Welcome to the blog! You can find out the latest musings, information and exciting news from Moviola HQ – right here!
You are cordially invited to join Moviola’s Community Cinema Champions seminars this week.
‘What are they?’, we hear you cry!
This week, from Monday 8th – Friday 12th February 2021, we are inviting Moviola venue organisers and community cinemas across the country to five sessions to share ideas and upskill yourselves to help your community cinema.
We’ll be dealing with showmanship, rural communities, specialist screenings, young audiences, low-income families and new technology – all through focussed sessions run through Zoom at 7pm every night.
We hope that a combination of the sessions will help prepare you for community cinemas re-opening, giving confidence to your audiences (new and old) to return to the community spirit that film nights can provide.
Each session will last 30-45 mins with our host and special guest, with an opportunity to ask questions at the end. And the best thing…. THEY’RE FREE!
If you are a community cinema worker or organiser, you can join us.
We’ll send you a link to the session at around 3pm on each day you sign up to.
The following post contains advice for community venues who are either planning future screenings or looking to restart their film nights afresh in the new year. As guidance is rapidly changing by area, we strongly suggest that you consult your local government website (England/Scotland/Wales) to view up-to-date information on legal requirements with regards to COVID-secure environments.
With the constantly shifting guidance issued by various local governments, many cinema chains have reduced their opening hours and closed their doors entirely. Coupled with a reduction in ‘new’ titles available to screen, many operators have been reduced to showing classics or aiming for younger audiences. Recent films, such as Christopher Nolan’s TENET, may have financially fared less favourably than during regular service, but there are still many films being screened in smaller venues across the UK – including Moviola venues – who are still open for your patrons to visit in a COVID-secure environment.
Here at mini-Moviola HQ, we’ve visited several cinemas over the last few months and have been assured by the measures in place to make audiences feel both welcome and safe. While we realise that this may not be the case for vulnerable people, there are still communities who are willing to visit cinemas to enjoy some big screen entertainment. Over the summer, a handful of our venues dipped their toes into the outdoor screening arena, with musicals such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Moulin Rouge screening at Capel – switching their usual venue for a pub garden and taking their audiences with them for some communal fun.
As the nights draw in, the opportunity is still there to do something different – and we would argue that with the closure of the usual haunts, a larger potential audience exists outside that of which community cinemas traditionally cater to. From the box office numbers, it seems that content which appeals to younger, and more adventurous, audiences have fared extremely well; Sarah Gavron (Suffragette) screened her latest teen-focussed ROCKS to wide audiences at the start of October, AFTER WE COLLIDED brought young romance to the masses (and is still doing decent business as we type), and British metaphysical horror, SAINT MAUD, is an astounding debut feature, taking a realist look at a carer with a dark past and a demanding patient.
So, should community cinemas suddenly shun their existing audiences in favour of programming solely adventurous and ‘out-there’ films?
Of course not, but the opportunity is there to mix up your offerings to capture some of the cinemagoers who have nowhere else to go, and it bears thinking that in this climate, audiences have changed for the future.
While loyal community cinema audiences may be staying in with a cup of tea, the onus is on venues, who are able to open safely, to concentrate their efforts in harnessing those members of the public who have never been to a community cinema – where in the past, a ‘build it and they will come’ attitude may have sufficed; it just won’t work at this moment in time.
Make no mistake, there’s a little effort involved (and as always, as part of Moviola, we are here to help you) to reach this new congregation through means that may seem daunting at first. If there’s one thing we’ve discovered about the current situation, it’s that everyone has had to adapt to advancing technology – whether you’re now ‘Zooming’ or using streaming services for the first time, many of us have been brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century with contactless payments and other novelties.
Perhaps your cinema could set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account or which you can link to other local groups to raise awareness of your screenings. Have you considered online ticketing? Could you purchase a card reader for your box office to reduce the contact with physical cash? Other means may involve a newsletter, paid advertising to entice ready audiences to your film nights. Another easy win may simply involve earlier screenings as we approach darker evenings, enabling your patrons to get home more easily.
