Welcome to the blog! You can find out the latest musings, information and exciting news from Moviola HQ – right here!
An issue close to all our hearts here at Moviola HQ is mental health.
This week marks Dementia Action Week run by the Alzheimer’s Research UK – the UK’s leading dementia research charity – in a concerted effort to raise awareness for this debilitating condition which affects 850,000 people in the UK alone – 40,000 of whom are under the age of 65.
The video below is a funny and honest approach to how children (and many adults) perceive Alzheimer’s to manifest itself in individuals
Dementia can be scary, upsetting & disorientating, which makes going to see a film in a communal setting near-impossible. Being in a dark room with loud noises and a lack of familiarity can be too much for individuals affected, often relying on a loved-one or carer to help with everyday life.
Recently, cinema has done its part to illustrate how dementia does not discriminate when it comes to age. In the 2015 film, STILL ALICE, Academy Award-Winning Actress Julianne Moore plays the titular role of a woman who begins to encounter the symptoms of early-onset dementia. With correct diagnosis, recognition by her loved ones and medical practitioners, she is able to navigate her way around her condition. The film provides a frank account of the symptoms, but also how those around her can alleviate some of the factors which makes the condition difficult to live with.
At Moviola we can provide support, guidance and materials for community cinemas to help involve those who find it difficult to enjoy the cinema in the way they have been accustomed to. We have several community venues within our network providing occasional dementia-friendly screenings, serving as a lifeline for dementia and other memory-loss sufferers.
More often than not, musical films such as Bohemian Rhapsody, The Commitments, The Blues Brothers or even classics like Summer Holiday can prove extremely effective to stir up a sense of nostalgia with those who have memory loss. Whether it’s a melody or even a chord that strikes with something deeply embedded in someone’s past, music in a film can transport people into positive states of mind.
Though it’s not just about the films themselves!
Dementia-friendly screenings have a few easy-win factors involved – such as bold signage, slightly-raised lights and lowered sound, so should someone feel at unease, they can feel less immersed & scared in a dark room. The fantastic website Inclusive Cinema has plenty of advice, statistics and information on how to run dementia-friendly screenings, alongside other types of specialist screenings which help bring communities together.
For more information about dementia-friendly screenings, please get in contact with Neil, our Communication & Diversity Officer who would be happy to help arrange or discuss them with you.
These can be found here.
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Dementia Action Week runs from 20th – 27th May and further information on how you can help or be supported can be found on their website or via their social media following the hashtag #AskUsAnything
With the sad news of Doris Day’s passing at the grand age of 97, here at Moviola HQ, we wanted to reflect on the joy she brought to millions of us through her acting and, of course, her singing! The indelible smile she wore on and off-screen only added to her evergreen appeal to audiences the world over.
Originally embarking on a singing career (as her parents were a music teacher and choirmaster), she tried her luck with a few song-and-dance numbers at the age of 15, before moving into B-Movie Westerns after being signed by Warner Bros. in the early 1930s. However, she didn’t land a starring role for almost 20 years until Romance on The High Seas (1948), after which her profile and Hollywood star soared.
Her major hit was the well-received Calamity Jane (1953) in which Doris’ Jane revelled in boisterous drinking, one-upmanship and boastful gunplay. Audiences became enamoured with the amiable character whose universal appeal and catchy songs bolstered Day’s fame even further.
She married a record producer, and keen to keep her singing ability honed, she released further records in the early 50’s – most memorable of which for many Brits was ‘Que Sera Sera’ – taken from the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). Day starred alongside James Stewart in this classic suspense tale of a married couple who encounter a strange traveller whilst on holiday in Morocco.
Most cinephiles will point to Pillow Talk (1959) as her masterwork, which garnered her sole Oscar nomination for Best Actress, alongside beau-of-the-day, Rock Hudson. A film flirt-a-thon involving a party-line (one supposes the modern equivalent would be voice-only Tinder!), where a chance real-life encounter converges their telephone fantasies and concedes their anonymity, all of which leads to a comedy of errors and many musical numbers!
In later life, Doris ditched the big screen and performed on TV (though she allegedly saw it as a necessary evil), and eventually channelled her boundless energy into her animal welfare charity. However, here at Moviola, we’ll always remember her permanent positivity as the classic ‘American Sweetheart’ whether she was crackin’ whips or seductively asking us ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’.
