Outdoor cinema enjoyment - Hodsock Priory

Outdoor Cinema Events – How to prepare and enjoy them!

The Big Sky Cinema crew ( find out about us here) firmly believe that Outdoor Cinema screenings are a magical place where you get to experience your favourite films in a brand new way whilst (hopefully) being under the stars.

Wherever you choose to watch a film is instantly a magical environment as you’re transported off into a world of escapism – yes even when watching and listening on public transport on your phone. These days we have so many options and everyone’s preferences are catered for, it’s great but for most nothing tops the magic of a big screen environment.

Multiplexes are great and with options like IMAX, 3D and even 4DX available in most cities now there’s something to please everyone but have you experienced the most magical of all the options? Have you personally seen a film in the wild? 

If not then why not make your first outdoor cinema experience this year? We have plenty on offer – just take a look over here.

Outdoor cinema as an industry (largely due to the film licensing costs) is quite prohibitive which means that smaller operators tend to stick to classic films, as opposed to venturing into more experimental waters. This creates a wonderful atmosphere as most of your fellow attendees know the film as well as you do and there’s an instant camaraderie as quotes are spoken and words are sung along too without fear.

We’ve put together our top 3 tips for how to enjoy the awesome unrivalled experience of outdoor cinema for you.

Top tip 1 for enjoying an outdoor cinema event is to have fun!

Blog outdoor cinema tip 1

Unlike in traditional cinema environments interaction, applause and even singing along is entirely encouraged! If we are showing your favourite film then, of course, you know the lines so quote them loudly and proudly – no-one will shh you and it’s highly likely you will be surrounded by fellow film fans who are doing the same thing – which just adds to the happiness shared in the audience.

The whole point of taking the cinema experience that we all love so deeply outside is to add more fun to the experience. We want you to remember these events for years to come and create some everlasting memories with us, we want you to tell your friends about the summer that you enjoyed your favourite film in a beautiful location.

This said it’s a friendly environment that we create and making friends is encouraged, chat before and after the film about plots, your favourite characters and moments.

Tip 2 for enjoying outdoor cinema is all about preparation!

Packing for all weather conditions is sensible, ensuring, of course, there is a cosy blanket or two. We live in England after all, so we need to ensure we are prepared to enjoy a night under the stars. The worst thing about outdoor pursuits and experiences is often that the pesky unpredictable weather can cause issues, so we find that the key is sensible preparation as our events go ahead even with rain (unless it’s deemed to be dangerous wind speeds/weather).

If you’re bringing along children then you can even make it a fun experience even at with the preparation stage – getting little ones to pick their favourite wellies, sunglasses and pack a ‘survival pack’  to cover all elements with all their favourites. For adults, we’ve seen all sorts brought along to add comfort to screenings (we provide chairs at most venues) from deckchairs to inflatable sofas and obviously cosy blankets through to small tents to lie down in.

Films can’t screen until the sun goes down – we have to wait for it to be bright enough for the picture to be perfect for you as we rear project the film to the screen. This in mind, the temperature can quickly drop at some points in the year so having an extra jumper or scarf is always a handy idea – plus it double up as a something to cosy up into or under.


Tip 3 to enjoy the outdoor experience is to enjoy the experience with home comforts.

The ultimate best part of outdoor cinema has to be the lack of restrictions, you’re likely to be in a fun and unusual location for your film watching experience so embrace it. Food offerings and refreshments will be available at all of our events, as we have our own food truck, a popcorn machine with freshly popped popcorn and of course we’ve got a selection of locally made ice-cream flavours to tempt you too.

We suggest making a day of it with a picnic and bringing along some drinks (there is a bar available at most of our events) and grabbing some ice-cream from us will all just add to your magical experience. So picnics and pennies are key. We can accept card at most venues (connections dependant) so bringing cash is always appreciated – especially in remote locations.

Most of all we work hard to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for you to cherish (whatever the weather). Our aim is that you’ll love the atmosphere so much that you will join us again, share your experience on social media and next time bring along friends to share it with. 

If you aren’t sure what films we are screening this year, or which brilliant venues we are working with then please take a look here.

See you in the wild!

Big Sky Cinema Blog Post for …and may all your Christmases be white”, thanks for joining us in 2017!

…and may all your Christmases be white”, thanks for joining us in 2017!

