The Guardian‘s Film Blog got all in a lather earlier this week about redevelopment plans at the Barbican, expressing concern that “the likes of Japanimation or the series of silent films could potentially face withdrawal thanks to only one working screen.”
I’m pleased that The Guardian recognises the importance of screening anime regularly as a vital part of any serious coverage of world film, but I think they’re worrying prematurely. Robert Rider and his team at Barbican Cinema remain committed to presenting world cinema in all its gorgeous diversity. As far as Japanimation is concerned, we have a firm list of screenings to the end of the current season in July, and we have some exciting plans to build on this in the autumn.
When we planned the first Japanimation season, back in 2006, we only programmed three sessions, just to see how it went. Four years on, it’s still going, attracting a hardcore audience of regulars for every session and luring in newcomers with special events like our themed seasons and our December Ponyo/MaiMai Miracle double bill.
Yes, only having one screen means that Japanimation will have to fit in with all the other strands of cinema at the Barbican, and that might mean moving off our regular last Tuesday of the month spot and using whatever dates we can get – but it also means we get the wide open spaces of Cinema One to play in.
Japanimation, like everything else on the Barbican Cinema schedule, will adapt to changing circumstances. We may have to fit around the builders, but we don’t intend to disappear. And if prospective buyers of the plush new flats currently being added to the Barbican’s Rubik-cube structure feel that they could be missing out by not being able to hear Japanimation screenings through their walls, they’re welcome to come and join us anytime.