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7 May 2017

Prepping For a Screening? Top Private Screening Rooms in London as Selected by Celebrity Photographer Joe Alvarez

by Tamara Dumas

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a film can communicate the entire life and mission statement in less than an hour – some short films start from one minute. If you are a regular reader, you already know that different countries offer generous film production incentives so we don’t expect shortage in films in the following years, or maybe even decades. London is one of the premier destinations for many International and world premieres and is famous for its lavish bashes and the business opportunities it has to offer.

“Private screening rooms are perfect for private events and presentations,” commented London based celebrity photographer and journalist Joe Alvarez. He continued: “Throughout my career I have attended hundreds private screenings of all kinds and, when organised properly, it can be one of the best events your guests will never forget.” Located around central London, private screening rooms are becoming more and more popular among film lovers as well as corporate clients and various professional shows and festivals. Typically located in high end London Hotels, these give more than just film tickets and pop corn - the bespoke service, courteous staff as well as drinks and film of your choice are only few pros of many. Opting for a Private Screening Room, you are guaranteed to be treated like a celebrity; no queuing, no stress - just good quality time.

As to Joe Alvarez himself, his personal best still remains the private screening of Zoolander to 25 guests, hosted by David Gandy during the London Fashion Week. “It was a great crowd of London fashionistas with the aptly chosen comedy about male models.” There are plenty of screening rooms in central London and it is important to choose the right one for your corporate or private event. Each venue has its own vibe and history that can benefit your brand and event. We asked celebrity photographer and journalist Joe Alvarez to share his insight.

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Bulgari Hotel Screening Room

One of the most prestigious hotels in the Knightsbridge area with the luxurious title Bulgari is a great way to impress your audience.

The Screening room hosts a mix of high profile events and film screenings and can accommodate up to 50 guests, with catering and reception possiblities. The cost for the evening starts from £1300. The luxury interior of the recently refurbished hotel is guaranteed to impress your guests.

Aristocrats, artists, writers and the movie gentry of the ‘La Dolce Vita’ era have long associated themselves with the expression of Italian style and timeless elegance that Bulgari is synonymous with and now you too can be a part of it.

For business events, the room has high-specification video conferencing as well as the latest technologies for broadcasting via satellite or to television news vehicles. The cinema facilities also include integrated technology with individual electronic voting and microphones, as well as dedicated Audio Visual Support. Private security is provided and the room is perfectly insulated.

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Mayfair Hotel

Situated in Mayfair, the private screening room has become a destination to go to for high end private previews but also for corporate and cultural private screenings.

The Mayfair Hotel benefits from the exposure during London Fashion Week and various smaller Film Festivals. The separate entrance to the reception room, the lavish decor and central location, all contribute to its popularity.

Capable of hosting of up to 201 people, the venue is also offering pre- and post-screening entertainment and catering. Twin cinema and high-definition projection systems (Christie CP4230 4K digital projector) with full cinema sound (7.1), masking for scope, flat, 16:9 and 4:3 and superb acoustics ensure the impact of conferences and presentations; 3D cinema capabilities and dedicated, on-site technical assistance ensures you make the most of the possibilities with all the help you need.

Price POA.

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The Hospital Club

The private members club and hotel, The Hospital Club is located in Covent Garden. The Hospital Club screening room is very versatile.

The Hospital Club regularly host screenings for UK distributors production companies and national broadcasters, as well as give the platform to their members and the businesses they run - product launches and portfolio reviews are not uncommon. The pre- and post-release screenings are taking place on the regular basis so the screening room is being very popular - make sure to book in advance. 

The private members club has BAFTA and Oscar winners in its ranks, so the screening room is a vital and much loved part of the Hospital Club. Expect impeccable and friendly customer service starting from your first contact with the venue booking team to the last “enjoy your evening, Sir." 

The screening room can accommodate 36 people and is £220+vat per hour, with discounts for The Hospital Club members. Full technical specification of the screening room is available here.

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BAFTA Princess Anne Theatre

BAFTA, should we say any more? The BAFTA building located in Piccadilly, London, could not go without a screening room. The venue hosts numerous events, awards and festivals as well as film screenings - everything to do with film industry. Up to 227 guests can be seated in the plush red velvet armchairs, many of which are endowed by international stars including George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Madonna, and Julie Andrews. T

The pre-screening hosting packages are available - and a must, according to Joe Alvarez.  

Technical info: 2 × Cinemeccanica 35/70mm projectors 1 × BARCO DP 4K-32B Digital Cinema Projector (with Dolby 3D capability), Dolby 7.1 Digital Sound

Price POA.

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Courthouse Hotel London

If you are choosing based on location, you can hardly go more central that the Grade II listed Courthouse Hotel. The hotel is situated where stylish Mayfair, fashionable Soho and the West End meet and is a popular destination for corporate screenings and presentations as well as film premieres and private screening parties. 

The screening room is equipped to the highest standard with professional 35mm and video / digital projection systems. The hotel screening room is able to accommodate recorded formats ranging from almost all video formats to current or pre-release 35mm feature films, with backwards compatibility built in to accept archive or specialist screenings. A state of the art Dolby 6.1 sound system is installed, incorporating Martin Audio surround speakers and high-powered FP115 stage units to provide full “surround EX” capability. 

Prices start from £350 per hour (plus VAT) 

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Curzon Soho

Unlike the rest of the venues in our list, Curzon is a cinema chain. Dating back to 1934, it counts 12 cinemas so if you haven’t heard of them yet, you must be living under the rock. The Curzon Soho has not one screen but three. Curson Soho is a popular choice for film events, cast and crew screenings and presentations.

The largest screen can host up to 249 people and you can opt in for pre- and post-drinks. We recommend to book well in advance as the Curzon has regular screenings for the public.

SCREEN ONE Technical info: 249 seats (245 with 2 wheelchairs). 35mm film projection, 4K Sony digital projection. Beta SP and Digibeta, Blu­ ray, DVD, Data, Mini DV. All aspect ratios. Stage. Spotlight. Wired and radio microphones and PA system. Lectern. Data and mic connection from auditorium or projection box, full disabled access. Air conditioned.

SCREEN TWO Technical info: Seats 120 (118 with one wheelchair). 4K Sony digital projection. BetaSP and Digibeta, Blu­ray, DVD, mini DV, and data. Wired and radio microphones. Lectern. Spotlight. Please enquire if you need to screen a 16mm print in Screen Two. 

SCREEN THREE Technical info: Seats 133 (129 with two wheelchairs), 35mm film projection. 4K Sony digital projection. BetaSP and Digibeta, Blu­ ray, DVD, Mini DV, and data. Wired and radio microphones. Lectern. Spotlight. Please enquire if you need to screen a 16mm print in Screen Three.

Prices POA. 

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Firmdale Hotels

There are four Firmdale Hotels that have private screening rooms. These include The Soho Hotels, Covent Garden Hotel, Charlotte Street Hotel and Ham Yard Hotel. They are capable of hosting from 47 to 100 guests and prices vary depending on location. The in-house ‘PR team' was not available to comment.  

Visit the website.