museum of Cinema and its professional staff

The smouldering screen: Kevin Brownlow on the lustre of nitrate

The smouldering screen: Kevin Brownlow on the lustre of nitrate

Tug of love: a cinema pilgrimage with Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins

By Nick James

Tug of love: a cinema pilgrimage with Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins