Curious Londoner #4: Dominic Davies of Backyard Cinema

Everyone loves going to the movies, but these days a trip to the local Odeon is a pretty mundane affair. (And bloody expensive, too. Seven quid for bag of Minstrels? You’re ‘aving a larf!) Fortunately, Backyard Cinema is here to save the magic of cinema from disappearing forever.

This week, BYC premieres its LOST WORLD season, which showcases the best tropical-themed flicks, old and new, from a secret jungle location in, er, Elephant and Castle. There’s beanbags, blankies, proper popcorn and hard liquor, so it’s the perfect place to bunk down for an evening of movie magic. And tickets start from just £16.50pp. (Purchase them here!)

To celebrate the new season, we’ve got an Ultimate Date Night package to give away, worth £65. The lucky winner will get to enjoy their choice of movie with a chum (even ‘sold out’ performances!), a bottle of fizz, popcorn, ice cream and a pair of snuggly blankets. (If you’d like to check out the choice of films, which includes this year’s smash hits The Jungle Book and Finding Dory, here are the listings.) To enter, just scroll to the bottom of the page.

Backyard Cinema Lost World
We’ve also had a little chat with Dominic Davies, founder and creative director of BYC, about his inspiration:

Hi Dom! So, what’s the story behind BYC?

It started as a passion project in my actual back garden, which is where the name comes from. I wanted to play films outside over the summer so built a screen out of old pallets and a bed sheet. From there we introduced a BBQ, a bathtub of cold beers and extras like popcorn cups. We even had themed evenings where everyone came as the Blues Brothers. After a few weeks it was costing me a fortune, so I tried to get my mates to chip in a fiver each for the course and they all soon told me where to go. I wondered perhaps if strangers would pay for it, so within a few weeks a website was built, a logo had been designed and tickets were on sale. Our first run was in a basement venue in East London and I was amazed at how many people wanted to come. Four years on and we have grown to create our own worlds, add actors, entertainment and really reimagine the traditional movie-going experience.

Backyard Cinema Lost World

The new season, LOST WORLD, is jungle-themed. What was the inspiration behind that?

Apart from the fact I just bloody love jungles and have wanted to build one for ages, we wanted customers to be able to really understand what we are doing now. Creating an interactive world in which you can watch a whole host of movies of a singular theme. Action and adventure films felt like the perfect genre, a real chance to tap into people’s nostalgia and watch those amazing adventure movies we grew up with, but in an amazing setting that makes you feel like you are in the movie.

Backyard Cinema Lost World

What can people expect from LOST WORLD (aside from a fantastic movie!)?

Well, without giving too much away, we have quite literally built our own jungle, packed with giant beanbags, real bark, real trees, sound and lighting effects. It’s a cool space even without a movie! Forgotten jungles are notoriously difficult to find, so explorers will have to navigate their way through overgrown temple ruins to make their way to their seats. The whole thing promises to be an awesome movie-going experience.

What’s your favourite movie of all time?

Jurassic Park, every time. Everything about it still gets me excited. I think because when I watched it in the cinema, aged eight, I had to be taken out by my dad as I was too scared. That T-Rex eating the guy off the toilet seat was the final straw! So I guess I am reclaiming it in my adulthood. It is also amazing how good it still looks 20 years on.

Backyard Cinema Lost World

What’s your favourite thing to do in London?

Apart from the cinema? Yes, I am one of those nuts who goes to other people’s cinemas on my day off. Sometimes up to three movies in a day. When I am not doing that though, eating! Especially when it has some added theatre – Gingerline, for instance, I think is amazing.

What’s next for BYC?

After LOST WORLD we’re got plenty of other themed seasons in the pipeline, including Space Station, Miami Beach and, of course, Christmas!

WIN THE ULTIMATE DATE NIGHT WITH BACKYARD CINEMA

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The small print: The competition closes at midnight on Sunday 18th September. The winner will be chosen at random and announced no later than Monday 19th September. The winner may choose any showing from Backyard Cinema’s listings, including anything showing as sold out. In addition to 2 x VIP tickets with reserved seating, the winner will also receive 2 x blankets, 2 x ice creams, 2 x popcorn and a bottle of fizz, which may be exchanged for 2 x cocktails on the night. No cash alternative.

Author: Emily Gibson

Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in Islington and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.