Alas, she leaves us but with her enduring voice and wonderous screen presence.
“I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile, and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.”
Doris Day 1922 – 2019
On Friday 8th February, we heard of the sad passing of Albert Finney.
Many of us at Moviola HQ have very fond memories of Albert’s roles (from the most unexpected periods) crossing entire generations.
Starting off treading the boards in the ’50s, his work led him to the big screen in the early ’60s and he soon found himself to be (inadvertently) part of the emerging ‘angry young men’ movement. Playing up his northern working-class roots, his breakout role in Woodfall’s gritty Saturday Night And Sunday Morning saw him become the poster boy for disaffected British youth – a tipping point in British attitudes of class divides and changing sensibilities. “I vividly recall seeing Saturday Night & Sunday Morning during the late ’90s. Despite the passage of time by that point, Albert’s commitment to Arthur Seaton’s caddish rogue was hugely impactful on me as a young man from a working-class background, as well” recalls Moviola’s Communication & Diversity Officer, Neil, of his first encounters with Finney’s work.
From his role as Arthur Seaton, Finney’s work went from strength to strength seeing him display his capable skills as a variety of iconic characters – sleuthing as Hercule Poirot in Murder On The Orient Express (1974) to the unforgettable choreography as Daddy Warbucks dancing alongside Aileen Quinn’s Annie in 1982.
General Manager, Christina, lamented “There goes a big piece of my youth!” as she recounted Moviola’s recent screenings of Finney’s work and her own generational encounters. Our network enjoyed seeing Finney as John Newton in Michael Apted’s well-received Amazing Grace (2006) as well as his more populist work as the gruff gamesman in Skyfall (2012). Both of which were hugely embraced by Moviola audiences, no more so for the familiar face of Finney, quietly doing exceptional work as part of ensemble casts.
His body of work will be remembered not only as the ‘angry young man’ who opened the doors for other young working-class actors such as Malcolm McDowell, but by younger generations who grew up on Finney’s gentler side as the comforting Uncle Silas or the giant fibber, Ed Bloom, in Tim Burton’s Big Fish.
As droll as ever, we’ll leave the last words up to the great man.
There’s a time when a man needs to fight, and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost, that the ship has sailed, and that only a fool would continue. The truth is, I’ve always been a fool.
Albert Finney Jr 1936 -2019
A little nudge to any associates and partners (or even anyone with a casual interest), just to let you know you can now sign up to the forums. The Forums were set up after consultation groups were run with fellow Moviola Exhibitors to find a better way to interact and share best practices & ideas. They are an informal way to interact with other exhibitors, projectionists, patrons and Moviola team members with the ability the gain knowledge from everyone who is on them.
Community & Diversity Officer, Neil, has started the conversations on our five boards (introductions, films, technical, publicity, general talk) to get the ball rolling and he awaits your sage-like wisdom!
Why not join the conversation and see how much you can learn and share?
You can join in by easily signing up here:
The Inclusive Cinema website was launched by the BFI supported Film Hub Wales this week. We think this is a fantastic piece of work that is worth its weight in gold for all Moviola Partner & Associate venues.
Inclusive Cinema is a resource to get your minds thinking about who comes to your venues… and who doesn’t.
Perhaps we can already read some of your minds… “it’s correctness gone mad!”, “my venue is happy to screen films with Judi Dench/Bill Nighy/etc – people come for them!”, “We like our cinema the way it is”.
This may very well be the case, and of course, your venues are yours to run the way you see fit, but inclusivity covers a spectrum of issues that affect many audiences.
Consider the scenario:
Sally has lived near your venue for the last two years. She once worked as a cinema manager but had a terrible accident on holiday before her retirement. She now uses a wheelchair and has developed early onset Alzheimer’s.
Her husband, Steven, is still in part-time work and has help once a week but cannot afford to pay £12 for both of them to attend the local screening, even as a rare treat. In addition, what little parking that is available, soon is swallowed up very quickly by the venue’s helpers and Steven didn’t see anyone approachable near the entrance to the doors to help them get the wheelchair in and out.
Steven knows that Sally perks up when she sees films – it’s in her lifeblood, and it triggers positive memories from her past. The last time they saw a film was last year at the multiplex – momentarily, everything appeared to have returned to normality. Sally starts conversations about the film and reminds Steven of when she used to kick people out for not having a ticket!
