ABOUT OKEHAMPTON MOVING PICTURES.


Okehampton Moving Pictures began in 2003 when the town's only cinema, the independently owned and operated Carlton, closed due to illness. The Old Carlton CinemaA group of film fans got together to discuss options for the future of cinema in Okehampton.

After its closure; the 1936, Art Deco fronted, Carlton Cinema, on the junction of St James Street and Park Row stood empty for a few years during which time the building and cinema equipment suffered several bouts of vandalism.

 

The Okehampton film fans explored different options with various parties concerning using the building itself, or the equipment it contained and the possibilities for an alternative community cinema. In the meantime they invited the Dorset based Moviola mobile cinema to mount screenings in the town's Charter Hall. After the first few screenings the loose group of film fans became Okehampton Moving Pictures with the mission to retain cinema screenings for the people of Okehampton. The group raised enough funding to buy its own digital mobile cinema equipment. Screenings continued, with coffee and cakes, at the Charter Hall and occasionally in the Okehampton College Octagon Theatre. Okehampton Moving Pictures showed that there was an audience for cinema in the town and remained convinced that a permanent cinema could work in Okehampton.

With the opening of Merlin Cinemas's New Carlton Cinema in the converted Market Hall in December 2006, OMP's first ambition, that Okehampton should have a cinema, was The New Carlton Cinemaachieved.

But although OMP volunteers welcomed Merlin's arrival, the 'stacking chairs' mobile community cinema had now lost the audience it had kept going during the four year film famine to a professionally run, purpose built commercial enterprise. Prior to Merlin's arrival OMP had begun to show films in some of the village halls around Okehampton and with a brand new two screen cinema in the town, OMP ended its Okehampton screenings (apart from occasional special functions).

In 2007 the Art Deco Carlton was demolished and the site redeveloped as flats. New flats on the old Carlton cinema site

Okehampton Moving Pictures is developing the range and opportunity for film in Okehampton and the surrounding area. Temporary funding (now ended) was raised to employ a Community Film Worker who worked with young people in the area for one year. In 2006 OMP gathered and edited archive film and photographs of the town's Simmons Park to present as part of the 100th anniversary of the park's founding. Some OMP volunteers are keen to expand this part of the group's activity.