BFFS National Conference: Colinsburgh win Community Award!

22 09 2010

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‘When I first looked at the short list of seven for the Community Award I was convinced that we were there to make up the numbers as it contained some much larger and more experienced film societies. The Awards Ceremony took place in the plush Cine Lumiere, a state of the art film theatre in the Institut Francais in South Kensington. It has seats you could too easily fall asleep in as I almost did through ‘La Regle Du Jeu’, which I believe is a hanging offence in cineaste circles…

Donna Anton the Chair of BFFS welcomed all the members and the guests including the art critic Derek Malcolm who is the BFFS President and the broadcaster and writer Francine Stock who was to present the awards. Donna then explained that after each of the seven award sections: Best programming, Best Website, Best Marketing and Publicity and so on, the winners would be able to say a few words, if they like. My heart dropped as of course in such a public situation you cannot not like.

They worked through the sections, Best New Society, Best Student Society and it became clear that the Community Award would be the last one decided. The winners all seemed very relaxed and urbane and well known to the audience who they graced with practiced well chosen words.

For each section a film society was awarded a ‘distinction’  a few ‘commended’ and usually one or two not mentioned at all which made for a little tension before the announcement of the winner. The Community Award had a short list of seven. Four were commended and Dulwich Paradiso Film Society received a distinction. That left two. There was still a chance I wouldn’t have to stumble through an acceptance speech until Donna said, ‘Due to the very strong field we have two winners. Colinsburg Community Cinema (she’s American) and Chorley Empire Cinema.’

So I shook the charming Francine’s hand (no irony intended she came across as very natural not the self interested media ego one fears stalk the media world). I then thanked everyone I could think off in suitably mangled syntax, that boomed through an uncomfortably  powerful P.A., before leaving the stage with the award and a bottle of champagne.

Apparently we won due to our work with Pete Rabjohns Guerrilla Film School that operated from the YMCA in Glenrothes, our involvement  with various Festivals : the Middle Eastern (Cairo Station), the Glenrothes Film Festival that  takes place on Oct 9th and the Africa in Motion Festival which we are hosting on November 6th . A special mention was made of our  help in setting up local community cinemas.

The rest of the weekend was a mixture of seminars and film previews. The theme was film education which some societies take more seriously than I would want to although the idea of programme notes was one that I thought that we could benefit from The screenings were a mixed bag of the arcane and the worthy  but one film ‘Myrrh and Pomegranates’ starring the wonderful Hiam Abbas (the mother in ‘The Visitor’ Feb last year) is a must for our programme.

A good weekend all round.




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