Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Keswick Film Club held at the Alhambra Cinema at 4.30 pm on 17th March 2002
Present: Ian Picken (Chairman), Tom Rennie (Treasurer), Rod Evans (Secretary), Committee Members David W Miller, D David Miller, Alan Smith, Anne Key, Brian Jimack and 15 other Members.
Apologies: There were no apologies for absence.
The Minutes of the 2001 AGM were summarised by the Secretary and signed by the Chairman. Matters arising: The possibility of reclaiming tax on KFC subscriptions had not been followed up, but the Secretary promised to liaise with NT members in the know, in order to put the appropriate question in the new membership slips.
Ian Picken reported as follows:
This year has, in many ways, been the Club's most successful to date:
A lucrative festival in the previous year left the finances secure for 2001 - 2002
We ended the 2000/01 season in April with three-figure audiences at Memento and Himalaya, the latter being a sell-out (260 seats)
We returned in the autumn with a programme which, despite its high proportion of foreign language films, attracted solid audiences. Even the more challenging titles such as Songs From the Second Floor had audiences of 40+, while it was common to see 80 - 90 people at many of our subtitled films.
Bolstered by the audience response, we programmed in the New Year even more heavily with foreign language films - not because we were pandering to our audience, but because there are sadly few good English language films around (see BBC2 Saturdays, A Room for Romeo Brass, Ratcatcher). Iranian film continued to be popular with Kandahar attracting our largest audience this season at 160.
We expect our two 'blockbusters', The Man Who Wasn't There and Code Unknown to do reasonable trade over the Easter period.
This year's festival was less successful in bums-on-seats terms (audiences 26% down on last year), but as an event it was as groundbreaking as any we have staged so far:
We had a genuine VIP - Jack Cardiff - whose live interview brought a new dimension to our festivals;
Live piano accompaniment featured as Neil Brand played along to Pandora's Box;
Two free events were staged for schools in the week leading up to the festival: a Primary Schools' KS2 screening for 96 local students of Toy Story 2 followed by an animation workshop, hosted by the London-based organisation, Film Education; and a Secondary Schools event for 120 Year 10 Nelson Thomlinson School students, during which they analysed Pleasantville and took away resources for further coursework for their GCSE English. Roy Stafford, who featured later that week at the free talks, hosted this event.
We are analysing the factors influencing the reduced turnout to the festival and will try different approaches next time. The most obvious is the programming of a wider range of more accessible films across the weekend - though we shall not be going for the LCD in an attempt to maximise ticket sales - we are KFC after all!
Two of the Committee have just returned from the BFFS viewing sessions, where - we hope - they saw lots of potential programming material for next season, and where the Club was awarded the prize for Best Programme for the second year running. The programming sub-committee must be doing something right!
We said goodbye to two of our Committee members: Michael and Sheila Collins who have moved to Arran! Many thanks for their valuable contributions over the last couple of years.
A special mention in despatches must go to Rod Evans, your Secretary, who unwittingly found himself holding the festival baby this year when I found I could not give the contribution to its organisation that I would have liked. Without Rod, the festival simply would not have happened.
Club Membership remains at a healthy 165.
NEXT YEAR: the status of the exhibition sector in this region is unknown, as the reorganisation of the Regional Arts Boards has relocated Cumbria to the North West. Our very successful relationship with Northern Arts in Newcastle is therefore likely to taper off, to be replaced with an uncertain future under their Manchester-based equivalent.
We plan to develop our relationship with the BFI.
We now have a representative, in David Miller, on the Management Committee of the BFFS, so we hope this will be of some assistance to the Club in the future. Thanks to David for volunteering his time for this role.
Assuming we have the agreement of the Alhambra's owners, Graves, and of our tireless Treasurer/projectionist, Tom Rennie, we will return in the autumn with a new programme, and in the New Year with a 5th Film Festival.
Meanwhile, there are still five great films to enjoy before the end of the season. So enjoy!
Tom Rennie presented his report on the period 1st Sept 2000 - 31st Aug 2001, with figures from the 2 preceding years for comparison, and a look at the current financial year. The year under report had been a good one, with the deficit on the Club season of £585 at the start being transformed into a surplus of £1,726 - largely because the films were well attended and members' services were offered free of charge. Membership was very nearly as high as in the Club's first year. As for the festival component of the accounts, the surplus brought forward of £3,584 had been turned into a surplus of £5,651, thanks to grants, good advertising and voluntary labour.
Looking briefly at the current year, sponsorship for the festival had been harder to come by, but the Club season was holding up well, and although there would be some loss on the Festival, this would be easily withstood in view of the balance at the bank.
In response to questions from the floor, Tom said that the deficit on the festival would be a 4-figure sum , but it was too early to be more precise, and that our break-even figure for attendance at Sunday shows was about 55.
The Chairman thanked Tom for his comprehensive report.
Retirement of Trustees
KFC's Articles of Association require one third of the trustees to retire at each AGM, so the departure of Michael and Shelagh Collins meant a reduction of the Trustees to 6, Ian Picken being reappointed. As there were no nominations for new trustees, it was not thought important to try to re-establish the figure of eight.
However the Chairman did appeal to any members with specialised expertise to volunteer their services, and when the invitation to serve on the Committee was made, John Amos was willing, and warmly welcomed.
Lucy Bestley thanked the Treasurer for his very clear accounts.
Brian Jimack enquired as to the worth of film introductions, and was assured that they were valued, good for the 'club' atmosphere, and traditional. It was stated that film notes too were valued by members.
Tom Nixon wondered whether the sound system in the Alhambra was 'up to scratch', and was informed that it was 'state of the art', and that any difficulty in hearing was likely to be the fault of mumbled dialogue, cross-talk and background noise.
Paul Buttle, wondering whether we were close to our 100th film at the Alhambra, was assured by DDM that an eye was being kept, and the occasion would be marked. Geoff Hayes asked if there was any chance of subtitles for English language films. Unfortunately not at present.
Jane Morgan, wondering whether there was to be a discussion of Festival films, was told that there had already been a good quantity of feedback, that more was welcome, and programming would be up for discussion at the 31st March committee meeting. It was already generally felt that there should be more films with a wider appeal next time.
Paul Buttle was assured that we had considered BBC Radio 4's Back Row programme for disseminating news of the Festival, but they had shown little interest last year, and that the cost for advertising shown in the accounts did indeed include provision of the Film in Keswick leaflet.
Malcolm McDowall warmly thanked the Committee for their year's hard work, expressing the pleasure of the members at belonging to 'a great club'.
This wound up business and the meeting closed at 5.19 pm.
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