Going round to a friend's house, growing up, you got a real sense of who they were by looking at the posters they had up on their bedroom wall. You already knew them and what they liked anyway, but the posters gave you a bit of an insight into their priorities. Their passions. Their idols. Their convictions. Some had band posters they bought at gigs or pages ripped from a copy of NME; others had quarter-creased A2 "babes" from some lads' mags; pictures of rally cars; or pop stars, footballers, basketball players, Sci-fi shows, festival line-ups... anything and everything.
I shared a room with my little brother, Stuart, and we didn't really do "wall art" like my friends all did (one guy had more wall covered than he had exposed). I guess it's harder to present your personality this way when you're sharing your space with someone else. However, we did have a poster. A huge Evil Dead theatrical release print. It was beautiful.
We'd stumbled across Evil Dead 2 when surfing between channels late one night (with the sound down real low as not to wake our parents). We'd never seen anything like it, ever, and that stayed with us. We sourced, watched and loved all three films which ultimately lead to us to eventually hanging said poster.
Stuart and I have very different personalities to each other; I was really quiet and he was very loud; I liked to draw and paint and Stuart liked to play football and break his limbs performing wreckless stunts. But we both loved movies. We watched movies all the time and racked up one hell of a video collection. When VHS became old news we racked up one hell of a DVD collection. And as we discovered new films (or old ones we'd never heard of before) that had a big impact on us, we changed the poster on the wall to reflect our new favourites.
But we've all grown up now. And although our love of movies is just as strong as ever it feels as though the posters no longer capture that feeling for us.
Posters are often thought of as just marketing materials to promote and sell a film to people. But they have the potential to be so much more (and, at least to me, they felt like they used to be so much more). They can capture the essence of a film, its tone or its character, and mirror that connection you might have made with it. Without directly referencing specifics of the film, a poster is able to evoke similar responses from the viewer that both reflects and compliments the feature itself. It can even transport you back to when you first watched the film and remind you of how you felt or the impact it had on you. The poster should be an extension of the film—either before or after or both—and an important part of the greater movie experience.
Chatting with fellow Poster Project member, Laura Service, it became apparent that we shared similar views on the subject and started to explore ideas on how to celebrate this often overlooked side of movie posters. After coming up with a concept we were both excited by we took it to the team at Front Page, who not only agreed to take it on as a project but showed an overwhelming passion and enthusiasm for the whole idea.
A chunk of time, many meetings, multiple phone calls, and a heap of work later... we were very proud to be able to present, Now Showing! A poster event that invited anyone to design and submit an A2 poster for one of six incredible movies. The posters were then judged by a panel and the winners exhibited in The Cameo cinema in Edinburgh during "the Festival", along with other prizes.
It was a great excuse to revisit some classic works of cinema in one of my all-time favorite genres. It was also an amazing excuse to go watch Suspiria again. What a movie!