Pop Up Cinema-Supper Club, Kino Vino

Written by: Sophie Taylor

North and East London are so vibrant and ready for this kind of pop up culture.

On holiday with her boyfriend in South Africa, Alissa attended a vineyard wine tasting event and feeling reflective whilst on top quality vin rouge, imagined combining her love for film and food in a multi-sensory event.

Set above a shop on Lower Clapton Road, Kino Vino is a pop up supper-cinema event regularly championed by Time Out’s top 10 events lists. The food is enjoyed after the film screening atop long, candlelit dining tables.

Starting just a few months ago, Alissa initially began Kino Vino just for friends and was surprised at how many people signed up. Since then it has grown into a regular North London event with renowned chefs constructing conceptual menus with Alissa.

The next Kino Vino event on Saturday 23rd July is a screening of the film that changed Alissa’s life: The Mirror by Andrei Tarkovsky.

We sat down and waxed lyrical on all things Soviet and porridge-y over a chamomile tea.

Seeing Tarkovsky’s Mirror for the first time was life-changing. I was blown away

Where did your love of film begin?

“There has been no specific moment in time. My love of film has always been. But the turning point for me was seeing Tarkovsky’s Mirror as part of my Russian cinema studies during my undergraduate film studies degree. It was life changing. I was blown away. I knew I needed to rush away to learn, to read and find out everything there was to know about this director. I wanted to study film more because of him. I went on to do a Master’s degree knowing it would be about The Mirror and even the idea for my doctorate came from the film. It gave me so many different cultural points.”

When it comes to choosing the menu to accompany a film like The Mirror, where do you start?

“It’s always a personal challenge but I never thought of this film from a gastronomic point of view. The Mirror is so complicated, where to begin! But there is one scene in the film where the children are eating porridge and sprinkle sugar onto the cat.

Buckwheat porridge with milk and sugar is a very iconic Soviet dish: it’s so nutritional and cheap as Buckwheat is one of the most common produce you can find in Russian territory. As Russians, we all share this food memory even though I am from a different generation to Tarkovsky. The film itself is set in the Buckwheat fields and he often talks about running through these fields with his sister. A friend of mine, Olia Hercules who is an incredible chef, had been testing a recipe for buckwheat ice cream. I tried it and it tastes exactly like the childhood dish but more sophisticated and unusual.

That was the starting point which we developed into childhood food memories and mother relationships. I was very lucky to have Olia on board, having a professional chef brought much more complicated menus with different courses which made me realise I needed to partner with chefs and take it to another level.”

It is as important as the film and the meal for people to talk and meet, particularly in London!
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So why do you separate the meal from the viewing of the film?

“It’s so important to see people coming together, meeting new people and discussing their common interest. This is more difficult while you are engrossed in the film itself. It is as important as the film and the meal for people to talk and meet, particularly in London!

I am currently experimenting with different seating arrangements to better facilitate discussion and conversation rather than one long table which can prove more difficult to communicate. It’s such a lovely thing to create, a setting for people to meet and bond over a common interest.”

What was your earliest food memory?

“Ah good question.. I think I was about three on holiday with my mum and my grandparents but my father wasn’t there. We have a super Soviet sweet oatmeal cookie that you spread with butter like a sandwich and it’s my dad’s favourite.

My mother would make one for me every breakfast time and tell me it was a gift from my father. I really believed that he had sent it from another town just for me.”

Kino Vino is your baby, isn’t it?

“Yes, concept wise. The idea came about when I was travelling in Capetown with my boyfriend where we did a lot of wine tasting in their amazing vineyards. They had a beautiful, articulate way of talking about wine and understanding how wine worked with food.

I was almost envious of that vocabulary and understanding they had but thought, well I can talk like that about film. So almost as a joke I imagined pairing wine with film, like screening a Bergman film with a deep red wine as it’s very philosophical and profound..”

A strawberry wine?

“..haha yes exactly. It developed into thinking more about food as I’m obsessed with it and I love hosting dinner parties and thought we could do a bit of both – wine tasting while talking about the film and eating the food. We chatted and brainstormed whilst a little tipsy, which was more of a joke at first.”

Don’t you always have the best ideas with wine? And how fantastic you went through with it.

“Yes, that was the key: to just go ahead. I’m very happy that it is a reality now!”

Kino Vino events attract an incredibly mixed crowd with different cultural and social backgrounds.

Tell me what to expect at the next Kino Vino

“After The Mirror event, we will be screening Mid-August Lunch and serving a four-course authentic Italian meal. It is a proper Italian foodie film centred around a meal: such a sweet film with no real actresses which gives it a wonderfully raw feel. The food will be prepared by Masterchef Professionals finalist, Danilo Cortellini.”

Where does Kino Vino take place?

“Kino Vino is based at Palm2, in between Stamford Hill and Hackney Central on Lower Clapton Road. It is a very special place, above a shop run by a Turkish family.

It’s a wonderful events space that has a professional kitchen and space for the projector and screen. It’s a pop up cinema, so don’t expect a BFI experience, it’s more of a living room feel with eclectic chairs and sofas. Pop up food portrait book, East London Food by Rosie Birkett and Helen Cathcart has a little chapter on the space as a pop up foods venue, so we’re gaining more interest and popularity as part of Palm2 with their endorsement.”

Is it a big mixture of people who come along?

“Yes it’s a very broad group of people. I’m used to working at food and film festivals that have a specific audience. But Kino Vino events attract an incredibly mixed crowd and the location brings different types of people from North and East London, anyone from mid 20’s to 60’s with different cultural and social backgrounds. I love it.”

Kino Vino, Palm2, 152 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0QJ

For more information and to book tickets go to www.kinovino.org

Photos courtesy of Alissa Timoshkina 

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