Many of our venues are already taking the approach of a matinee/early evening screening as an addition to their usual timeslots – a measure that won’t cost any additional licence fees as long as the screening takes places on the same day as your other ones.
As a network dedicated to helping community cinemas screen films, we want to help you in any way we can. The last 9 months have been challenging for everyone, no more so than the frustration of changing guidance for pre-planned events.
Rest assured, we are here to clarify and point you in the direction of resources that can help keep your audiences engaged during this rugged time – if you require any assistance, please use our contact page to get in touch.
Here’s our round-up of film treats for this week:
Moviola venues are still open and showing films, so if there’s one in your vicinity and you’re able to attend a cinema, please do go out and support them. This season we have a selection of the best recent films and some classic which we think deserve the big screen treatment.
Find your local Moviola screening here:
1. London Film Festival 2020 at Home
Due to the current climate, this year’s London Film Festival has been brought to homes across the UK. This weekend sees Francis Lee’s AMMONITE, starring Kate Winslet & Saoirse Ronan, comes to cinemas on Saturday night. You may never look at fossil hunters in period films the same way again! This BBC & National Lottery Funded film is scheduled for release next year and we hope to bring this to our network.
2. BBC iPlayer
If you’re not feeling up to a cinema visit at the moment – not to worry – there’s plenty of viewing available through streaming services at home.
BBC iPlayer has an excellent selection of new and old films available to watch at your leisure. Our picks: previously shown film by Amma Asante, A UNITED KINGDOM, starring Rosamund Pike & David Oyelowo, is a remarkable true story of love against the odds; if you’re up for a classic then CITIZEN KANE is the Citizen Kane of classics, and for the slightly more adventurous, how about some haphazard fun with Terry Gilliam’s TWELVE MONKEYS?
All available to watch for FREE here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/categories/films/a-z?page=1
Netflix has plenty to offer as well, including last season’s well-received British story about ‘farming’ children THE LAST TREE. Another slice of home-grown realism comes in the form of ROCKS, recently screened in cinemas, dealing with a young woman’s joyous life with her friends and the crushing reality of her home life, with a superb cast of new faces and astoundingly natural performances. And finally, the latest acquisition by Netflix, THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, starring Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron-Cohen and Mark Strong, comes to the platform with a true story of criminal injustice penned by legendary writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing).
4. Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime subscribers can also get involved with more Sacha Baron-Cohen content. The original (and wildly hilarious) BORAT should tickle your funny-bone as he investigates the USA to ‘make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan’, before the sequel arrives next weekend in advance of US election night.
Speaking of elections, THE PERFECT CANDIDATE makes for more serious viewing, as a young Saudi doctor runs for office in her local elections, along with the repercussions of a woman taking up the mantle in a male-dominant regime.
If escapism is more your vibe, then QUEEN & SLIM updates the Bonnie & Clyde/ Sugarland Express formula. Two great young British actors, Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, lead this Tinder-date-gone-wrong with plenty to keep you on your toes. For musical fans, we can think of many classics but how about something under the radar? Step forward Lars Von Trier’s DANCER IN THE DARK, featuring musician Bjork in a captivating folly of chasing dreams as a free-spirited young woman who dances and sings her way into vivid reveries. It also stars a stern Catherine Deneuve!
Moviola hereby gives notice that our 2020 AGM will be held on 19th November at 10am
Due to the current climate, we anticipate that this may not be a physical meeting. However, should any interested parties wish to participate – please register your intent with Neil via the contact page with ‘AGM 2020’ in your email subject header.
Full details of how to take part will be sent nearer the date of the meeting.
In solidarity with the black community, Moviola would like to express its support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement through non-violent and legal protest as a means of dismantling systematic and structural racism.
As an organisation within the arts, we are aware of under-representation and the lack of opportunities for people of black origin within the sector, whether this is projected on a screen or in organisations.
