We champion Independent and World Cinema

Watershed cinema audience

Our cinema programme showcases the new, the old, the unusual and the unexpected. Without us countless British and foreign language independent films would not reach the big screen, where they belong

We believe that audiences should have the choice and opportunity to discover something new.

"How to choose what to show here at Watershed? Well, my approach is first, and broadly, if it is going to be available elsewhere in Bristol then it drops down my list."
Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove

It is this 'discovering something new' that we really excel at - without us countless British and foreign language independent films would not reach the big screen, where they belong – last year we hosted 3,180 screenings of 345 films, showcasing work from 45 producing countries.

A huge part of our work is to foster and encourage shared experiences and conversations around our cultural programme – we are currently leading a timely UK-wide reflection on the repercussions of conflict and the ways this has been presented through film in a six month season of films, events, and online resources. Conversations About Cinema: The Impact of Conflict presents a variety of ways to join in these conversations either at events in the building or through social media.

This approach helps to create those special experiences that make a trip to Watershed so memorable. If you watched 12 Years A Slave here last year you might have been part of the emotional response that it generated online or offline (or indeed both).

"We didn't just watch a film, we shared an emotional, cinematic and personal journey together. Quite frankly cinema going will never be the same again"
Roger Griffith, Ujima Radio, on watching 12 Years A Slave at Watershed

Just take a look at the diversity in our programme over the next month or so – we are showcasing the best of Japanese cinema past and present, welcoming influential documentarian Nick Broomfield to talk about his latest film, exploring wider issues of race and civil rights around Selma, and celebrating the creative connections between music and film with our upcoming Filmic season in collaboration with St George's Bristol.

To discover more take a look at the links below or listen to our Podcast:

It Begins with the Audience  Our Managing Director Dick Penny and Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove talk about our approach to cultural cinema.

Cultural Cinema Exhibition in the 21st Century  In this article Mark Cosgrove examines the cultural significance of cinema and its status as an artform.

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