Lansdown Film Club and the Stroud Film Festival - By Helen Prynne

Preparation and planning is well under way for the second Stroud Film Festival in March 2016, which those involved with are hoping will be as successful as the 2015 one. Lansdown Film Club put on five events around the town for the 2015 festival, and subsequently we were shortlisted for the ‘Best Film Programming’ award at the Cinema For All community cinema awards. In early October Jo B and I went to Sheffield, with one member of the club, to attend the awards ceremony and meet other volunteers from cinema clubs around Britain.

Cinema’s death knell has been sounded many times, with the advent of television, videos, dvds and now movie streaming, yet film clubs are thriving around Britain – up for awards were small cinemas run by various groups, including women, students and pensioners, all bringing people in their communities together to watch films on the big screen. Something about that experience still beats watching movies at home, whether it’s the quality of the screen and sound, the shared experience with others, or just the fact of going out making it a more special night than being in front of the telly. The ‘Best Film Programming’ award was the most contested, with 14 cinema clubs listed. Lansdown received a commendation for their programming.

Lansdown Film Club has gone from strength to strength in the last few years, with quality, reliable equipment and a dedicated group of volunteers getting involved at every stage. One of the most enjoyable and interesting parts for a volunteer is choosing which films we are going to screen in a season. We have to be very discriminating as we only show approximately 18 films in a year, to be selected from all the films released in a year, from anywhere in the world, plus the options of brilliant films from almost 100 years of cinema history. We do not screen anything that has already been on at the local Vue, and programme films from a variety of countries and with a variety of moods: uplifting, gritty, romantic etc. After those considerations, we also particularly look out for movies that the citizens of Stroud might appreciate, for example films with an environmental concern. Any films made with a Buddhist theme always generate some interest too!

The Cinema For All commendation has inspired us to continue to try and improve our programming and the experience of our audience. We have a great shortlist of films to choose from for next year’s festival, with a guiding theme of ‘music and the arts’. Many music documentaries are made every year, but there are always other interesting films out about other branches of the arts – of course, cinema is an art to begin with. Lansdown Film Club will be programming a family movie for the festival, as well as our normal two evening films and perhaps more. Look out across the festival programme for special events, music to accompany movies and interesting new venues. There’ll be something for anyone with even a passing interest in film – and a glut for those of us who love cinema…