Secret Cinema Presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Jordan Farley speaks to Secret Cinema founder Fabien Riggall about this summer’s hottest ticket
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
Quiet, Dad’s talking.
Dagobah: nice spot for a breather.