Chairman's Report 2016
I think it is fair to say that our last year was one of big events: from the floods and bad weather of the winter, through Ann Martin's last festival as Director to Ian Payne's production of a book about the Alhambra. Overall, though, it hasn't been as successful a year as the last one for the club – our average attendance dropped from the high of 110 back to 90. Some of this was definitely down to the weather – many of us couldn't even get to Rheged due to the mud-slip across the A66 for instance, and the aftermath of the floods kept the audiences lower. Another major factor was the 'classic film seasons' we tried, which did not prove popular – our average would have been over 100 without them. As we also lost money on them we have decided not to run them again this year. Apart from that, I hope we didn’t do anything badly wrong to put you off; please let us know if we did.
Whilst I am talking about losing money, the committee felt forced to make the decision to raise prices from this season as we did lose £2600 last year. This is the first rise since 2011, and it is only 50p on all prices so we hope it doesn't put anyone off.
Ann Martin has been a mainstay of the club for many years, and ran the Festival for the last 10 years. Her decision to stand down was made for positive reasons, whilst obviously sad for all of us who worked with her and saw what a fantastic job she did; she wants to give the club the chance to freshen up the festival with new ideas. I must register my thanks and those of the club for everything she has done; brilliant! We have been lucky in that Ian Payne has agreed to take over as Festival Director from this year and has already begun organising. Good luck to him on keeping up Ann's standard and, hopefully, even exceeding it! What a great festival it will be if he can...
Of course that means we now have to find a new club secretary. Ian has been Secretary since, I think 2007 and, apart from doing all the jobs that fall to a secretary, has also been the 'moral backbone' of the committee: it always seems to have been Ian that reminds me about the roles of the trustees, or our legal obligations. On top of all that, he has even found time to write a book about the history of the Alhambra! So, again we will miss him in this role but feel very confident he will keep our festival a success. Thank you very much for all your work Ian.
With all this change going on, it is probably a good time to remind everyone that we always need fresh input; if you are interested in getting involved please do speak to me or anyone else on the committee and see what you can offer; your club needs you!
Back to the events of the club year, there are four I would like to mention. Coincident with us choosing a 'female directors thread' at the last festival, a new campaign has been set up countrywide to push the role of women in film. 'F- Rated' films – any films with a high involvement of women as director, writer or actor - are few and far between. We have added our weight to this campaign and I am pleased to note that eight of our films this season have the F-Rating.
I would also like to mention our main guest at the club – Terence Davies. It was great to see his film 'Sunset Song' was a success and I think anyone who came along will agree that he proved to be very interesting speaker; our thanks go to him.
Strictly under the guise of a grant for the festival, we have run a series of 'relaxed viewings' aimed mainly at those suffering from dementia, but open to all. These have not had large audiences but those that have come seem to have enjoyed them. Our last one is this week, but we are hoping to hand the baton on for these to the local WI.
Lastly, our "KFC on the Road" has had some success again this year, with both Wigton Theatre and Mungrisdale Village Hall holding several shows with our equipment; it is always rewarding getting films shown in places that wouldn't otherwise have them.
So to finish, I would like to thank all the committee for all their hard work; all those who helped behind the scenes both at the festival and the club and, last but not least, to all of you who keep coming week after week, without whom we would have no club at all. Thank you all; let’s hope we've picked the right films to keep you coming this year too!
Vaughan Ames, Chairman
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