Moviola > About us
General Manager - Christina Walkley Programme Director - Phillip Walkley
(Pic: Brian Moody - courtesy of Country Life magazine)
With around 80 of our own screens operating every month, and more than 130 Associates, Moviola is one of the largest rural film schemes in Europe.
Our rural cinema service is made up of three elements:
As you navigate this site, find out about our spring season. Better still, come and experience a Moviola show for yourself.
Moviola brings the movies to you rather than make you search out the movies
Moviola has been showing films in a rural setting since 2001. The first three years of our work might be regarded as a ‘pilot’ period with the organisation finally being incorporated as ‘Dorset Film Touring’ on 24 February 2004 with the Company Number 5053960. ‘Dorset Film Touring’ was registered as United Kingdom Charity 1107649 on 17 January 2005.
In summer 2009, the Company and Charity officially adopted the name ‘Moviola’ in order to reflect the growth in the UK-wide work and reputation of the organisation.
The Company and Charity share the same formal Objects:
“promoting, maintaining, improving and advancing education within the community at large and particularly in the rural areas of the United Kingdom by the promotion and performance of cinematography and films of all genres and including the provision of consultancy services in the performance of film to other individuals and organisations in the United Kingdom”.
The organisation’s Registered Office is
Spring Cottage, Queen Street, Yetminster, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 6LL
Telephone: 01935 (00441935) 872607
If you would like to find out more about Moviola’s organisation, please click on any of the Links below:
How we work and what we stand for
Moviola is one of the largest rural cinema operations in the United Kingdom. We bring to the task well over ten years of experience, built up in the best way - by simply going out and doing it. Mindful always that we have to cover our costs, that we are reliant (just like the commercial cinema) on a supply of popular films, and that we must give the public a service that delights them, we have been successful in establishing a business that continues to grow.
Moviola operates a unique Partnership model which shapes and influences our day to day operation. In each of our (currently 80) rural communities we have a Partner Group which chooses films and dates, books and prepares the venue, organises local publicity and sells tickets. The Partners also manage the show, which means they decide on the sort of show they want: What time should it start? Would they like a supporting programme? How long should the interval be? Meanwhile the central Moviola team books the films, maintains links with film distributors, provides marketing materials and tickets and, most importantly, all the equipment and the Presenter for the show.
Moviola has become an integral part of the life of each community it visits. Whilst we have to work with a variety of halls of different sizes, ages and acoustics, we are always looking for ways to improve the service and we are more often complimented than criticised. People see Moviola as good value and fun and they come back again and again. The spread of the service has been ‘viral’ – by word of mouth from one village to the next. We have never advertised our services and we do not go anywhere to which we have not been invited.
The exponential growth in Moviola since 2001 illustrates the success of the model. In 2001-2 we put on 52 shows and had a total attendance of 2528. Within 3 years both these numbers had more than quadrupled and by 2008-9 we had settled into our current figure of over 700 shows per year, and an average annual attendance of around 45,000.
This success is due to the hard work of Partners and core staff but is also down to the high standards of technical presentation and the showmanship we try to build in to every show. We play appropriate music before the start of the show. Most features are accompanied by a programme of short films and trailers to allow an interval where audience interaction (and also all-important refreshment sales) can take place. The picture is big and clear and perfectly positioned on-screen. The sound is as good as we can make it and not too loud.
We do not believe in equipping individual halls with kit which may languish most of the time unused and be out of date within a few years. We are committed to the touring model and so our equipment is used intensively across a number of venues and regularly updated - most recently we have upgraded to BluRay high definition disks wherever possible. We use the largest screen that will fit into the hall. Our fully trained Presenters are not just expert projectionists, they are also happy to introduce the film and are on hand for feedback from the audience, most particularly at the end of the show when they say goodnight to everyone.
Village halls and other venues vary in standards of comfort and cannot, of course, compete with the luxury of the newest multiplexes. Where we score is on the quality of presentation and welcome, on the added value of the supporting programme, and on the reasonably priced and good quality refreshments with, in many venues, a licensed bar. Customers can buy their tickets in advance and regard our ticket price as a bargain compared to having to make a long journey to a highly priced urban cinema. The ‘green’ aspect of enjoying films locally is also not lost on our audiences, nor the fact that our customers are enthusiastic, attentive and appreciative – not for us films spoilt by mobile phones and noisy behaviour.
Moviola shows are a real community activity. Although our main interest is in making films accessible for all ages in the countryside, we are also pleased by the contribution the scheme is making to rural regeneration: a monthly opportunity for the whole community to come together. There is evidence of economic benefit beyond the hall, from the fact that the village pub is fuller on show nights right through to the increased throughput in Post Office and village shop by people coming in to buy tickets. The cinema ‘spend’ stays in the village rather than leaching out to the big towns. Most directly Partners retain 25% of ticket sales for their own community use – in the last financial year, Moviola returned nearly £47,000 to Partner communities.
Moviola aims for self-sufficiency and sustainability. We agree a minimum ticket price with Partners (currently £5) and do not offer any concessions. This is because money from ticket sales is our main source of income. We are aware that public funding will be under severe pressure for many years to come and any trading model which is not reliant upon our own efforts is unlikely to succeed. (See also the section on Funding).
We know that there are many people elsewhere in the UK who would like better access to cinema. We have to restrict ourselves to running regular shows only in our five ‘home’ counties of Dorset, Devon, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. But outside our area, we freely provide advice about setting up a cinema, searching for films and (when we can) pointing enquirers towards groups active in a particular area. More directly we offer an ‘Associate’ scheme whereby individual halls or groups can share our programming expertise and book their films through us. Click here to find out more.
In summary: We love films. We love showing them, we love creating the proper environment in which to appreciate them, and we love facilitating the shared audience experience. Being able to walk to your nearby hall to enjoy a quality cinema experience is something we would like to see happen all over the UK countryside.
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