Join the Cult – Celebrating 10 years of A24 | Programme Notes

Join us for this ReDiscover season which marks A24’s truly remarkable first decade.

The Picturehouse Team

31 Mar 23

Founded as A24 Films in 2012 by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges, A24 has established itself as one of the most successful and significant independent studios in the film industry today. Taking its name from the Italian motorway that Katz was driving on when the idea for the company first took hold, A24 was built on the concept of creating movies with a distinctive point of view – and in the decade since its first releases in 2013, they've been at the helm of some of the most inventive, vibrant works of modern cinema.

With over a hundred titles in their catalogue as distributors and producers, A24 has swiftly become one of Hollywood's key players.

Back in 2017, the studio earned its first Academy Award for Best Picture with Barry Jenkins' incomparable Moonlight, and – just a few weeks ago –  Everything Everywhere All At Once would sweep the 2023 Oscars with six wins, including Best Picture.

These wins, combined with The Whale's award for Best Actor, meant that A24 became the first studio ever to win in the six major categories in a single year.

Alongside its critical successes, 2022 was also a bumper financial year for A24, with the studio trailing only the major Hollywood studios in terms of box office receipts.

So, what makes A24 so special? For an industry as flashy and in-your-face as the movie business, distributors are often invisible, and yet everything about A24 has worked to establish a distinct and recognisable cult brand; even the logo, a simple white design on a black background, now carries cultural weight, becoming a recognisable stamp of approval and quality.

This deceptively simple branding has preceded a vast variety of projects in the ten years since A24 distributed its first film: coming-of-age stories like Lady Bird, Eighth Grade and American Honey; horror films such as The Witch, Hereditary and X; and complex character studies such as First Reformed, A Ghost Story and The Last Black Man in San Francisco

While its catalogue has a huge range in terms of genre and style, A24 films definitely share a subtle yet unifying quality; everyone knows what an A24 film is, but no one A24 film is like another.

The house style of A24 is that, really, there is no house style: in 2021 alone, their releases ranged from Korean drama Minari, medieval fantasy The Green Knight and Icelandic folk horror Lamb. Their films are designed to push boundaries, subvert genres, explore characters and tell deeply personal stories as each individual filmmaker sees fit.

Although it may feel like the A24 model harks back to the 90s heyday of independent cinema, the studio certainly affords filmmakers an unparalleled degree of autonomy over their projects.

The studio is famed for allowing directors like Lulu Wang, Robert Eggers, Greta Gerwig and the Safdie brothers a considerable amount of artistic freedom, giving filmmakers the space to exercise their creative voices and creates truly unique stories for the big screen.

Among subversive genre mash-ups, star vehicles and cult horror, A24 has nurtured and developed projects with rising talents and unknown actors.

This ReDiscover season marks A24's truly remarkable first decade, celebrating titles from Moonlight to The Lighthouse via Zola, Eighth Grade, The Lobster and more. It's a genre-spanning showcase of the very best cinema A24 has brought to audiences – so far. Enjoy the show, and join the cult!

Rose Butler — Film Programmer

The line-up


From Sun 2 Apr — Book Now

Barry Jenkins' Best Picture-winning film Moonlight chronicles the life of Chiron, an African-American boy growing up in Miami and grappling with his sexuality. Isolated from his classmates and his drug-addict mother, he briefly finds a father figure in a man named Juan, whose teachings stay with him for a lifetime.

Lauded as one of the greatest LGBT films of the twenty-first century, and featuring an incredible ensemble cast, Moonlight is a magic trick, somehow capturing an entire spectrum of human emotion through its lens while providing a remarkable representation of contemporary African-American communities, masculinity and family.

Luke Hemmings  Programming Intern

Eighth Grade

From Sun 9 Apr — Book Now

If you opened a time capsule from yourself aged thirteen, what would you find inside? Before Bo Burnham lit up our screens at home with Inside, he created A24's Eighth Grade, his feature-length debut as writer and director exposing the crippling discomfort of teen-girl peer pressure and social-media saturation.

Fresh from her own eighth-grade graduation a week before production began, the unlikely star of the show is Elsie Fisher, who drew from her lived experience for the role.

She plays thirteen-year-old Kayla, in the midst of making her way through the final week of a disastrous year of middle school.

Fisher perfectly manifests the aching discomfort that comes with being thirteen in this wrenching story of a young person struggling to fit in and be heard. Open a shoebox of emotion – and witness one of the best on-screen dads in cinema history.

Anna Shepherd  Film Programmer


From Sun 16 Apr — Book Now

When the source material is a 48-hour stripper odyssey that invented the Twitter thread, you know you're in for an absolutely wild ride.

Zola is fun, stylish and hilarious, as well as shocking, gritty, and vulnerable, with director Janicza Bravo staying true to Zola's story and voice, adapting her odyssey with the same commitment as you would a Shakespeare play. 

