Walsham le Willows

Cinema Club

To see the programme for current films please click onto the Diary of Events pages

In 2003 Walsham Community Council joined the Suffolk Digital Cinema Network with the intention of putting on cinema events in the village Memorial Hall, consequently a group was formed to carry this project forward. The network provides the group with the equipment to screen films – a projector, sound system, DVD Player and a portable screen. They also provide training in the use of the equipment, insurance and technical support if anything goes wrong! This equipment is based in Mildenhall and has to be collected and then returned there after each screening.

The opening night was back in May 2004 when the children’s matinee film, Kirikou and the evening film of Calendar Girls were shown to packed audiences, and 6 more films were shown during that year. In the following year 2005, The Walsham Cinema club was set up to create a firm foundation of people who enjoy films and would support screenings of films in the village hall. Over 20 films were shown that year including a special War Memorial film archive film matinee, as part of a fund raising war Memorial luncheon.

In 2009 it was agreed that for all future performances there would be no charges made! However, there would be the facility for viewers to make their own voluntary contribution, and this has proved to be a very successful arrangement. The films are particularly well supported by the village children with regular audiences of over 45 children. Once the film selection has been made a licence has to be obtained from one of the film distribution companies, mainly Filmbank or the British Film Institute, who between them hold the rights to most films. Each licence costs between £60 – £80 plus vat, therefore each film costs the group up to £100 which includes the hire of the hall, hence the need for the voluntary support to cover the running costs.

The afternoon children’s films are covered by an ‘umbrella licence’ from the Motion Picture Licencing Company which allows showing any number of films (from the film studios covered by this licence) to a group of children at a cost of £2.00 per child per year. These events are run as a Walsham ‘village kids club’ and, as detailed above the film showing is free of any charges. The childrens films are selected by the children at the Walsham Primary School from a shortlist of three supplied by the Cinema Club Committee.

Choosing Films

The key to a successful film evening is obviously the choice of film, and as mentioned previously the group need views and ideas on what films to show. A recent example confirms the importance of the actual film selection. On Friday 13th of February 2009 the very popular film Mamma Mia was shown here in Walsham. This film showing attracted an audience of 100, a number only surpassed when the film Calendar Girls was shown early on in this project.

A photograph of the audience facing the blank screen. The hall is filling up.
Several young ladies dancing. Dancing!
A man adjusting the control box positioned on the wall whilst glancing down at instructions on a table top. Controlling the action!

Filmbank is the main film distributor and has a comprehensive list of available DVD’s, their website catalogues many films and you will find it very easy to browse, just go to www.filmbank.co.uk. Another useful website is www.bfi.org.uk which is the site of the British Film Institute that has a library of classic and foreign films.

If any other village organisations or individuals would like to have use of the cinema equipment for a film evening then please contact Alison Findlay on 01359 258822 and Alison will then book the equipment for these other dates, and if anyone would like to be more involved in the running of the group, from setting up the equipment to planning the calendar of films then you can also telephone Alison, or alternatively contact her by email on millcroft1@tiscali.co.uk.

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