Tom Lawes

Last updated
Thomas Lawes
Born (1971-08-01) 1 August 1971 (age 51)
Birmingham, England
  • Film director
  • producer
  • composer
Years active1993–present
Known forOwner and renovator of The Electric

Thomas Lawes (born 1 August 1971) is an English film director, music composer, and entrepreneur. He is best known for renovating and owning The Electric cinema in Birmingham, England, the oldest known working cinema in the United Kingdom. Lawes composed the soundtrack for the BBC television series All Quiet on the Preston Front (1994–1997), co-directed the 1998 film Demagogue, and directed the 2011 documentary film The Last Projectionist.



Lawes was born in Birmingham, England, and attended Handsworth Grammar School. [1] At age 19, after working as a roadie for the rock band Gunfire Dance, [2] [3] Lawes began creating low-budget horror films shot on camcorder. [4] In 1993, aged 22, he was hired by the BBC to compose the soundtrack to the BBC comedy drama television series All Quiet on the Preston Front . [5] Lawes made his feature film directorial debut with the 1998 film Demagogue, which he co-directed with Adam Trotman.

In 2004 Lawes purchased the then-derelict Electric cinema in Birmingham, the oldest known working cinema in the country. [6] Lawes then initiated a total renovation of the building, restoring it to its 1930s Art Deco aesthetic. [7] Following the £250,000 renovations, the cinema, which had closed in December 2003, re-opened for business in December 2004. [7]

Lawes is also the musical director of The Electric Cinema Film Orchestra, the UK's first in-house film orchestra. [8]

In 2009, the centenary year of the original opening of The Electric, [6] Lawes was congratulated in the House of Commons for his work in restoring the cinema. [9] In 2011 Lawes directed and produced the feature-length documentary The Last Projectionist, a film charting the history of independent cinema in the UK. The film was named BBC Radio 5Live's Film of the Week by Mark Kermode. [10] The film won awards, including "Best Documentary" at the Cambridge Film Festival. [11] In 2010 the British Film Institute selected The Last Projectionist to be included in its permanent archive collection. [12] Lawes also directed a series of short documentaries Southside Stories which in 2012 won two Royal Television Society (Midlands) Award for Best Promotional Programme and Best Craft. [13]


YearFilm Director Producer Composer Editor NotesRef(s)
1994Rhino BitchCo-directorCo-producerYes Short film; also actor and post-production sound [14]
2003The Living Love the Dead! Video documentary; appears as self [14]
2011 The Last Projectionist YesYesYesYesAlso cinematographer and sound mixer [12]
20143 Sides of the CoinYesYesYesShort film; also cinematographer
2016MonochromeYesYesYesYesAlso screenwriter and cinematographer [15] [16]


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  2. "Tom & Suzie Electric". Archived from the original on 15 December 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  3. Young, Graham (15 December 2009). "One hundred years of the Electric Cinema". Birmingham Post .
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  6. 1 2 "BBC News - Electric cinema celebrates its centenary". 15 December 2009.
  7. 1 2 "BBC - Birmingham Features - Electric Cinema to re-open".
  9. "Early day motion 304". UK Parliament.
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  11. 1 2
  12. 1 2 "The Last Projectionist (2011)". BFI. Archived from the original on 2015-07-13.
  13. 1 2 3 "Awards -- Midlands". Archived from the original on 2013-10-19.
  14. 1 2 The Living Love the Dead! (Video documentary). Nucleus Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment (UK). 2003.
  15. Young, Graham (19 October 2014). "Electric Cinema owner shoots new thriller in Birmingham". Birmingham Live . Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  16. H. C., Luis (15 May 2018). "[Review] 'Monochrome' Isn't Quite the Character Study It Strives to Be". Bloody Disgusting . Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  17. birminghampost Administrator (17 May 2005). "Tom in the picture with award". birminghampost.
  18. 1 2 birminghampost Administrator (29 July 2009). "No.34 Tom Lawes". birminghampost.
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