The classic Hollywood movie genre ‘film noir’ is coming to Warrington’s libraries in May with a touring photographic exhibition, special film screenings and a display on the history of cinema in the town.
Paint it Black, a joint project between Warrington photographer Paul Jackson and partners Culture Warrington, LiveWire and Warrington Borough Council, will explore the dark and mysterious world of film noir, a genre of American crime thrillers such as The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity and The Killers.
An exhibition of photographs inspired by these highly stylised black and white films, which are so evocative of mystery and intrigue with their dimly-lit nightscapes and smoky silhouettes, will go on tour, spending a week at five of the town’s libraries – Warrington Central, Penketh, Culcheth, Stockton Heath and Padgate.
The retro images will be accompanied by special screenings of classic film noir movies and promotion of the “hardboiled” American crime fiction novels which inspired them.
Warrington Noir, an exhibition exploring the history of cinema in Warrington during the 1940s and 1950s, will also run at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery to coincide with the film noir celebration, and will feature images and memorabilia from the period.
Paul, of Unit 8 Photography, said he was excited about the opportunity to promote the town’s library offer.
“I love our libraries and want to help promote what a great range of services and activities they have on offer,” he explained. “I am also quite a fan of old black and white films so Paint it Black provides an opportunity to explore both interests, and to have fun while hopefully doing something worthwhile.
“This is a really exciting project and a fantastic advert for the town and its people.”
Models, make-up artists, hair stylists, set and costume designers, and production assistants who live or work in the Warrington area are needed to help recreate some of the most memorable and iconic scenes from this truly unique period of filmmaking in 24 photos. No previous experience is required.
Paul added: “There’s a wealth of talent in our town which deserves to be recognised.
“You don’t have to be a professional to take part; community cohesion is the key so I want to hear from those who have never done anything like this before as well as those with experience.
“We’re after models with all sorts of looks and volunteers with a variety of skills to star in the exhibition.”
Warrington’s best known and most iconic buildings, including the Town Hall, Central Library, Pyramid & Parr Hall, Walton Hall and Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, will provide stunning backdrops to some of the images with portrait shots being taken in Paul’s studio at Pyramid arts centre.
All participants will be invited to the grand opening night of the touring exhibition and be given copies of the shots they contributed to; an ideal addition to any portfolio and a lasting memory of taking part in such a unique project.
Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager at Culture Warrington, hopes the project will help raise the profile of the town’s libraries.
He said: “Paint it Black is designed to encourage people into Warrington’s libraries, to showcase their unique offer and highlight their importance as community hubs.
“It’s also a really unique multi-media project which will explore an important and influential period in film history.
“We hope as many Warrington residents as possible can get involved, whether that’s through helping to create the images going on display or coming along to see the exhibition and enjoying the film screenings.”
St Rocco’s Hospice has volunteered to provide costumes and Culture Warrington staff are helping to source props to make the shots as authentic as possible. There is also the opportunity for local businesses to sponsor the project.
To contribute, or apply for a place, email Paul on firstname.lastname@example.org, message him at www.facebook.com/unit8photos or call 07515 337975.
Tickets can be bought at any of Warrington’s libraries or at www.pyramidparrhall.com
Exhibition title: Paint it Black touring photographic exhibition
Dates & locations:
29 April-4 May – Central Library
5-11 May – Penketh Library
12-18 May – Culcheth Library
19-25 May – Stockton Heath Library
26 May-2 June – Padgate Library
Times: see library’s opening times
Exhibition title: Paint it Black film screenings
Dates & locations:
4 May – Central Library – The Maltese Falcon (1941)
11 May – Penketh Library – Double Indemnity (1944)
18 May – Culcheth Library – The Killers (1946)
25 May – Stockton Heath Library – The Big Heat (1953)
1 June – Padgate Library – Touch of Evil (1958)
Times: films start at 7.30pm
Exhibition title: Warrington Noir
Dates: 29 April – 1 July
Times: All day
Location: Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, Museum Street, Warrington, WA1 1JB