We came, we saw, we kicked its ass. The first incarnation of American Airlines Presents Empire Live has flown past, and what a weekend it was. For three nights and two days, The O2 in Greenwich played to host to *Empire*’s patented brand of film-related fun, seeing *Empire* readers rub shoulders with famous fans. We talked about films, argued about films, occasionally made bad puns about films, and most importantly of all, watched films.
The whole shebang kicked off in appropriately glamorous fashion on the Friday night, with a red carpet rolled out at entrance to The O2’s gargantuan Cineworld cinema. Daniel Radcliffe shot the metaphorical starting gun by introducing a gala double-bill of his two new films, Swiss Army Man and Imperium; both extremely unique in their own way, and both about as far from the boy wizard as you’re likely to get.
On Saturday, the events came thick and fast, starting with an exclusive preview of Disney’s Moana, a very funny Q&A with the team behind Bill, and a plasticine-fingered model-making workshop with the geniuses from Aardman. Highlights came from a live script-read of Trainspotting from a cast of hip young up-and-comers, a live edition of the Empire Podcast, and a fascinating live director’s commentary of The Raid from Gareth Evans.
Sunday brought a succession of illuminating and often inspiration masterclasses and panels from a wealth of cinematic talent. We hosted captivating chats with production designers, writers, costume designers, cinematographers and composers, while our standing-room-only Women On Screen panel inspired and enraged in equal measure.
And that’s not even to mention the abundance of fantastic film screenings, from pre-release exclusives (Hacksaw Ridge, My Scientology Movie, War On Everyone, The Greasy Strangler) to tried-and-tested classics (Easy Rider, Aliens, Labyrinth) to quirky one-offs (Frozen with snow! Ghostbusters with goo!).
All in all, it was quite a weekend. Thanks must go to our very generous sponsors, without whom the entire event quite literally would have never happened, and we’d have had to host the whole thing in our living rooms which is not practical for anyone: American Airlines, Ubeeqo, Heineken, NFTS, Corinthia, RealD, Mafia III, 20th Century Fox, and the Forever Hope Foundation.