Chairman's Report 2010
My report for the Club year 2009-10 has a remarkably similar message to last year's, in terms of stability of our situation, activities undertaken, response of membership and thanks to those who have kept the ship afloat.
Membership has risen a little, from 277 to 294, average audience size has risen a little, from 109 in 2008-9 to 111 in 2009-10 so far , and Treasurer Tom will tell you in a moment how the finances look, but I don't see him going about these days with furrowed brow.
The Festival too was very similar in terms of attendance (down a fraction) and income from ticket sales (up a fraction), although without so much chasing of sponsorship this time, income overall will be down somewhat. However feedback from our 'customers' was very positive - they found the programme gave more choice (40 films instead of 30) and the slogan 'the Friendly Festival' was certainly warranted. It was evident at the Festival how many loyal members we now have who are very willing to support the enterprise and who are getting to know each other quite well through their whole-hearted commitment to the Club. Compared to other festivals they enjoy a good return when buying a pass: at least one member informed me that he had seen 15 films for his £28 investment. How long can we go on being so generous? There were one or two films that disappointed, inevitably, but the great majority offered something new, challenging or entertaining.
My point about the friendliness of the Club, displayed at the Festival was illustrated too by another enjoyable dinner at the George on the last Sunday before Christmas. The atmosphere is warming annually - but you must let the committee know if you think it is time for a change of format.
The Sunday films too have generally been very well received: the popular vote is not the 'be-all and end-all', of course, but it was good to see such rarities as Everlasting Moments, Cherry Blossoms, Katyn and Barry Lyndon attracting very high scores. David's idea of inviting a visiting director for the weekend was successful too - Ken Russell himself was entertaining in conversation with Derek Malcolm, and two of his films were highly thought of, even if The Devils did not seem to appeal to Keswick very much. They perhaps prefer our foreign films: 18 of the 30 Sunday screenings have been subtitled and rarely do we hear any criticism of that these days. Thinking again of the cost benefit, we still appear to be inflation-proof, managing quite adequately on the same ticket prices and subscription charge as we started out with 12 years ago.
'KFC on the Road' continues to be a service we offer to the local communities, but only Mungrisdale this year has found the cost of licences affordable for the size of audience that village halls can muster. Protests to the distributors have fallen on deaf ears. Our warmest thanks go to Steve Allen both for giving up his evenings to undertake the trips out to Mungrisdale and also for his stint as Secretary on Club and Festival committees.
To return to the original point of this report being very similar to last year's, my desire and duty to offer thanks to everyone who has contributed will not surprise you. The others will forgive me for singling out Ann, whose energy and enthusiasm go on undiminished, and we are delighted to hear that she is willing to take on KFF12. Without going into long-winded detail about the roles of those who have been so generous with their time, doing as much or even more than last year - I hope you all know by now what they do - Tom, David and Stephen have played a blinder again, Mike, Ian, Elspeth, Deborah, Anita and Angela have performed their committee duties, great or small, with enthusiasm and charm, and the heroes who help our cause unselfishly and unattached committee-wise, Robert on projection, John Stakes for his reviews and John Walker on short films, Vaughan, Anne and Reg, and Ian Hinde at the Festival: we thank them all and consider ourselves most fortunate to be able to depend on such willing and competent volunteers.
And finally, thank you, all you members, for turning out in all weathers to watch the films we put before you, with hardly a murmur of complaint. The Club would soon unravel without you - a fact you doubtless bear in mind when the decision to come to the Alhambra is a tough one.
It has been a good year.
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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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