Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Keswick Film Club held at the George Hotel at 7.30 pm on 25th March 2001
Present: Ian Picken (Chairman), Tom Rennie (Treasurer), Rod Evans (Secretary), Committee Members David W Miller, D David Miller, Alan Smith, Stephen Brown, Michael and Shelagh Collins and 11 other Members.
Apologies were received from Brian Jimack and Jane Morgan.
The Minutes of the 2000 AGM were summarised by the Secretary and signed by the Chairman. There were no matters arising from them.
Ian began his report by talking of what we had learned from our first full season (1999-2000), and of consolidating without being conservative in the year since then: there had been a good number of challenging and foreign language films among the 24 non-Festival films shown. The size of audience was less important than showing quality films and breaking even financially. The latter had been achieved by slashing staffing costs to near zero, with Tom and Michael projecting without charge.
The Second Keswick Film Festival had been a repeat success, in similar format but with fewer clashes of film timings, and attendance higher than last year at approx. 1000. Feedback had been very positive. Relations with the Theatre were cordial, with mutual satisfaction over the Festival, press releases and the Film in Keswick leaflet, which had gone out to 26,000 addresses. Co-operation would continue, with the dates for 2002 already pencilled in and consultation already taking place over the educational events of the Festival, in the week leading up to 15-17 Feb 2002. The Theatre's own films in that week were expected to tie in with our plans. There had been good coverage in the local press and on Border TV thanks to Eric Wallace who opened the event.
Ian then turned to some other encouraging matters: the BFFS 'Best Programme' award sat very nicely with last year's 'Best New Film Society', membership was at a healthy 151, and the Club had attained charitable status (thanks going to Rod and Tom). Committee members had attended both this season's BFFS Viewing Sessions, and had gone to various training courses and conferences on running film festivals, organising educational events, finding funding, and marketing.
Looking to the year ahead, the Chairman hoped for an improved festival, another good season of world cinema, a clearer, even more effective Film in Keswick brochure, and continued good relations with the Theatre by the Lake.
Figures prepared by Tom Rennie were examined, and updated at the last minute by the arrival of the Theatre's payment of the Club's share of ticket sales: after deduction of their staff costs, 10% commission and 'hire' of the Theatre, just over '1500 more was to be added to income. Although there were three films still to be shown this season, and a number of bills to be paid, there was a healthy situation in both Festival and season's activities, largely thanks to grants obtained to ensure the Festival's financial success.
Reappointment of Trustees
The Secretary explained the Articles of Association (advised by Companies House and approved by the Charity Commissioners) which the Club had adopted to attain charitable status. These ruled that all Trustees should resign at the first AGM after incorporation. Tom Nixon proposed and Paul Buttle seconded the motion that all should be reappointed en bloc: carried nem con.
On discussion of the advantages of charitable status (largely VAT relief on advertising, and enhanced prestige in the public's esteem) a member familiar with the ways of the National Trust advised that we could reclaim a portion of subscriptions paid to the Club by taxpayers. This would be investigated.
All present members of the Committee were willing to stand again, and the Chairman was pleased to hear that, in addition, Anne Key was keen to join the group. Any other prospective Committee-persons should mention their interest to Ian.
Having talked about plans for the future in his report, the Chairman invited questions from members about those, or indeed about the past season.
Questions dealt with included:
- the choice of the Easter Sunday film;
- the need or otherwise of major themes for the Festival;
- the need or otherwise to keep a significant contrast between Festival films at the Alhambra and the Theatre;
- were members taking full advantage of the website (www.beam.to/keswickfilmclub, for services to which Stephen was thanked, as was Rod for the email loop);
- was it possible to arrange more help over projection at the Alhambra; (answer: Tom was happy to enlist the support of Alan Smith and Anne Key, but warned that Graves (Cumberland) Ltd (cinema owners) may require some presence of their employees at all times);
- were we watching the deadline for Theatre mailshots;
- why no KAOS representation at Topsy Turvy;
- did we now have the experience to select the films that were going to appeal to the majority of Club members.
This last question gave rise to some debate: answers given included such points as:
- 'it is the quality of film presented that is important, not its crowd-pleasing nature',
- 'it is important to avoid any form of censorship if possible',
- 'the selection group takes account of all kinds of information - reviews, reports, internet databases, recommendations from members and experts',
- 'we've just won the 'Best Programme award from the BFFS',
- 'see the page on our website that invites and lists film ideas for next season',
- 'not all films are available - print condition and screening rights often rule out older films'.
There appeared to be a general consensus that film selection was proceeding in an appropriate direction.
This wound up business for the evening and the meeting closed at 8.50 pm.
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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.
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