When St Austell went Back to the Future

Buildings? Where we’re going, we don’t need buildings.

On a calm September evening, near the centre of St Austell, something exciting was happening.

Thanks to St Austell Town and Youth Council, with much help from Cornwall Film Festival, Cornwall College, and skylight outdoor cinemas, the increasingly popular (and inflatable) pop up cinema returned to St Austell Football club last Friday. Together, they were unleashing a free screening of Back to the Future upon close to 300 people, just in time for the films 30th anniversary.

As soon as the venue opened, with no rain in sight, the audience started building. Some came well prepared with chairs, others with blankets, some even just venturing onto the grounds to see what was going on, before being swiftly enticed.

Before the film started, an impromptu football match broke out between children, while others were doing some impressive back flips. The event attracted young and old, some attendees will have seen Back to the Future when it was released all those years ago, others would have just been twinkles in their parents eyes.

Over 250 Back to the Future fans attended the event.

Once everyone was settled, we were treated to a reel of work made by BTEC students at Cornwall College, showing off some great work. After that, the film began with a cinema quality projection thanks to skylight, and great audio reverberating around the pitch to boot. There was even a stand for hot and cold food, where plenty of people enjoyed refreshing themselves throughout the evening. What a time to be alive when you can watch Back to the Future and stuff yourself with burgers at the same time (I did not do this).

As the evening darkened, the glow from the screen lit up the faces of those closest to the action. You could see parents smirking in anticipation of their children’s reactions to particular scenes, like when Marty sneaks into his father’s room to force him to take his future wife to the prom, then he proceeds to scare him half to death by blasting him with some Van Halen.

In an age where digital streaming services like Netflix are becoming the norm for the masses, it was refreshing to see a community of film lovers coming together, bridging generations to enjoy, laugh at, and discuss a classic film. When the film was over, there was a spontaneous round of applause.

The late film critic Roger Ebert once said that he had seen a lot of movies alone, but the experience was not the same as seeing a film with a large group of strangers. I think a lot of last Fridays attendees would agree.


Matt Harris

From early 2015 Matt has heavily engaged with Cornwall Film Festival when he entered his film, Chess into our competition. Based in St. Austell himself, Matt volunteered at the popular outdoor screening of Back to the Future at his local football club. He enjoyed the event so much that he wrote us an article on it! Check out more of Matt's video content YouTube channel!

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