In 2003 a group was formed to work with the aim of putting on some film screenings in the village Memorial Hall.
Walsham-le-Willows Community Council joined the Suffolk Digital Cinema Network who provide the equipment for screenings, training in its use, insurance and technical support if anything goes wrong. The equipment has to be collected from and then returned to Mildenhall for each screening.
The opening night in May 2004 saw the matinee screening of the children’s film, Kirikou and an evening screening of Calendar Girls to packed audiences. Six more films were shown during that year and in 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 screened alongside a memorial luncheon as a fundraiser.
2009 brought the decision that all future performances would be free with the expectation that audiences would make their own voluntary contribution which has proved very successful.
Each licence costs between £60 – £80 plus vat, therefore each film costs the group up to £100 which includes the hire of the hall, so good attendance and voluntary donations are important to cover the running costs. Films are selected based on suggestions from village people and licences are obtained from one of the film distribution companies, mainly Filmbank or the British Film Institute.
Screenings to children in the village are particularly well supported with regular audiences of over 45.
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 films are selected by the children from the Walsham Primary School from a shortlist of three supplied by the Cinema Club Committee. These films are run as a Walsham ‘village kids club’ and are also free to the audience.
Ian Bartholomew | 01359 258349