The classic Hollywood movie genre ‘film noir’ has begun touring Warrington’s libraries with a stunning 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, explores 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, recently enjoyed a hugely successful launch night to coincide with an official celebration of Warrington’s City of Culture bid.
Speaking after the event, Paul said: “It went excellently. The feedback was all brilliant, from the volunteers who took part and the dignitaries who came along.
“The volunteer models hadn’t seen their own photos yet so it was lovely to see the looks on their faces when they saw them for the first time.”
The Paint it Black collection, all captured by talented photographer Paul Jackson, is now on tour, spending a week at five of the town’s libraries – Warrington Central, Penketh, Culcheth, Stockton Heath and Padgate.
The retro images are 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, is also now running at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery to coincide with the film noir celebration, featuring 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. “The whole point of this project is to show people how special our libraries are and to encourage them to come and have a look.
“This is a really exciting project and a fantastic advert for the town and its people.”
The models, make-up artists, hair stylists, set and costume designers, and production assistants who took part in the project were all volunteers from the Warrington area who were keen to help recreate the mood of this truly unique period in filmmaking.
Paul added: “There’s a wealth of talent in our town which deserves to be recognised.
“Community cohesion was key and I can’t thank those who took part enough for their time and support.”
Some of Warrington’s best known and most iconic buildings, including Central Library, Pyramid arts centre, Parr Hall, and Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, provided stunning backdrops to some of the images, with portrait shots being taken in Paul’s studio at Pyramid.
Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager at Culture Warrington, hoped the project would help raise the profile of the town’s libraries.
He said: “Paint it Black is a brilliant project in its own right, but the fact that it’s designed to encourage people into Warrington’s libraries, to showcase their unique offer and highlight their importance as community hubs, makes it all the more worthwhile.
“This is a really unique multi-media project which explores an important and influential period in film history; it was all made possible thanks to the people of Warrington kindly donating their time and enthusiasm, making this a truly original community project.
“We hope as many Warrington residents as possible come along to see the touring exhibition and enjoy the film screenings, while reminding themselves how important our libraries are.”
The project was also made possible thanks to generous donations from Warrington businesses such as Watsons Solicitors, and St Rocco’s Hospice which loaned Paul some of the stunning costumes featured in the images.
Tickets for the film screenings 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