The University of Kent has opened a new 62-seat cinema named after the pioneering female film director Ida Lupino.
Coinciding with International Women’s Day, The Lupino, which is based at the University’s Canterbury campus, was launched on Friday 7 March at an event celebrating some of the world’s most acclaimed female film directors, including Claire Denis, Agnes Varda, Kathryn Bigelow, and Jane Campion.
The event was attended by members of the Kent Arts Network, a network based at the University that connects representatives from museums, galleries and other arts and culture organisations, locally, nationally and internationally. The event also welcomed Clio Barnard, Reader in Film at the University’s School of Arts, whose latest film, The Selfish Giant, received a BAFTA nomination.
The Lupino, which will be predominantly used by the University’s School of Arts’ film students, has state-of-the-art digital projection and sound, and has been created to provide an intimate atmosphere for film viewing. It is hoped the Lupino will also host a calendar of events and screenings by invitation.
Ida Lupino, who was born in Camberwell in London in 1914 and whose roots trace back to Kent, started her career as an actress. Following notable appearances in a number of British films she moved to Hollywood in 1933 where she continued to play the ingénue. By the 1940s, however, she was playing much tougher, hard-bitten, roles alongside the likes of Humphrey Bogart in High Sierra and Richard Widmark in Road House.
By the late 1940s Lupino had established her own company, Filmakers, for whom she produced, wrote scripts, acted and directed. She was the only female director working in Hollywood in the 1940s. Her films received mixed reactions for their provocative content but she remained committed to addressing difficult social issues on screen.
Peter Stanfield, Head of the University’s School of Arts, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to open such an important facility for our students. Naming the cinema after Ida Lupino helps to make visible the important contribution women have made, and continue to make, to film.’
Membership of the Kent Arts Network is free and is open to those who share a common interest in the arts. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.