Moviola’s Communication & Diversity project is ongoing, including having a full-time officer appointed to tackling diversity, and they will investigate further how we can improve representation within the community cinema sector.
We have worked to ensure that black voices are amplified, as well as a wider range of marginalised groups, by including films which will stimulate conversations, debate and reflection. Titles that have recently been included in Moviola’s menu, which champion black filmmakers, include Kasi Lemmons Harriet, Shola Amoo’s The Last Tree and Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk.
Within our small team, we represent a range of diverse people, who all contribute toward inclusivity through pro-active advocacy with our customers, and by raising awareness of groups who may not feel that their experiences are fairly represented.
We recognise that this is a difficult time for the black community.
We acknowledge that there is always scope to improve ourselves by building our relationships with black audiences and collaborators in the future to ensure that this momentum of change is not lost.
This link to useful organisations contains information on how you can become an ally to the cause should you wish.
We understand that we will never truly understand, but we are learning and will do better.
We encourage others to do the same.
Welcome to Week 6 of #MoviolaTogether!
After a well-earned rest, this week’s voting has decreed that Jersey-based mystery BEAST is our film of the week!
You can find it here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/beast
Last month’s film was the tough Brit-flick SEXY BEAST – which saw ex-pat gangster, Ray Winstone come back for one last job, and Sir Ben Kingsley use the English language in a manner that anyone who ever saw Gandhi would never have anticipated!
Helen B commented on Facebook:
“ Did watch this but it was a bit too violent for my taste but I did like the amusing twist at the end!.“
Edwina from Orkney on WhatsApp:
“Not a film I would have chosen- I am a wimp with any sniff of violence or even worse, the build up of tension preceding violence. I had a few behind the cushion moments and Gandhi and Lovejoy will never be the same for me…. However, it was an edge of the seat watch – great character parts from the above mentioned and some surreal scenes of cinematography. All in all a good watch, well acted and produced and a tension gripping story. “
Many Moviola venues are based in rural, small communities – oftentimes places where the village knows everyone’s business!
We hope this film appeals to those of you who know EXACTLY what we mean!
BEAST is the debut film by director Michael Pearce, starring two (then) relatively unknown faces, Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl/Wild Rose) and Johnny Flynn (Emma).
27 year old Moll is still living at home with her oppressive mother (Geraldine James on fine form!) on the island of Jersey. She is boxed in on all fronts but she’s far too timid to rebel against the constant comparisons made with her superficially successful sister, who is married and has a very comfortable life. After a birthday party goes awry, Moll goes out of control and crosses paths with the seemingly simple Pascal who shows her a way out, but at what cost?
We loved this film and to say much more will spoil the surprises that lurk under the surface.
The film was rated 15 by the BBFC.
To watch BEAST:
Channel 4’s ALL 4 service is available on all Smart TV’s, Sky boxes, Playstations, tablets and computers.
Or follow this link https://www.channel4.com/programmes/beast
We can’t wait to hear from you!
ADDED BONUS CONTENT:
Beast premiered at London Film Festival in 2017, with director, Michael Pearce, star Jessie Buckley and producer, Ivanna MacKinnon, talking at length with Kate Taylor about the process of making the film on the island of Jersey.
Click on the video pane or the link below to watch it.
This is a small update of what is going on from behind the scenes at Moviola HQ and some time-busting recommendations
Thank you to everyone who has been in contact with us to talk about the current challenges with your community cinemas (and checking in on us – we’re doing well – thank you!).
Last week, we sent out a small survey to our Partners and Associates to grasp a general idea of when your cinemas might be returning and what tasks may lie ahead to ensure your audiences return.
We are ever so grateful to everyone’s input which will shape how Moviola can support our network of community cinemas going forward. Many of your concerns have been heeded and we will look into how we can aid the re-opening of your wonderful cinematic sanctuaries with gusto!
