Q&A with We Are Parable

Published Monday 28 October by Owen

On Wednesday 30 October, the E10 Community cinema will open its doors in Leyton as a new space to watch films that spark debate. 

Ahead of the launch event we spoke to organisers We Are Parable about working with artist Larry Achiampong, the power of cinema and breaking barriers.

Who are We Are Parable?

We Are Parable are an events company specialising in film exhibition, based in Leytonstone and run by co-founders Anthony and Teanne Andrews. We founded the company in 2013 and since then, we’ve created events that put the experience of an audience first, from creating Afrofuturistic Kingdoms at the BFI Southbank for the release of Black Panther, to producing a Reggae Soundsytem environment for the release of Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie. We also celebrated the legendary sitcom Desmond’s by faithfully recreating the iconic barbershop as a pop up and touring it around the UK, offering free haircuts to our visitors, as we showed them episodes from the show. We have worked with the British Film Institute, StudioCanal and Film London, as well as Academy Award winning director Spike Lee. In 2017, we created Spike is 60, a film festival that celebrated Lee’s work to coincide with his 60th birthday. Spike got in contact with us directly and asked to collaborate; this led to him giving a talk to 400 people in Central London. We’ve also co-founded a film festival and provide consultancy to nationwide film distributors, the British Film Institute and many others.

Over the past few months you have been working with artist Larry Achiampong to develop the E10 Community Cinema. How did you develop the idea together?  

Funnily enough, Teanne used to go to University with Larry and over the last few years they spoke about how great it would be to collaborate on a project, so it’s amazing that this is happening. One of the things that was important to all three of us is giving the immediate community of Leyton the opportunity to debate themes that they experience on a regular basis, empowering them to talk about the rapidly changing area and their place within it. We felt that film was an effective channel for these conversations to take place, so producing a space that we programme for, alongside a number of young people from the borough would be an environment to spark debate and share new ideas. It was really important that we didn’t just attract people who are familiar with and fans of Larry’s work (as welcome as they are!), but instead we focused on communicating to the local area that this space was for them.

What role can film and cinema experiences play in local communities? 

The great thing about film is that it’s a communal experience, so its role in local communities is potentially huge. We feel that everyone should be able to come together and enjoy a film, but due to time constraints, the rising costs of going to the cinema, it’s not always feasible. So, we believe that by creating a free-to-attend programme of engaging films, we are removing some of the barriers to make film and the corresponding experiences that come from it.

Which screenings and events are you particularly looking forward to from the programme? 

I think the first film that we’re going to show - Blindspotting - is going to cause quite a lot of debate. It’s quite a polarising film so we’re looking forward to seeing and hearing from local residents about some of the themes of the films and whether they see any similarities in the community (the film is about a rapidly changing Oakland landscape and how the two main characters respond to it). We’re also looking forward to seeing the reaction to Larry’s work when it populates the space.

What do you hope that the people from Leyton will get from being part of the E10 Community Cinema? 

On the 31st October at 7.31pm, once we open our doors for the very first time, we believe that the cinema no longer is something we have ownership of. Instead, we want to hear from local community members as they tell us what they want to see and talk about. We want to make it into a hub where no matter who you are, or where you live, you have a voice in the ongoing debate about community and your space within.