As cinemas slowly reopen to the public across the UK, many of us have been reminiscing about the last time we went to watch a film on the big screen. For me, that was at the beginning of March, just a week or so before Boris Johnson announced that all non-essential businesses needed to shut their doors for the foreseeable future.
For one family though, going to the cinema was a nightly occurrence. Curt Turner, his wife, and his two children have had the enjoyment of their very own, fully-realised cinema right in their back garden. Named Screen24, I spoke to Curt about the process of building a fully-functioning cinema where the admission was free and every seat was the best seat in the house. Here’s what he had to say.
What made you undertake the Screen24 project?
I have always loved films since I was a kid and always been a collector of one thing or another so dvd’s seemed the perfect thing to start collecting. After collecting films for years and continuously thinking of ways to make room to display my dvd’s it came to a point where my collection was just too big to display in the house so I had the idea of building a cinema room in my back garden which would be a space dedicated to collecting and watching films and a place that me, my wife and 2 kids could all enjoy.
How did the design take shape?
Being a designer I have always enjoyed designing things around the house, whether it be the kitchen or garden etc. so designing the cinema room wasn’t a problem but building it was a different story. Having no experience of building I searched the internet for tips and ideas and found a website called Self Build Garden Offices which had a really good downloadable guide and explained the whole process of building a timber framed, garden room from start to finish.
How long did it take for you to complete?
The build took 3 months to complete as I was working on it by myself on nights after work and weekends.
Did you hit any obstacles over the build time?
I didn’t hit any major obstacles during the build as I researched everything as much as possible before starting but I’d say the hardest part was getting the power and heating from the house to the Cinema room which meant digging a 15m trench by hand which was pretty hard work.
What was the first film you watched?
The first film I watched in the Cinema room was Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a family favourite and I thought it would be a good film to test out the new system.
Does the building have any features that you’re particularly proud of?
I would say the part that I am most happy with is the system. I went totally on recommendations for the audio system and projector which is a 7.1 Dali system with Denon amplifier, Benq projector and 121inch fixed screen which looks and sounds amazing and couldn’t ask for anything better on my budget.
One we ask everyone, what’s your favourite film?
My favourite film is True Romance closely followed by Dead Man’s Shoes.
And another, what’s your favourite cinema snack?
Don’t know about snack but I love a Kraken and Coke with Ice and lime when I’m watching a film in the Cinema room.
Do you have any plans to extend/change Screen24 in the future?
I don’t have any plans to change Screen 24 in the future as it would be a really big job and very expensive but if I could do it again I would probably have bifolding doors all the way across the front so we could open it up like an open air cinema during the summer and watch from the garden, that would be amazing.
From beginning to end, how much has the project cost?
The build from start to finish cost around £12,000 and the system around £2,500.
I’d like to thank Curt for taking the time to complete this interview, and now we can all dream about having our very own cinema in our back garden! If you’d like to read more interviews with film fans, actors and directors, check out the rest of our brilliant interview content. You can follow Curt and Screen24 on their Instagram page. All photographs in this article belong to Curt Turner, please get permission from the original owner before using them.