Exploding Cinema

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20110116

Exploding Cinema, or 'Exploding' for the initiated, is turning 20 this year and still going strong.

A collective of filmmakers and film-lovers, it pledges to screen any film that someone submits.

No selection, no censorship, Exploding Cinema holds firmly by the principle that, the question of what's good and what's not, is solely for the audience to decide.

Their screening events are legendary.

Usually held in some disused warehouse or factory - and never at a cinema - to enter an Exploding Cinema show is to step into a grotto of film.

There is colour everywhere, vintage super 8 footage ticking away on a constant lop, covering every bit of wall in shimmering light and images, comedy, horror, animation, a live band playing and, on the main screen, there's a succession of about 20 short films, people sitting on cushions watching them or wandering about chatting and drinking.

Asif meets with the founders of Exploding Cinema to rummage through their archive of films and to hear how the group emerged from some strange filmic goings on at a disused suntan oil factory in South London's Brixton neighbourhood - The Cool Tan, which, in the early 90s, a bunch of film makers had claimed as a squat.

We hear from filmmakers who currently show their work at Exploding Cinema: interactive filmmaking group Genetic Moo describe their maggot-themed installations which feed off the light emitted from other films, Mucky Puppets talk about their shadow puppet films exploring the darker side of well-known fairy tales, and we follow Ryd Cook as he films the sequel to his "60 Second Documentary About The Stuff What Is In This Room".

Now that it is possible for anyone to show pretty much any film online via video sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo, we ask what that means for a group like Exploding Cinema? Does it still have a place?

Producer: Hannah Rosenfelder

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Filmmaker Asif Kapadia journeys deep into London's underground film scene.