Skip to content

Of Secret Cinemas

In 2004, French authorities discovered a film theatre sequestered in the Paris catacombs. The theatre is said to have boasted a bar, a small kitchen, and a substantial selection of cinema – but when the police returned to conduct their official investigation, everything had been stripped away. There remained only a short note left behind for them:

Ne cherchez pas.” Do not search.

Clandestine arts organisation Les UX had been on the police’s radar prior to this discovery, conducting restorative mischief by tending the city’s forgotten underground infrastructure, and most notably, repairing the Panthéon clock. With this discovery their work became national news, an example of delightful artistic disobedience, passed along by entertained observers and cultural enthusiasts for years, until eventually, it rolled across my social media feed.

Dundee Guerrilla Film Festival Poster

Dundee has little in the way of underground catacombs to explore – at least, that I’ve managed to find. But that doesn’t preclude clandestine operations, and it didn’t phase me. I mused, once, that I’d like to do an illegal screening of The Innocents (1961) in the famous abandoned house on Roseangle. That was how it started.

I’ve since had the pleasure of working with some fantastic creatives, from large scale organisations in the city, down to the artists I studied beside, who have become my most valuable collaborators and friends. With their help, I’m pushing the envelope of professional troublemaking. I’m coordinating the Dundee Guerrilla Film Festival.

Our role: to be facilitators, agitators, and creative instigators! Our remit: to challenge the ethics of copyright law, and encourage the production, dissemination, and celebration of art! Once a month for the entire year, we meet, never in the same place twice, to share art, film, and our own personal creative work. You may have seen our posters – you may have even wandered past our primary encampment, and never known. Thanks to the brilliant work NEoN are doing in the Keillor Centre, our project has been provided a home. It’s not quite the Paris underground, but she’s got her own brand of liminal seventies chic to offer – and a lot of community spirit to share.

If you’d like to get to know old movies a bit better; if you’re aching for more creativity in your everyday life; if you’re tired of seeing endless remakes at the cinema; if you feel the end of the world breathing down your neck, and aren’t sure what to do about it; if you’re curious, at all… Keep your eyes open for the next movements of the D.G.F.F. We’ve got all the trappings – stickers, posters, manifestos and all. Come along, and join our little rebellion.

The best thing about making the entire city your cinema is that you’ve got room for everybody.

By R. Mudaliar


The Dundee Guerrilla Film Festival is a grassroots creative project, aiming to challenge the unethical, capitalistic restraints around the sharing of art and cinema, and to promote connection, inspiration, and exchange within Dundee’s artistic community! You can find further details about the festival, including our manifesto, here.

We’re staging a series of twelve artistic happenings in Dundee, each one a collaboration between the D.G.F.F. coordination team, and a Dundonian artist. We’ve got a huge range of mediums being employed across the span of the festival, and a diverse group of collaborating organisations to support the work on display. Our partner organisations so far include Creative Dundee, BIOME, Shaper/Caper, and of course, the fabulous NEoN Digital Arts!

Find us at our workshop in Unit 38 of the Keillor Centre, or else, keep an eye out for details on our next event… You never know where we might pop up next!