Some of you have mentioned the type of films and particular titles which you would like to see on the next season’s offering (many of them were already in our planned summer menu anyway). Whilst we might struggle to nudge the multiplexes out of the way to be first in line for the new James Bond film, we will be reviewing some titles to see where rights issues have changed over the intervening months to offer an exciting mix of crowd-pleasers, escapism and stunning film-making.
With these matters in mind, Neil is still in the office helping any cinema organisers who ping him an email or a WhatsApp. Don’t forget that you can drop him a line/call him, too (about absolutely anything) on the contacts page here.
Here’s some of Moviola & film-related ventures that he’s been up to:
I’m sure many of you are cautious as to what the future holds for cinema and indeed I am too. It’s the second thing on my mind after an emergency visit to the barber’s!
Whilst currently looking like the wild man of Borneo does help in keeping social-distance breakers at bay, I do also enjoy interacting with so many of you through phone calls or emails from Moviolans over the past few months. It’s the evergreen deep passion to keep community cinema alive which has kept the home-fires burning here at mini-Moviola HQ!
Last Friday, I had a good natter with a Wales venue about their new screen and, after nerding about various aspect ratios, I soon found some money-saving options – as well as discussing their current films and what they think the immediate future might hold.
Starting the #MoviolaTogether initiative was great fun and having rested the idea for a few weeks, I hope that Moviola audiences might find some interest in the idea once more. You can find out more by clicking Julie Walters or Michael Caine above!
Virtual film clubs have sprung up all over the place in the past few months, offering some comfort and replication of the community hall chin-wag which we’re all so accustomed to.
Between playing Zoom pub quizzes (which has netted a fair amount to local food banks), I have missed many of these film-a-longs, but I did finally join director, Carol Morley’s Friday Night Film Club.
Her choices and guests have offered insightful context for films usually off my radar – all of which have been made available for free to all.
Last Friday saw Jeanie Finlay’s SOUND IT OUT (2011) transport me back to the days when I would go fishing for vinyls and CDs in my local record shop.
I highly recommend her Friday Films and then scrolling through her feed to find reactions and information about the film to fill in the gaps – they’re often fascinating.
As a devoted film fan, I have been pulling out some forgotten classics (and ashamedly, some unwatched films) from my library during lock-down. It has given me pause for thought to explore more about cultures I’m less familiar with, than those that I am. From the very relatable laddish behaviour of the men from the small village in Fellini’s I VITELLONI (1953), to the polite bitterness of an arranged marriage falling apart in the Japanese film THE FLAVOUR OF GREEN TEA OVER RICE (1952) (part of the BFI’s new Japan season). Despite now being on a no-carb lockdown diet, I have tried a small amount on the weekend and can confirm that it is delicious – whether or not it has the power to ameliorate broken relationships is yet to be tested!
Without being overly political, the world’s events in the past week have also touched a raw nerve – and the usual way I cope with any of these sorts of events is normally through the guise of something I understand, and that tends to be the lens of film
While all my colleagues at Moviola will stand by me in asserting that prejudicial behaviour is not tolerated in any form – I’m conversely encouraged by the type of films which Moviola does offer for those audiences who wish to have those more difficult conversations and are willing to confront subjects in a similar manner to myself. (Pic to left is THE LAST TREE offered by Moviola last season).
I’m incredibly proud to see titles which reflect all walks of British life in Moviola’s menus, and with that spirit in mind – here are some of my recommendations that you can research further (and hopefully watch) which I think are DEFINITELY worth your time.
LUCE – based on a stage play, the story of the same name with rising star Kelvin Harrison Jr as a boy who is adopted by a white American family who then have doubts about his intentions as an adult.
Available to rent from £3.49 on Google Play, Amazon and YouTube.
LA HAINE – Matthieu Kassovitz’s 1995 ground-breaking French drama of bored youths from all backgrounds in the rundown French banlieues. It’s an exciting film that shook up the French establishment, and some may argue nothing has changed in the past 25 years, but it gave visibility to young people in France who found themselves in a rigged game, determined to keep them in their place.
