Inside London’s legendary Scala cinema

The loss of the Scala cinema was deeply personal, but through co-direct ing the documentary Scala!!!, I realised that I was far from alone in this feeling. Casting around for the interviewees we filmed at the Scala, a music venue since 1999, we discovered that many of the Scala audience went on to become film-makers, writers, musicians, artists, actors and activists. They came from not only all over London but throughout the UK, and inter nationally, as we’ve recently discovered from previewing our documentary at film festivals in the US, Australia, India and Europe. You can always tell a Scala person by the way their eyes light up and they laugh at the memories. But alongside them is a new audience, young people gripped by the very idea of a rock’n’ roll cinema that was a pirate ship on the stormy seas of Thatcher’s Britain and taking that inspiration forward into their own lives. ‘Scala!!!’ is in cinemas from 5 January, with a season of its greatest hits at BFI Southbank in January, including an Imax all-nighter (