Chairman's Report 2011
As a retiring chairman, it is a great pleasure to report that the ship is not sinking and that in the year ahead it is going to be in the capable hands of an experienced crew led by an engaging and energetic captain.
The Club still enjoys financial stability, as you will hear from Treasurer Tom in a few moments, the committee has pulled together in very shipshape fashion over the last year, and the members appear to be largely content with the experience we have offered - excepting, at times, the occasional forays into more experimental cinema that a self-respecting film club owes its very wide spectrum of membership.
At present we have 286 members, which is just 8 fewer than last year, but, encouragingly, there do seem to be some younger people coming along to replenish the ranks. The Sunday shows have been going well, with such popular titles as The Secret in their Eyes, The Concert, Lebanon and last week's The Wildest Dream swelling numbers - and there have been less popular but still worthy films (as the programmers would argue) such as The Headless Woman, Uncle Boonmee and On Tour doing their bit for variety or more challenging fare; and the experiments of the L'Enfer weekend and Rheged's Imax experience seem eminently repeatable. Up to last Sunday, the average attendance for this year from September has risen to 113 - from last year's 110. Looking ahead, there seems no reason why the Club's weekly shows should not continue on their happy way, as long as the Alhambra remains afloat - which appears to be guaranteed for one more year at least - although the 12 years of no increase in ticket prices and subscriptions have to bow at last to inflationary pressure.
The Festival too was up a little in terms of attendance and up considerably in viability, thanks largely to a more realistic pricing structure and Ann's success in finding funding and her elimination of unnecessary costs. The feedback was again extremely positive, although criticisms - notably of projection shortcomings - have been taken on board. The whole committee and volunteers are to be thanked and congratulated for their commitment and enthusiasm yet again - they are almost all the same sterling characters as mentioned last year - and we are delighted that Ann enjoyed it sufficiently to continue in her role in 2012. I am sure that the rest of the workers will not mind me mentioning individually David for his programming and guest-wrangling, and Tom for managing his arduous film-handling tasks so serenely. There is an awful lot more to be said about the Festival of course, but time is short and most of you here experienced it yourselves so you need no further commentary on an extraordinarily worthwhile endeavour.
I have paid tribute to the committee en bloc, but there are four other individuals who continue to illuminate the work of the Club: "KFC on the Road" carries on trundling up the road to Mungrisdale and to the Roman Festival at Maryport in the summer, and Steve Allen deserves considerable thanks for helping to make that possible, as do Robert Royall for his projection and technical advice here and at Maryport, John Stakes for his thoughtful and enlightening reviews and John Walker for organising the short film programme, including some of his own oeuvre.
And finally, thank you, all you members, for continuing to make the Club's existence possible. For me, the friendliness and co-operation of the nearly 300 members is typified by the amicable atmosphere of our annual dinner at the George on the last Sunday before Christmas, and one always wonders whether we could and should do more to develop the social side, such as the occasion at Rheged. To a certain extent there may be an "if it ain't broke" element, but there is always room for new ideas.
After 5 years as Secretary and then 7 as Chairman, I am not disappearing for ever, but am happy to entrust the work to younger and more energetic hands; may the Club enjoy every success in the future.
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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.
Since then, the club has won Film Society Of The Year and awards for Best Programme four times and Best Website twice.
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