As we are all winding down for Christmas and preparing for our festivities and traditions, while wrapping those last presents and buying last minute gifts online – let’s be honest we all do it. We thought we would take a few minutes to give every single one of our customers this year a giant virtual hug, and in case you will not be attending our final screenings later this week then we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

In the film industry, the festive season kicks off with Halloween in October, as it is the first time where the films truly take centre stage in everyday life. Netflix and other streaming options create more collections and upload more horror films and shows. The blockbuster season draws to a close in cinemas and audiences are greeted with an onslaught of horror movies.

Throughout October we got screen some absolute classics of cinema and delightfully scare some audiences. A highlight was getting to use our new indoor cinema set up with the historic Lady Margaret Hall at Welbeck Abbey – the vintage hall setting certainly increased the creepy factor at our screening of The Omen. Then seeing the 1980’s special effects of A Nightmare on Elm Street come to life once more against the backdrop of a very dark night on a huge screen was unique. If you were lucky enough to have a ticket to the sold out Rocky Horror Picture Show screening then you will be aware of all the effort everyone made with their costumes and support, even Blend and their staff got involved.

We sat down and had a season debrief ahead of our final festive 2017 events last week and realised that as 2018 rolls around we will have screened 15 films over 5 months. The concept of booking events and venues in the UK for Big Sky Cinema only came to fruition in May 2017. We hosted our first event with Blend, screening the excellent, nostalgic Back to the Future in July. We have followed this up working with five very different venues and delighting hundreds of audience members in some unique settings. So we need to say a huge thank you for letting us be able to do all of this, it is all born of a passion for film and sharing it, and without an audience, we could not do any of it so here is to all of you, our film loving community.

We hosted our first event with Blend, screening the excellent, nostalgic Back to the Future in July 2017

What are our plans for next year you ask? Well, we are in talks with the film licensing agencies and our partner venues planning our 2018 season and it is exciting! If you have a movie you would like us to screen or an event that you want to hire us for then, please get in touch in the new year and we will see what we can do.

Right, we best be off to dust off our kit for the final few screenings. There’s still a couple of seats left for Die Hard on Friday 22nd Dec at Blend – we are even going to be playing a slightly special version of bingo as we watch – if you are a Hans Gruber fan and a McClane expert, this is the film event for you. Or if you prefer a family favourite then we are seeing in Christmas with It’s A Wonderful Life at Welbeck Abbey on Thursday 21st Dec – both films are indoor screenings.

You can grab tickets for our final events of this year online through our box office.

See you in 2018!

Big Sky Cinema Blog Post for Scalarama Film Festival and the Importance of our Film Community!

Scalarama Film Festival and the Importance of our Film Community!

We all know that the start of a new calendar year sees all the fancy awards ceremonies and that summer is Blockbuster season for new releases. Are you aware of the importance of September in a film fan’s calendar though? A now international film festival occurs, which sees Nottingham’s film showing community come together for a month to put on some awesome events and this is the first year that we get to be a part of this iconic film festival – it is safe to say that we are excited!

So what is Scalarama ? Seven years ago a one-off film festival began in London, occupying a few bars and cafes who put up temporary screens and offered a cinema experience to audiences. It’s grown year on year, and now in its sixth year Nottingham sees many film clubs and societies band together and curate a programme that tries to show things a bit more unique. The primary intention of Scalarama is to ‘fill the land with cinemas’ and working with a pop-up cinema we certainly fulfil that requirement. It’s all about turning unexpected venues and spaces that wouldn’t typically be related to films into something different for a night or a series of screenings.

Now several years on Scalarama involves over 70 locations internationally and supports hundreds of film clubs in its pure intention of building cinemas across the land. Nottingham has played a significant part over the past few years and this year was no different as the city hosted some unique events and collaborations. It’s a selection of eclectic and exciting content, you’re likely to see films that you’ve never heard of, enjoy classics in new ways that you never thought possible and you are likely to make a bunch of new film obsessive friends to share your cinematic adventures with.

Take a look at the trailer below to see what was on offer this year, besides our own events we particularly loved the collaboration of Porlock Press and The Film Exchange’s interactive screening of The Running Man at Laser Quest and Fortune and Glory Film Club’s screening of Scott Pilgrim.

We personally delighted a bunch of true film fans who quoted The Princess Bride word for word, worked with a new venue and screened this year’s big Oscar winner La La Land at Welbeck Abbey and continued the musical vibe with a screening of the iconic and very special West Side Story at Blend – it was rather busy , if you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see next year, let us know!