Steven would love to take Sally to the community venue to experience the big screen magic in a relaxed setting, but it just doesn’t seem possible.
An inclusive cinema is a space where everyone feels welcome.
A large part of the Moviola network is comprised of community venues who cater to older audiences, and if Sally’s venue had access to the relevant information, then maybe they could have put measures in place to reassure first-timers that they had facilities to help them enjoy what could be a positively life-changing experience for a couple. Of course, they’ll be back again and possibly with some friends.
Resources that are available on the Inclusive Cinema website are thoroughly researched and easy to access. Throughout September and October, venues across the country are taking part in World Alzheimer’sMonth – you can find further details here along with comprehensive notes and suggestions.
Next month we’ll take a dip into how we publicise our venues and films – with some best practices and how to save your ink cartridges (maybe).
If you have any particular subjects you would like to discuss on the noticeboard or would like to give us some feedback – drop Neil an email by clicking here.
We implore you to visit the Inclusive Cinema website – it is quite an experience to think about your venues and programmes and how you can continuously improve your offering.
The Moviola Newsletter went live this week and was sent to inboxes up and down the country.
We want to say thank you to everyone who connected with us through it, asked to join our forums and even sign up new members!
The support is greatly appreciated and we hope that you find the newsletter a helpful & entertaining tool to help you get the most out of your Moviola Screenings. Please spread the good word (and someone pleeeease post in the forums!). We are looking for any feedback, big or small – from either yourselves or your audiences. Photos, videos or even helpful tips for other venues – we want to hear it!
The newsletter is a brilliant way of establishing a wider community and sharing industry new, cinema experiences and support for all Moviola venues.
What do you mean you didn’t receive the amazing newsletter? All Partners and Associates should have received a copy – please email our Communication & Diversity Officer if you didn’t get it, as well as checking your spam and junk mail folder (unfortunately newsletters do end up in here, too).
The October Newsletter will be out in a few weeks and there will be some exciting news involving the new programme and something for all venues … yes, that includes you.
You won’t know what that is unless you subscribe. Go to our homepage and scroll down the side and you’ll see a familiar face who will allow you to sign up there.
In a regular feature, we want to let our Partners & Associates know a little bit more about titles we think you should be looking at for your Moviola venues.
These can be challenging films that are satisfying and can stimulate debate among your audiences. Known as Cinematheque films, these are titles which can draw out new audiences who have never been to your venue and create a wider community for you to screen your films.
This month we highlight Nora Twomey’s award-winning: THE BREADWINNER.
Leading critic for The Observer and BBC, Mark Kermode gave the film 5-stars, describing it as “further proof that we are living through a golden age of animation”.
Produced by Angelina Jolie, and based on the best-selling novel by Deborah Ellis, THE BREADWINNER is more than an animated story. It is a rich tale of the pressures put upon a 12-year old girl who takes drastic measures to ensure her family survives when her father, a local teacher, is left physically impaired by the after-effects of the Soviet-Afghan War.
A story steeped in equal measures of delight and distrust, following the travails of young Parvana, The Breadwinner often subverts pre-conceptions of life in war-torn countries. Her journey is fraught with the dangers of living under a brutal regime, and the contrasting creative imagination of a child recalling the stories passed onto us from our parents as a way of self-assurance.
It is a story which humanises and subverts our expectations, as we follow young Parvana suddenly thrust into the role of the titular ‘breadwinner’.
If you’re a member of a Moviola cinema, why not speak to your local organiser about a showing of this groundbreaking and Golden Globe-winning film.
Partners and Associates could consider this film as a way of introducing new audiences to your venue.
Animations can often be seen as solely appealing to young children, but The Breadwinner goes some way to turn this on its head. It is a drama interwoven with the innocence of a lost childhood. While it may be a little tough for very young audiences (hence the 12A rating), here at Moviola we genuinely feel it is a strong life-affirming family film which has universal appeal to our community venues. Perhaps you were considering opening your venue for half-term screenings where younger audiences would be more available to view this breathtaking feat in animated films.
Thanks to the British Film Institute, there is a generous discount available for screening this title, as with all of our Cinematheque films on the current programming menu.
If you would like to book this film or find out more about our Cinematheque titles, please contact our Programme Director Toby here.