Se­cret Cinema Presents Star Wars: The Em­pire Strikes Back

Jor­dan Far­ley speaks to Se­cret Cinema founder Fa­bien Rig­gall about this sum­mer’s hottest ticket

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Since its for­ma­tion in 2007 Se­cret Cinema has spe­cialised in im­mer­sive film screen­ings, tak­ing its au­di­ences to a men­tal hos­pi­tal for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, a pri­son for The Shaw­shank Re­demp­tion and to 1955 Hill Val­ley for a stag­ger­ingly am­bi­tious Back To The Fu­ture ex­pe­ri­ence.

Never peo­ple to rest on their lau­rels, this sum­mer Se­cret Cinema are head­ing to a galaxy far, far away for a Star Wars- themed evening which will cul­mi­nate in a spe­cial screen­ing of The Em­pire Strikes Back. Nat­u­rally, Event Hori­zon de­ployed probe droids for a spot of re­con­nais­sance, but it turns out that Se­cret Cinema founder Fa­bien Rig­gall is even bet­ter with a blaster than Han Solo.

“We have the most in­cred­i­ble space and we are a very large num­ber of hu­mans try­ing to build the best fan ex­pe­ri­ence pos­si­ble… I sound like JJ Abrams and Kathy Kennedy try­ing not to re­veal se­crets!”

What we do know is that the evening be­gins with a nar­ra­tive set be­fore A New Hope. We’ve been re­cruited by the Rebel Al­liance, who are in hid­ing on Earth and go­ing un­der the name Re­belX. Our first mission is to em­bark for Alder­aan, join Leia and as­sist in steal­ing the schemat­ics for the first Death Star. What hap­pens then is as much of a mys­tery as what’s go­ing on un­der a Jawa’s hood.

For Rig­gall Star Wars was the next ob­vi­ous step fol­low­ing the suc­cess of Back To The Fu­ture. “The orig­i­nal tril­ogy is what gave me the im­pe­tus to do all this. It’s been some­thing I’ve been try­ing to do for 10 years, ever since we launched Se­cret Cinema. We’ve al­ways wanted to do Star Wars.

“The Em­pire Strikes Back is an amaz­ing film to bring to life, and A New Hope is an amaz­ing film to live through. So there’s some­thing about the au­di­ence living through the nar­ra­tive of A New Hope and ac­ti­vat­ing the world of The Em­pire Strikes Back. The im­por­tant thing for me is the en­vi­ron­ment, the feel­ing and the emo­tion rather than the repli­ca­tion. Of course there’s go­ing to be worlds that we’re cre­at­ing, but it’s very much an in­spi­ra­tion rather than a repli­ca­tion.”

Af­ter a trou­bled start to last year’s event which saw the open­ing week­end can­celled, Rig­gall in­sists they’ve learned from past mis­takes. “We ob­vi­ously had a tough be­gin­ning to that show. It’s given us a lot of learn­ing in terms of how we pro­ceed and how we can make it eas­ier. It was a heart­break­ing thing to have to cancel the first week­end last year, but we got 85,000 peo­ple to go to 1955 Hill Val­ley and most of them came out happy.”

De­spite the mys­tery one thing ’s for sure: it will be un­like any­thing you’ve ever seen. “We’re very dif­fer­ent from Star Wars Cel­e­bra­tion or those Comic- Con ex­pe­ri­ences. That’s not to un­der­mine that be­cause that’s an amaz­ing thing in its own right, but we’re re­ally try­ing to cre­ate th­ese worlds. I’m hope­ful that we’re go­ing to take fans on a ride and that they’ll see the in­tegrity of our am­bi­tion.” www. se­cretcin­ema. org

Duck!!!

Quiet, Dad’s talk­ing.

Dagobah: nice spot for a breather.

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