While still honouring the humourous tone of the original Zola tweets (and acknowledging its online origins with gleeful sound and visual cues), Bravo also highlights gaps in the original story that are tricky to translate via Tweet: mainly, the violence and danger experienced by its heroine.

The threats only get more extreme as the story continues, making the film an important examination of both whiteness and the casual violence that Black women have to endure to survive.

Freyja Pakarinen  Senior Film Programmer

American Honey

From Sun 23 Apr — Book Now 

A long way from the simmering kitchen-sink dramas she made her name on, Andrea Arnold's American debut couldn't have found a better home than with the Americana-tinged catalogue of A24.

Holding up a dark mirror to the get-rich-quick schemes and ragged appeal of modern-day nomad living, Arnold tracks our hard-edged heroine (a hugely underrated Sasha Lane, scouted while on Spring Break) through deserted motels, the backyards of misogynist cowboys, and the homes of religious fanatics, all under the manicured hand of Riley Keough, who captured a specific form of parasitic 'white trash' she developed upon in Zola.

And while it might be Rihanna's 'We Found Love' played over tinny supermarket speakers that remain in people's minds, it's the film namesake, by Lady A, whose lyrics capture the yearning for somewhere else in the whole ragtag crew's heart.

Issy Macleod  Film Programmer

The Lighthouse

From Sun 30 Apr — Book Now

Returning for his second feature after the barnstorming success of The Witch, Robert Eggers stuck to New England folklore for The Lighthouse.

A two-hander, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as nineteenth-century lighthouse keepers, the film follows the two 'wickies' as a violent storm leaves them marooned at their remote New England outpost.

As the storm rages around them, strange and mysterious visions make their grasp on reality start to slip. Shot on the rugged coastline of Nova Scotia and captured in striking black and white photography, The Lighthouse is a moody, atmospheric thriller; part horror film, part character-study, the film's boxy 1:19:1 aspect ratio capturing the isolation and sense of confinement facing the two leads. 

Rose Butler  Film Programmer

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

From Fri 5 May — Book Now

A love letter to the twilight era of San Francisco in the face of encroaching gentrification, The Last Black Man In San Francisco asks not only what it means to belong, but what we rely on to prove that.

Is it a document declaring ownership? Is it a historical record? Or is it simply a story passed from generation to generation?

Joe Talbot's sensitive film strives less to give us clear answers to those questions, but instead envelops his audience in the miasma of a San Fran less often seen but nonetheless just as authentic.

Buoyed by two powerful leads, and a variety of larger-than-life side characters, these skateboard-riding guys will make you fall in love with aimless city living. 

Issy Macleod  Film Programmer

The Florida Project 

From Fri 12 May — Book Now

The contradiction that is the American Dream is rarely as sharply observed as it is in Sean Baker's lurid dreamscapes; Disney World looms over the day-to-day lives of those on capitalism's margins, and its child lead Moonee living in her own magic kingdom.

With the exception of William Dafoe - whose lived-in performance earned him an Academy Award nomination - the colourful characters that make up the motel at the film's heart are all non-professional actors or the actual residents.

It is this authentic portrayal of the underclass of the US that has become Baker's trademark, alongside guerrilla filmmaking that makes for the film's remarkable, and emotional, ending.

Issy Macleod  Film Programmer

The Lobster

From Fri 19 May — Book Now

Helmed by the Greek Weird Wave's breakout director Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster is one of the most absurd and striking films in the A24 catalogue.

The film would take home the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and has since become one of Lanthimos' most respected works, alongside Dogtooth, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Favourite.  Starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, the film follows the newly single David, who moves into a hotel catering exclusively for singletons. The catch? All guests must find a romantic partner within 45 days or be transformed into animals.

A bold, visually stunning and narratively complex black comedy, The Lobster is both a surprisingly moving love story and a biting satire of our couple-fixated society.

Rose Butler  Film Programmer

The Farewell

From Sun 28 May — Book Now

"Chinese people have a saying: when people get cancer, they die". An extremely moving, witty, and subtle film from Lulu Wang, The Farewell constantly walks the fine line of comedy and tragedy, all while interweaving the intricacies of immigrant families' dynamics and politics.

Its themes of identity are assumed rather than over-explained; its main conflict is that of a culture clash between Western and Eastern philosophies, framed so delicately that both sides push and pull equally throughout the film.

Infused with grief and warmth, Wang's story examines duty, deceit, and family, and Awkwafina shines as its lead, trying to find her place in the world between the barriers of her own identity. 

Freyja Pakarinen  Senior Film Programmer

From beloved classics to unearthed gems, reintroduce yourself to the best films of yesterday with reDiscover  be that last decade, or last century. Tickets are £8 and free for Picturehouse Members.