Showcasing bad and cult cinema in an inclusive environment, Fortune & Glory Film Club first started almost by accident. Our writer Sam Harvey catches up with local film connoisseur Emma Duncan to talk about how they turned their early love of Indiana Jones and cult classics such as The Room into a vibrant and eclectic Nottingham LGBT+ society…
The Fortune & Glory Film Club began seven years ago, when terms such as ‘social distancing’ and ‘lockdown’ were thankfully not on anyone’s radar. Initially forming as a passion project amongst Emma and their group of friends, the group started by previewing exclusively ‘bad’ movies, but soon began branching out into showing cult classics, and giving ‘straight-to-DVD’ childhood movies the big screen treatment. “It’s all Tommy Wiseau’s fault, really,” Emma tells me, describing the group's inaugural showing of The Room over in Screen 22. “I just got a bunch of friends together, and because there's a known interactive element to those films, I gathered all the things such as plastic spoons and rose petals… and we all dressed up.” These screenings proved to be popular outside of the friend group, so soon after Fortune & Glory took to Facebook.
Listening to how a typical screening is run, it sounds like a perfect way to spend an evening; each viewer is provided with a themed goodie bag depending on the movie being shown, containing a mix of snacks, props and knick-knacks which help to create a unique and immersive viewing experience. Emma also compiles a playlist of trailers to show before the film starts, and an interval packed with more fun and activities - incorporating the best bits of going to the cinema or theatre. The mood is relaxed, and the vibe is welcoming. “I want people to feel like we're just a group of friends,” says Emma. “I want people to know that they’re in a safe and friendly space.”
If you’re thinking of attending a show and are signed up to the mailing list, you can expect to receive an email a few days before each screening giving you all the details. Emma puts together a pre-show music playlist before each movie - usually linked to the genre or theme - as well as a presentation explaining the meaning behind all the goodie bag items, delivering the rules for any drinking games and designating the ‘Innuendo Chicken Holder’ - the sacred title bestowed to the person responsible for honking a rubber chicken whenever they hear a dirty joke or phrase uttered on screen (usually completely unintentionally). After that the trailers roll and the movie begins. The interval involves a range of activities, depending on the genre or film being shown - building tinfoil hats for Mars Attacks! or decorating marshmallows during Ghostbusters. You can also expect caption contests and jokes, all judged on the ‘Groan-o-Meter’. Prizes are awarded and then it’s onto Part 2.
I want to make people feel part of something that can only be experienced with that group of people for that one night
I asked Emma why they chose specifically ‘bad’ movies or cult classics to base the film club around. “Bad films are just more fun as a crowd,” they say. “It's just such a wonderful experience to me, particularly with the films that are nostalgic classics and films from your youth. You might have watched them a dozen times, but you've never watched it at a Fortune & Glory screening.” Emma draws inspiration from classic anniversary screenings of ancient 1930s B-movies. “I want to make people feel part of something that can only be experienced with that group of people for that one night: completely unique.” Listening to their description, I think it’s safe to say Emma has definitely accomplished this!
Fortune & Glory strives to claim a space for LGBT+ people to come and feel safe and respected
As an LGBT+ inclusive film club, Emma explains how Fortune & Glory does its bit to empower the queer community in Nottingham. The main thing for them was to realise that being an LGBT+ film club meant more than watching cliched queer movies with sad endings. “If I have to watch one more costume period drama with a sad lesbian on a beach, I’ll scream!” Fortune & Glory instead strives to claim a space for LGBT+ people to come and feel safe and respected. This includes hosting in venues with gender neutral facilities, being respectful of pronouns and creating a space where queer people can make jokes about the community without being the butt of them.
All showings are geared towards being as inclusive as possible - all venues have disabled access, films come ready with subtitles and although alcohol is served, it is far from a requirement. “We have a drinking game, but, you know, I compete with a cup of tea,” says Emma. With the number of LGBT+ drinking venues growing in Nottingham, it’s good to have a queer space that isn’t geared exclusively towards drinking. Fortune & Glory has also held events hosted by local drag queen legends Nana Arthole and Marilyn Sane, and they are planning to do more events with Nottingham drag queens in the future. Emma has also collaborated with Clelia McElroy - of Monstrous Flesh: Women’s Bodies in Horror fame - to host a Q&A and screening for this year’s International Women’s Day, with another one planned for 2023 (keep your eyes peeled for details!).
So, if you’re interested in coming along to a viewing, the group meets roughly every six to eight weeks. They have a Facebook and Instagram page where they post pictures from events, terrible memes and the latest in goodie bag curation. You can also sign up to their mailing list, which will give you all the details prior to the next screening, as well as a regular newsletter. It’s safe to say that if you come along you won’t be disappointed. Emma has created a truly unique, LGBT+ friendly space for cinephiles of all ages to come together and revel in their love of unconventional, underappreciated, or just downright terrible movies!
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