Last night The Showroom cinema in Sheffield hosted a screening of Ken Loach’s latest masterpiece of social realism ‘Sorry We Missed You’. Followed by a Q&A with the legendary director. The film itself is an all too familiar story in this gig worker economy. But more on that later from Daniel Dylan Wray.
The Showroom is no stranger to a good Q&A, regularly hosting events with guests ranging from activists to university professors. I’ve previously attended the anniversary screening of Planet of the Apes followed by a Q&A surrounding dystopia with professors from the University of Sheffield. The politically charged session tonight with Ken Loach, director of classics like Kes, The Wind That Shakes The Barley and I Daniel Blake, further highlighted the need for more investment in independent cinemas in the UK. When comparing the screening numbers for his previous work I Daniel Blake (400 in France compared to just 40 in the UK), Loach offered the explanation that ‘popcorn sellers aren’t interested in the misery of real stories, however we need to remember cinema is more than just Hollywood’.
Questions fielded ranged from thoughts on the gig economy, zero hour contracts to the global climate emergency with Loach offering his sympathies to the South Yorkshire audience following a week of heavy flooding in the area but remarked ‘Venice has flooded also, so you’re in good company’. Loach also brought attention to the dangers of ‘box checking’ with regards to television programming. When questioned about the need for wider distribution of his work explaining that I Daniel Blake had been ‘’recommended for Film4 over Channel 4 as Channel 4 had Benefits Street’’.
Further to this Loach pointed out that on the night I, Daniel Blake was shown on Film 4, Channel 4 was screening The Man with Ten Stone Testicles. ‘’How do you compete with that’’ Loach quipped. He went further in explaining his distribution model for I, Daniel Blake of how “for £100 we’d give individuals the film and all the equipment necessary to screen it, so it was shown in bars, libraries, sports halls and cafes”.
All in all it was a fantastic evening allowing almost unfiltered access to one of the greatest minds in British Cinema. If you missed the screening last night I urge you all to go and see Sorry We Missed You.
Thanks again go to The Showroom. for first and foremost hosting a fantastic evening. and secondly for having vimto on tap.