Currently available on Sky Store, Rakuten TV and the Microsoft Store.
THE 13th – From director Ava DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle In Time), comes this powerful and balanced documentary which seeks to inform the viewer through each presidential reign about the 13th amendment – a law formed in 1865 which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for conviction of a crime. A damning (and surprisingly balanced) exploration of how this law has been manipulated over the ages.
Available through Netflix only.
And that’s the lot!
I will save my forays into cross-stitching for another day.
I wish you all the very best – stay safe and do drop a line to me or call if you ever want a chat about your cinemas or films. I’m available Mon-Fri during office hours and will always get back to you!”
#MoviolaTogether is a virtual opportunity to share and talk about films in the way we would all enjoy them at our local community cinema. We offer a selection of films to choose from, we then watch the winning film over a week and share our (good, bad indifferent) thoughts on the film through Moviola’s social media channels.
Week 5 saw Moviola audiences vote for the unlikely winner of Jonathan Glazer’s ex-pat gangster flick – Sexy Beast (2000)
We’ll be posting a summary of selected thoughts when we announce this week’s film on Friday afternoon from our Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp group.
We are choosing films that are readily available for free through YouTube, BBC iPlayer, All4 and other free platforms so that there is no expense for anyone who wishes to watch along.
This might mean that the film isn’t fresh out of the cinemas, but it also is a good opportunity to catch up with something that you may have missed over the last few years.
For June’s first week, we are picking eight films that we think will make you engage and explore the richness of cinema from the UK and further ashore. The voting form is at the bottom of the page.
Of course, there is nothing preventing you from watching them all – we think they’re all fantastic!
The shortlist is as follows
Michael Caine’s alcoholic mentor tries to school Julie Walters in the arts, but will he learn a thing or two about himself? Caine and Walters both won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for best actor and actress. The British Film Institute ranked Educating Rita the 84th greatest British film of the 20th century.
Set in 1970’s Belfast, can one man’s voice bring back the vibrant music scene to the city once more against the ongoing Troubles plaguing the country. With a jukebox soundtrack of rock and punk music, this exciting film showcases the talents of Dylan Moran, Jodie Whittaker and Richard Dormer.
Starring Jessie Buckley – a face many of you will now be familiar with from Chernobyl and Moviola favourite, Wild Rose – this film tackles a mystery in a small village on the island of Jersey, with two local young people caught up in the middle. With surprises and twists at every turn, Johnny Flynn (recently seen in 2020’s Emma) charms as a rogue local lad who whisks a young disillusioned lady off her feet.
A vibrant troupe starring the best of British, Sally Hawkins (Paddington, The Shape Of Water) shaking up the motor factory in which they work for better working conditions and pay. A cheerful and defiant stand for rights with a firm tongue in cheek and 1960s backdrop.
From stable of Merchant Ivory productions, this British classic made a household name of Helena Bonham-Carter as a young woman who falls for a free-spirited man in the beautiful countryside of Florence.
You could describe this one as a nightmare version of Disney’s 101 Dalmations – a young girl’s love for her pet dog and his journey from abduction back to his rightful owner – often lenses through the eyes of our intrepid pooch. Certainly a film that will stay with dog-lovers for many years!
Based on the play Deadlock by Leslie Sands, Bette Davis plays a mystery writer whose fictions become reality when her long lost husband returns from the dead, upsetting her plans to continue her affair with his secretary’s fiance.
The incredible documentary on the real-life abduction of an American child in France. Three years later, the boy reappears in Spain and is taken back into the family with loving arms. The bizarre thing that anyone outside of the fold notices is that the boy now looks like an adult, has different eyes and even sports a new hair colour.