One of the beauties of cinema is being able to bring people together, allowing fellow fans to quote along and enjoy the experience. So when multiple film groups, clubs, societies and cinemas come together to combine their film picking powers, it is nothing short of brilliant.

Something that we have learnt this season is that when watching films outdoors under the stars, these feelings of community are heightened with sing-a-longs and audience participation. We recently ended our summer season with Mamma Mia at Hodsock Priory and Rocky Horror Picture Show at Blend – and one of our favourite moments was the giant sing-a-long as the credits rolled, as everyone was just so happy and having a great time at both events. Film as a medium really does bring people together.

For us, cinema offers the chance to indulge in some escapism, and we hope that we provided that across September. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Scalarama programming. If you missed out this year, then take a look at the trailer to see what to expect in 2018 when Nottingham’s film community reunites once more.

Big Sky Cinema Blog Post for The Story of our Beginning

The Story of our Beginning

If it’s ok we would like to share our story with you. Seeing as we hosted our first UK film screenings last month with a nostalgic evening with Back to the Future in Nottingham City Centre with Blend, followed by the magical Beauty and the Beast and new family favourite Moana at Hodsock Abbey. It was a quite a month, we faced British weather for the first time and our audiences delighted with picnics in the grass and enjoying the gorgeous vocals of talented performer Jenny Skuse before we jumped in with Doc and Marty over at Blend. Sharing stories on the big screen in beautiful outdoor locations is something we love that we get to do.

We thought we would take a little time to introduce ourselves and talk about how Big Sky Cinema came into being and our own story. Interestingly we are a branch of a Social Enterprise, and our profits are reinvested to supporting schemes within our social mission and charitable objectives via our parent company Eudaimonia. So every time you see a film with us or hire us you’re doing a good deed too. How great is that?

Big Sky Cinema currently consists of three individuals who bring a vast amount of experience in film and events to every screening and the experience that can we provide. Steve, Iain and Amy all pride themselves on their detailed level of customer service that they provide and are all film lovers – but their taste is hugely different! You can find out more about the team here.

Big Sky Cinema interestingly didn’t exactly begin in England; it was born many, many miles away in Africa – in Meru to be precise. Eudaimonia works with people in Meru to better their lives and provide new opportunities and in the summer of 2014, following three years of research and working on funding grants and launching a Kickstarter campaign where things sadly didn’t quite fall into place, and we were not able to provide what we wanted too. That’s the first time Amy and Iain worked together, as at the time Amy owned Screen 22 Cinema where Iain and team filmed the video segment of the Kickstarter campaign we later launched. It really is all about the people you meet. Fast forward three years later, and Iain and Amy will regularly be found discussing recent film releases, classic special effects and some very obscure films from eras gone by, as they inflate the cinema screen and check the sound levels before the film plays for you.

We intended to create a film showing community which was to screen local work alongside screening mainstream and classic film releases. Our intent and wishes were to provide a cinema with proper sound systems and sophisticated screening equipment, as unlike here in England in Meru and similar places they don’t have access to several purpose-built cinemas per city – it can take up to a day to travel to the nearest Picturehouse, and we wanted to help! As we all know not all plans work out, but if you don’t take a chance, then you will never know what could be.

The project sadly ran into some complications (and then our gear got stuck in customs for eight months!), and due to factors out of our control, it sadly failed. So a decision was made to try something in the UK and nearer home, and that’s what the next few months are set to be. We have found some excellent partnering venues and people to work with, from grand historic houses to inner-city new locations – we will even be popping up Big Sky Cinema on a local football pitch. The beauty of pop-up cinema as a concept, is that we can create a cinema environment pretty much anywhere in the open air for a vast range of audiences and share our love of film.

Something very different that we can offer at both public and private events is freshly prepared and cooked catering. Part of the company is The Super Kitchen which includes our own fantastic food truck, coffee blend and we can even cater food to compliment the genre of your screening – for instance homemade ice-cream alongside Frozen or 50’s based milkshakes and burgers as you kick back to Grease?. No request is too big or small – we want to work with you to put on the best event that you can so please get in touch.

You can find out more about the rest of our film season by following us on Instagram or Facebook or let us know your favourite films over at Twitter – please send us your photos and comments, as we do this all for you and would love to see the memories we have helped create.