New film club set to open at historic Sunderland pub The Peacock, showing lesser-known works

The cameras are set to roll at a new film club which will shine a light on lesser-known productions.

Sunderland Film Club will be hosting monthly screenings in the upstairs room at The Peacock, starting on January 26.

The not-for-profit, volunteer-run club will be showcasing the most inventive and expressive work in contemporary documentary cinema, with plans afoot for talks and workshops also.

Organiser Dan Appleby has received funding and support from Cinema for All and the British Film Institute (BFI) for the club and says he’s looking forward to filling a gap in the city’s culture scene.

The cinema screen inside The Peacock Pub Keel Square, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

Dan, who studied film at university, said: “During lockdown I noticed that there was a lot of cultural stuff happening in Sunderland, but that there was a gap in the market for film and getting people from the local community engaged in film.

"I approached The Peacock and they were really supportive and keen on the club. It’s a great room upstairs.”

The first screening will be The Arbor by Clio Barnard, which portrays the life of the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar.

Dan, who will be screening films that aren’t often screened at larger cinemas, said: “It’s one of the most formally inventive, emotionally devastating films of the past 20 years and touches on some really difficult topics.

The Peacock Pub Keel Square, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

"Andrea was most well-known for her first play, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, which was made into a film. She had a short life and the filmmaker interviews her family and friends about her troubled life in Bradford for the documentary.”

Speaking about the response to the club, Dan said: “There’s been a lot of interest already and a great reaction. We’ll be looking to host talks and workshops in the future.”

The upstairs function room at The Peacock underwent a major revamp when the pub reopened after restoration works and holds around 150 people seated.

*The Arbor by Clio Barnard will be screened at The Peacock on January 26. Tickets are £3 and are available in advance from

Dan Appleby with the cinema screen inside of the Peacock Pub Keel Square, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

You can follow Sunderland Film Club on Facebook @sunderlandfilmclubsfc and Instagram @sunderlandfilmclub to keep up to date with the club and any future screenings.

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