public house
LFF laurels

public house



The full press pack is available here

Public House premiered in the documentary competition at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival, nominated for the Grierson award. This was a wonderful opportunity for London audiences to see a story featuring a London community in their city. In 2016, Public House has been re-edited and remastered in a new version for wider audiences.

Here is the post-premiere Q&A between filmmaker Sarah Turner and LFF programmer and BFI Head of Cinemas, Helen de Witt:


Sophie Mayer wrote about the film in Sight & Sound:

"(Public House) manifest[s its] complex conceptual framework through immediately engaging screen work. The performing body provides the medium through which cinematic experiment with multi-layered sound is projected towards the audience, a connection point that allows us to feel the film deeply.

[Turner's] is a communitarian film on all sides, with no individual star. Public House re-imagines cinema as a truly public house, reminiscent of the street-side cameras of Mitchell and Kenyon acting as an invitation to their subjects to view themselves, communally. Turner’s subjects are the pubgoers and staff of the Ivy House in Peckham Rye – or possibly Nunhead: there’s a classic Londoners’ debate, one of the many moments in which the film’s choral voiceover manages to give voice to community as united but not homogeneous. The Ivy House was the first pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value, saved from developers by community shareholders. While the film offers a toolbox for future campaigners, it’s also a participatory portrait, particularly in the poems that give the film its spine. It’s the community who are truly the asset, suggests the film in post-Occupy spirit. Its combination of the choreographic and choral offer a dazzlingly unique form in which to make the collective cinematic."

The full article is available here


Sarah was also interviewed by funder FLAMIN:

The original and longer version of the film screened at the LFF was reviewed by popular site Londonist:

"The story alone makes this slightly oddball documentary worth a look (just imagine if every community could take control of their local and turn it into such a brilliantly personal place). Turner has gone further than just charting what happened and crafted an intriguing audio-visual tapestry that takes a little while to get used to (and perhaps goes on a bit too long) but is richly rewarding and a fine tribute to the achievements of the co-op members...

There are no talking heads though we hear memories and testimonies, sometimes overlapping, sometimes looped into hypnotic incantations, one of the most memorable being a disembodied voice chanting “vodka and lime, port and lemon” while a disco ball rotates...

This ‘spoken word-text-opera’, as Turner calls it, is threaded through a collage of events that have taken place in the pub over the last few years (before, during and after the buy-out). The most striking are the performance art stunts and spoken word nights that were devised specifically for this film. Subjects range from life in a video shop to a friend’s suicide, with the readers all being ordinary punters you might nod hello to at the bar but whose stories and feelings you’d never otherwise know. This is the magic of The Ivy House, a pub where anything goes and anyone can say or do whatever they like...

Yes, the film demands quite a lot of the audience, but if you let it hypnotise you it ends up being a far more immersive experience than the average documentary. As the camera pokes into the corners of the building you can almost smell the spilt beer and crumbs of pork crackling."

The full text is here

Grierson laurels