Held at the Alhambra Cinema at 5 pm on 28th March 2004
Present: Ian Picken (Chairman), Tom Rennie (Treasurer), Rod Evans (Secretary), Committee Members David W Miller, Brian Jimack, Ella Leibowitz, Alex Greenwood, Alan Smith and 19 other Members.
Apologies for absence were received from D.David Miller, Ella Lloyd, Paul Buttle, Alan Edward, Pat and Mrs Brenchley.
The Minutes of the 2003 AGM were summarised by the Secretary and signed by the Chairman. There were no matters arising.
Ian Picken spoke as follows:
' Once again, I'm announcing in my Chairman's Report that this year has, in many ways, been the Club's most successful to date:
The 2003 Keswick Film Festival had been successful in attracting grant support from North West Vision to the tune of £5,000, leaving the finances secure for 2003-2004.
We started the season in September last year with a free screening of Donnie Darko - a thank you to the people of Keswick and the surrounding area who have supported us and made the Club such a success. Since then we've averaged 100 people at each screening (even when you include in the count the more 'challenging' titles such as Werckmeister Harmonies, which attracted a respectable 49). We now regularly (i.e. roughly every other film) attract three-figure audiences. Compare this to previous years when audiences in excess of 100 have been rare. Our most popular film, Whale Rider, brought in 241 people - our nearest thing to a sell-out this season. This has reinforced our confidence in our programming policy: that is, to go for the best available World Cinema without worrying about size of audience. The 2004 festival was also successful in audience terms (ticket sales up 7.5% on last year), but we were unsuccessful in attracting support from NWV. This is the regional arts body whose remit is to foster and develop work in the moving image sector of the arts in the Northwest. Last year, I reported how our relationship with this newly formed body had been distant (to say the least) but extremely fruitful (they awarded us, through the UK Film Council's Lottery Fund, £5,000 for the 2003 festival). This year, our relationship has been neither close nor fruitful, but luckily, we have been successful in attracting a festival award from Rural Regeneration Cumbria for £2,500 and this has gone some way to offset the financial shortfall at the 2004 event (see Tom's financial report). Nevertheless, this has left us needing to find substantial backing this year if we are to stage a sixth festival in 2005, and with NWV's lack of support for what we do, this will need some hard work.
However, I am optimistic for the festival's prospects for the following reasons:
Firstly, the Keswick Area Partnership is now gathering together movers and shakers in the various community bodies around these parts and I see the various festivals and events working with the Town to co-ordinate and support these previously disparate groups.
The second reason I'm optimistic regarding the future of the Keswick Film Festival is the fact that as a Committee we are looking afresh at the entire event, questioning everything we do, including why we have a festival, whom it's for, and how we can develop the event. A major part in this review will be played by the Committee's latest recruit, Alexandra Greenwood, who brings to the deliberations a wealth of knowledge and experience gained at FilmFour and through her work at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Alex may also bring a fresh eye to our Club season. These are, therefore quite exciting times on the Committee - watch this space. The Club has also been successful in gaining a grant towards the purchase of a data projector. This allows us the flexibility to screen DVDs and videos at the Alhambra for the first time (previously these media were restricted to the festival as only the Theatre had the facilities to project them.) The equipment arrived too late to be fully used in this season's activities, but it has already allowed us to screen a short film on video and to show Spirit of the Beehive using David Miller's DVD copy when the distributor failed to send us the film print.
David continues to be a big noise at the BFFS - he is now Vice Chair, and his inside information and attendance at various conferences and meetings is proving very valuable indeed.
We have to say thank you and goodbye to John Amos from the Committee, as he has moved on to pastures new. Please put yourself forward to stand on the Committee at any time, not just at AGMs - the more people we have the merrier. To finish, Club Membership remains at a healthy 223. Assuming we have the agreement of the Alhambra's owners, Graves (Cumberland) Ltd., and of our tireless Treasurer/projectionist, Tom Rennie, we will return in the Autumn with a new programme, and - assuming the funds are in place-in the New Year with a 6th Film Festival.
Meanwhile, there are still four great films to watch before the end of the season, and I hope members will thoroughly enjoy them.
Tom Rennie presented his report on the period 1st September 2002 - 31st August 2003 with comparative figures for the three preceding years, along with the situation in the Club's current financial year.
The report was a very positive and optimistic one: the Club season continued to do very well, and this year the Festival ended with a healthy surplus, thanks to the fund-raising activities of the organisers, and sponsorship from Booths Supermarkets. An end-of-financial-year surplus of left the Club well-placed to tackle the 2004 Festival and invest in new technology for the future.
Tom fielded a number of questions from members, explaining the significant costs of a number of Festival elements such as guests' and speakers' fees and expenses. The Chairman thanked Tom before turning to the next item on the agenda.
Trustees and Committee
The one third of the Trustees retiring at this AGM consisted of D.David Miller and Tom Rennie. In the absence of any alternative nominations, and given their willingness to continue as trustees, they had accepted the invitation to do so, a situation that met with the approval of members present at the meeting. An invitation was issued to any member keen to join the Committee to make their interest known, and after the meeting Katherine Anderson and John Bennett were invited to be part of the group.
The Secretary reported on the legal advice he had received on the subject of changing the Article of Association which prescribed a minimum 10% of the Club's membership as quorum for an AGM, since this had proved problematical the week before: the meeting had to be reconvened. Advice was that the Club was unable to change that Article through procedures laid down, and the Charity Commissioners' opinion would have to be sought. This would be done with minimum delay.
The meeting ended with a warm vote of thanks from Malcolm McDowell, on behalf of all the members present, to the Committee for their good work on behalf of the Club. The meeting closed at 5.23 p.m.
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