Chairman's Report 2013
I said this time last year that I felt I knew very little about films so there is at least one thing I have learnt; it is only possible to pick a really good program if there are really good films around to choose from. There have been some fantastic films released worldwide for both the film club and the Alhambra to show. We have had 30 films (plus another 35 at the festival). Four of the club films resulted in audiences over 140, with Amour just scraping home as the highest attendance - 145. We also had four films reaching 90% in the audience vote - this time 'Untouchable' won with 92.55%.
Our good year was given a large boost by Tom's improvements at the Alhambra. We were lucky enough to be the first to show a Digital film and a right 'Royal Affair' it was too. I remind you that without digital, we would not have been able to show most of the films we've had this year until they came out on DVD. So my first thanks go to Tom for making the Alhambra even better than it was before.
As far as the running of the club goes, I think it is fair to say that this year has been more one of consolidation than innovation. The committee all know their jobs so well now that we have only had one meeting all year. I overheard Ann Martin say that even the festival was organised with only two twenty minute meetings!
The club innovations were fairly small; we switched the format of the brochure to 'vertical' - it fits on the racks of the tourist board, etc, so much better - and we have tried to attract new people by updating Facebook and Twitter much more often with upcoming films and audience scores. If you haven't already had a look, why not join the 40 to 60 people who seem to look each week now. For the stats minded amongst us, over the festival we reached 1000 followers on Twitter and 500 'likes' on Facebook. Our inestimable webmaster - Stephen Brown - gets most thanks for this alongside his website work - still the best club website in Britain I think!
The committee has welcomed Astrid Perrett this year, who has taken over very smoothly as Treasurer and kept the bills paid, and the books up to date - a not insubstantial role I assure you! It wasn't till I sat in on Tom's handover of the work to Astrid that I realised quite how much there is to do. Thank you too, Astrid. On the downside, the committee has to say goodbye to Deb Cowin. She has resigned as Vice-Chair due to family pressures. Deb has been involved with the club since very early on and was also a Trustee. She has done a great deal for the club and we are sorry to see her go. On behalf of the club, thank you very much.
The other downside I have to report is that the membership is down. It has dropped from 256 to 233. I am not sure why this is - ironically, the attendance is up - from an average of 98 to 104 over the year to date - which is an extra 300 tickets sold - AND the average score is up from 71.4% to nearly 74%. We are planning on a ring round of these people to see if there is anything we can improve on to get them back, as well as an email questionnaire asking for comments from everyone who wants to give them. Please let us have any thoughts you have.
I find it hard to pick out highlights this year. Instead I'll just mention the special events. First, we had another 'Gala Night', this time with 2 new British Directors to celebrate. Then there was our Rheged night out (how many people thought 'Samsara' was our best film?) and, of course, our Christmas meal. Our 'Keswick on the Road' events also continued at Maryport and Mungrisdale, though Mungrisdale did stop at Christmas.
Before handing over to Ann to let her talk about the main event of the year - the Film Festival - I'd like to finish by thanking all the committee for keeping everything running so well - thank you all. I'd like to thank John Stakes for his sterling work producing his always interesting reviews and by thanking Robert Royall for projecting nearly all the films this year... Finally, my thanks goes to all of our audiences for continuing to come along to see the films. To quote David Miller, our superb 'chief programmer', "if we can influence more people to watch more films then what we do is certainly worth the effort." Thank you all.
Vaughan Ames, Chairman
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Best Website 2008
Best Website 2007
Film Society of The Year 2006
Best Programme 2005
Best Programme 2004
Best Programme 2002
Best Programme 2001
Best New Film Society 2000
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