Voting closes on Friday 5th June at 2pm so make your choice at a click of a button below
(Results will be revealed on Friday Evening)
- BEAST (2017) 45%, 5 votes5 votes 45%5 votes - 45% of all votes
- A ROOM WITH A VIEW (1985) 18%, 2 votes2 votes 18%2 votes - 18% of all votes
- WHITE GOD (2015) 9%, 1 vote1 vote 9%1 vote - 9% of all votes
- MADE IN DAGENHAM (2010) 9%, 1 vote1 vote 9%1 vote - 9% of all votes
- ANOTHER MAN'S POISON (1951) 9%, 1 vote1 vote 9%1 vote - 9% of all votes
- GOOD VIBRATIONS (2013) 9%, 1 vote1 vote 9%1 vote - 9% of all votes
- EDUCATING RITA (1983) 0%, 0 votes0 votes0 votes - 0% of all votes
- THE IMPOSTER (2012) 0%, 0 votes0 votes0 votes - 0% of all votes
Welcome to Week 5 of #MoviolaTogether!
This week’s voting has turned up a surprise in SEXY BEAST (2000) as our film of the week!
You can find it here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/sexy-beast
Last week’s film was THE TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT – the charming Ealing Studios film about a rebellious community coming together to save their beloved trainline from a bus replacement service (and don’t we all hate those?).
Helen B commented on Facebook:
“ We really enjoyed this film and loved the fact it was so unsophisticated!
I have also just found out that we can still watch and catch up with the other films on the choices lists which is great.
Thank you and well done Moviola team!.“
Edwina from Orkney on WhatsApp:
“Well, a bit of whimsey and of its time! Also wonderful to see the old cars, steam rollers and steam trains- evocative of that era. Love that everyone was so smartly dressed even when running down the hill for water! Not a tracksuit or builders bum in sight… Glad to see it though and enjoyed the implausibility of it all! “
SEXY BEAST has an unfortunate title that might put you off – but then again, many of the best films do (lest us forget films like Hideous Kinky or The Reader).
This is a tough, but darkly comic film about a retired British gangster sunning himself on the Costa when an old face entices him to come back into the fold to do one last job.
Starring Ray Winstone, Amanda Redman & Sir Ben Kingsley – it features the crème de la crème of British actors at the turn of the millennium, and we think its captures the post-yuppie ex-pat era incredibly well – with its tongue firmly in its cheek. Whilst many people will know gritty Ray from adverts encouraging us to bet in between half-time breaks during football matches, some of you may be shocked to see Sir Ben deliver lines of dialogue that would make even our own mother blush. The director, Jonathan Glazer, has gone on to make a handful of films since including one of our favourites of the 21st Century Under The Skin.
To watch SEXY BEAST:
Channel 4’s ALL 4 service is available on all Smart TV’s, Sky boxes, Playstations, tablets and computers.
Or follow this link
We can’t wait to hear from you!
ADDED BONUS CONTENT:
The director Jonathan Glazer seldom makes films, and since 2013, cinema fans have been awaiting his next instalment. You can see a strangely compelling short film – THE FALL – he made last year and quietly sneaked onto the BBC iPlayer here.
If you’re stuck for some homegrown entertainment, we’ve been contacted by Ben Hartshorn about a lovely free screening event taking place on Friday 8th May 2020, via Youtube. The project was funded by The National Lottery’s Heritage Fund, enabling filmmakers to create films in their local area – in this case, Crewkerne in Somerset.
“Back in 2005, I managed a project at Crewkerne Museum that gave young people in the town the opportunity to make films about their local heritage and culture.
The outcome of this was 5 shorts films that together became ‘Our Home Town’, a DVD that won top prize in the Young People category of Heritage Heroes 2006, organised by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
HLF said at the time –
This project is both inter-generational and empowering; it shows young people taking control, steering and enjoying their project and taking an interest in their surroundings, the place where they live, their home town. To quote one of the young people ‘it made a boring place interesting’.
Now, 15 years later, I’ve finally put them on Crewkerne Museum’s YouTube channel and we’re showing them online for the first time, starting at 7.30pm on Friday 8 May.
I’d like to invite you to grab a bag of popcorn and join us!”
You can join the stream 7:30pm Friday 8th May by clicking the link here: