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Moviola Champions Seminars February 2021

Moviola Champions Seminars February 2021

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.

Sign Up Here

We’ll send you a link to the session at around 3pm on each day you sign up to.



Community Cinemas in challenging times: Where next?

Community Cinemas in challenging times: Where next?

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.


We stand with #BlackLivesMatter

We stand with #BlackLivesMatter

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.

Planning Ahead with Moviola

Planning Ahead with Moviola

As we write this, the future of community cinemas might seem like a speck on the horizon yet to come into focus. Details of government guidance for public gatherings may not have been issued as of yet, but that does not stop community cinema organisers taking stock of their current offerings and assessing how that may be impacted in the future. As part of our remit to support our community venues, Moviola wants each cinema to be as successful as possible, but does that mean keeping calm and carrying on? Could your regular audiences be affected? Are there other audiences within your local community who could be encouraged to visit your venue for a regular film fix?

We realise that almost every community venue knows what is best for their cinema, after all, many of you have been running them for several years. While there is some downtime in our scheduled screenings, Moviola is offering 1-2-1 consultations via email or telephone to discuss how your cinema and plan for the future. This may not be a fully realised plan due to announcements yet to be made, but we firmly believe we can help one another using successful examples of best practices and industry.

We also want to hear from all of our venues about their success stories (and failures)  – whether that was a new ticketing system, type of film or a different approach completely.


Our communication & diversity officer, Neil, is still at hand to give advice and help you start putting a framework in place. He will then work with you to flesh the details out as time progresses, with new legislation and ideas of how community cinemas can incorporate them into their current setups.

We will help you look at all aspects of your community cinema – whether that’s help with marketing (setting up social media groups or adverts), planning your types of programming to give a rich mix of films that will grow and sustain your audiences, or even basic advice on facilities and showmanship to add that sparkle to your screenings.

To book a session – simply fill out the form and we’ll get in contact with you in due course.

Book a 1-2-1 session here

Moviola is always at hand to help your cinema be the best it can be!

Is it time for Community Cinemas to go contactless?

Is it time for Community Cinemas to go contactless?

In a time when we are all being told to keep our distance, Moviola HQ is busy helping venues get ready to re-open with a series of useful articles to prepare for new challenges and changes.

Today we look at how easy and inexpensive it is to implement contactless payments for your venue. Many market traders and pop-up food stalls use them, so why not community cinemas?

As a nation, we’ve rapidly taken to contactless payments, whether that is through Apple Pay, bank cards or other phone-based facilities that aid us to tap away our disposable income on plastic card readers. Many rural and small communities still rely on cash as the primary form of currency, but is it time to implement a cash-less way to pay for our tickets and tuck?

As of 2017, there were 108.4m contactless cards issued in the UK, with £3,913.3m spent a month using contactless as a form of payment – proving its rising popularity for the ease of transaction in our daily lives. With limits now raised to £45 for many providers (the previous being £30), this upper bracket should prove sufficient for facilitating payments at community box offices and bars.

So, how do you go about it?

First things first, you’ll need an internet connection (which can be through a smartphone or wireless internet). This enables the banking systems to follow their protocols to ensure that money is taken and received by the correct accounts while employing anti-fraud measures to prevent improper use.

Next up, you’ll need a service provider who can supply the card reader and carry out the transaction. The readers vary in price but are usually around £60 for one. The card reader is then linked to the internet and your bank account via a smartphone. Many use an app that makes this part as easy as linking any Bluetooth device or laptop. 

If you are using a phone as your primary source of internet, you’ll need to have an OK signal for payments to be processed. Once linked, your reader is ready to go – you simply type in the amount you wish to charge on the keypad and tap the payment device or card.

For each transaction taken, the service provider will also take a small commission. This can be as little as 1.75% – so a £5 ticket would cost 3p to process. This tiny amount shouldn’t break the bank for most venues – for the commissions to total the price of a ticket, you would have to have 167 people through the door!

Three providers of this service appear to be the most popular:


Currently offering 50% off their reader for new sign-ups and able to process all major cards and phone payments.

For each transaction, 1.75% is taken and they will also deposit your cash into your chosen account within 1-2 working days. They offer free phone support and other perks in their software.


Currently offering 50% off their reader for new sign-ups and able to process all major cards and phone payments.

For each transaction, 1.75% is taken and they will also deposit your cash into your chosen account within 1-2 working days. They offer free phone support and other perks in their software.

PayPal UK

If you already use PayPal, then this integrated and trusted service may be of more use. It works in a similar manner to your PayPal account and can move money rapidly between the point of sale and accounts. Although slightly higher in transaction fees, its easy-to-use and familiar interfaces might be of benefit to integrate into your own current systems.

(* Moviola receives no fees or preferential perks for the products above)

There are many other providers who can facilitate the same functionality to bring your community venue into the 21st century with relative ease as your online banking or buying products/holidays on the internet. Each have their own advantages and drawbacks, dependent on your situation. We advise that you do some research before settling for the first one you see!

At Moviola HQ, we believe that patrons may become more cautious about handling objects outside their homes, especially those who are at the more vulnerable end of the spectrum. As community venues, it is paramount to provide a safe and comfortable environment for all, this also applies to the handling of (dirty!) cash.

Even if you do not believe that community venues will abandon notes and coins, it is a relatively inexpensive way to increase your revenues – perhaps Derek left his wallet at home, Doris only has £10 and they both want to purchase another glass of wine or slice of cake. This can make it much easier to allow your patrons to do exactly that and keep your coffers topped up for a quiet screening.

As community cinema organisers or volunteers yourselves, if contactless provides any repose, it will save you lugging a big bag of coins and notes to the bank after every screening!

Let us know your thoughts – do you think contactless is worth it? Will you be looking into adding a terminal?

7 Film Services Available to Stream from Home

7 Film Services Available to Stream from Home

As some of you may find that you’re in the house a lot more than you wish to be, we’ve come up with a list of services who are offering free films as well as trials. With each service, all you have to do is register and make sure you cancel during the final day (we normally set a calendar alarm). However, all services are incredible value for money and offer the versatility to watch films and specialised content wherever you may be.

We’ll be making recommendations for each service in the coming weeks

To access directly, click the name of the service in each title.

  1. BBC iPlayer

Free to sign up to for all licence-paying households

The BBC’s catch up service is well known throughout the UK, offering the ability to screen most films that have aired on the BBC’s services. Films have a limited time on the service for up to a month. They also feature many film programmes including Mark Kermode’s fascinating Secrets Of Cinema series and the 5-minute theory-based video essays Inside Cinema.

CLICK TO FIND OUT MORE: #MoviolaTogether starts with our first film on this service from 3rd April –


2. BFI Player

Free to sign up to and watch limited content. Free trial for 14 days. Rental and subscription service also available.

The British Film Institute’s online service is a hybrid of a free archive and short film footage, alongside Q&A’s with cast & crew at various screenings of films throughout the years.

We think Moviola audiences will find great comfort in their archives section which depict various walks of life through Britain throughout the ages and other rare digitised footage.

They also have a YouTube Channel which can be found here

This is one selection that put a smile on our faces in the office.

  1. All 4

Free to sign up to and watch. Content supported by advertisement.

Channel 4’s online service contains its television programming and also Film Four’s content for a limited time.

At the time of writing, these films include Suffragette, Charlotte Gray and Once Upon A Time in The Midlands.

The films contained are often those which have been made with funding by Film Four and cover independent, British films, as well as documentaries and world cinema.

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands - On Demand - All 4


  1. Netflix

Free to sign up to. Starts from £5.99 per month with no minimum term.

Most of you will be aware of Netflix which houses lots of content including British TV series, their own special shows and films starring big-name actors and also lots of contemporary movies that have also featured on Moviola’s selections throughout the years. It’s a versatile way to watch programming and you can watch on more than one device at once.

We’ll be picking some of our favourite films on the platform soon, but as a taster, this a documentary we thought was incredulous:

  1. MUBI

Currently offering three months free to all new sign-ups. £9.99 a month thereafter.

Here at Moviola, we adore MUBI.

If you’re more adventurous with your films – this one is for you.

It’s a platform which offers classic films alongside independent titles and also rarities, that have often been remastered for modern viewers. Every day a new film appears in a rolling 30-day format, giving you a month to see a film as soon as it is viewable. By having films drop off and on, this always keeps the content fresh and varied, with the idea that you can explore films from around the world.

It’s an inexpensive way to find hidden gems and tread new ground on your film-watching journey.

They also purchase films at various festivals around the world and have exclusive that you cannot find anywhere else.

The smash-hit film Portrait of A Lady On Fire joins the service from 24th April.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) – MUBI


  1. Amazon Prime Video

Free 30-day trial and £7.99 a month thereafter.

A large catalogue of films, tv shows and documentaries, with the option to rent titles that are not included in the subscription.

If you are already an Amazon Prime member for deliveries, then you should be eligible for Amazon Prime Video. The service contains a huge amount of films from every nook and cranny, including additional paid-for films that have recently been screening at the cinema. These include the latest adaptation of Emma and the crowd-pleasing Military Wives at premium prices.

Emma review: A perfect blend of Jane Austen's satire and romance - Vox

We’ll be posting more of our Amazon Prime choices soon.

7. Curzon Home Cinema

12 films a month for members, £55 annual subscription and other perks.

A cinema at home, as the title would suggest. Curzon screens more independent and arthouse hits from around the world for a one-off rental fee or included in the subscription format. Recently we’ve enjoyed Portrait of A Lady on Fire, The Truth and Knives Out. Prices are reasonable, and if you’re sharing between friends or family, it can work out cheaper than a ticket to see the film at the cinema.

Knives Out Fans Notice Awesome Detail In Christopher Plummer's ...


Is there any film service we missed? Perhaps your favourite one? Let us know and we’ll share them with our network.

5 Ways To Enjoy Community Cinema In Your Home

5 Ways To Enjoy Community Cinema In Your Home

Given the current circumstances that we all find ourselves in, motoring up the projector and dimming the lights in local community cinema is off the table for the meantime, but that does not mean that you can’t enjoy communal cinema experiences from your living rooms.

There are lots of ways to keep social and in contact with one another during these uncertain times. Here at Moviola, we realise the vital role that community cinema plays in rural and local areas, bringing people together to share experiences, whether that’s a large glass of wine, a heart-racing film or just checking in with each other to say hello. This doesn’t have to stop!

It is now more important than ever to keep social, especially with those who may feel isolated, vulnerable, or just plain scared.

Here are five ways that we hope you can use to stay entertained and escape the world for a moment or two.

1. #MoviolaTogether

We thought we could bring in some interaction between audiences in our community networks so that we can have a good virtual natter and watch a film together over the internet. Don’t worry – there’s no need for webcams and two hours of staring at our concentrating faces (a horror film in of itself!).

We’ll be sharing a film to watch once a week with an opportunity for all community audiences to participate in an online chit-chat using our webpages www.facebook.com/MoviolaUK or on Twitter.com/MoviolaUK and the hashtag #MoviolaTogether. You can also join our WhatsApp Group https://chat.whatsapp.com/EoFnaKWA1px1ssABvyxuUa

If you didn’t understand any of that – fear not. We welcome comments by email and we’ll be posting up some of your thoughts after each film- drop us a line at MoviolaComms@gmail.com

FRIDAY’S FILM IS HERE: https://www.moviola.org/moviolatogether-week-1/

2. Free Films!

There are lots of services available to stream films for free – BBC iPlayer and Film4 are some you may already have at your disposal.

YouTube have plenty of classic films available that you can watch legally, many of which have now fallen out of copyright. We’ll be sharing lots of links on the blog in the coming weeks – so keep your eyes peeled, but for now, here’s one of the office favourites, gratis!

HIS GIRL FRIDAY Directed by Howard Hawks

Starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, this farce of newspaper editors, one-upmanship and a sneaky scheme to stop marriage at all costs.

3. Free trials of streaming services

At the moment almost all major streaming networks are offering a free trial of sorts including Netflix*, Amazon Prime*, MUBI* and BFI Player*. We’ll tell you more about those services and how you can access them, in addition to our favourites on each service.

4. Support your local independent cinemas by renting films

Many films which were scheduled for release have now moved to streaming services at home – this includes the brilliant SYSTEM CRASHER – an empathetic look at the care system in Germany, centred around the charismatic (and nightmare-ish) Billi. We highly recommend this film – the lead actress has now gone on to making films with Tom Hanks after this title became a smash hit in her native country.

10% of all profits from the film will go to independent cinemas and support their ongoing work (most of whom are also charities and have had significant cuts to their funding).

The distributor is the small 606 Distribution based in Cornwall who had this pegged as their big film of the year before cinemas shut. Show them that can still be the case with your custom.

You can purchase this film here and pick the cinema you want to support:



5. Watch-a-long With Your Friends

There are many options available to audiences to watch along with their friends – the most popular service at the moment is ZOOM* – where you can all synchronise pressing ‘play’ together and chat along as you watch the film in the background.

Many of you are familiar with Skype*, which you can watch with up to 50 people.

If you all have a Netflix subscription and use Google Chrome to browse the internet then there’s Netflix Party*


Netflix Party

Here, all the synchronising is done for you and you can host long-distance film-watching parties to your heart’s content!

Keep checking back to our Moviola Noticeboard for new ideas, content and entertainment to keep you going over the next few weeks.

We always want to hear from you so don’t hesitate to contact us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WhatsApp

Stay safe, look after yourselves and each other.

The Moviola HQ Team

(*all third party services and downloads are provided in good faith, with links directly to the companies mentioned. Moviola does not profit from any of the links in this article.)

Where Next For Community Cinemas?

Where Next For Community Cinemas?

This article is aimed at organisers and volunteers at community cinemas.

We realise that this is a time of great uncertainty for all.

Community cinemas cater largely to audiences who are at the most vulnerable end of the spectrum. These spaces can sometimes be their only point of contact with people. For others, it is a space for escapism and positive engagement. When that is removed, it’s important that we do all we can to keep checking in and talking to our audiences.

If you haven’t already had a look at our #MoviolaTogether scheme or shared it with your audiences – please have a look here: #MoviolaTogether

As the landscape shifts on a daily basis, we are all unclear about how audiences will feel towards attending close-knit environments.

Here at Moviola, we want to let you know that we can help and support community venues in preparing to open your doors again.

As part of our network, we are offering complimentary 1-2-1 consultancies with our team member, Neil – who can help you talk about your situation pre-lockdown, and how you feel things may move forward. He may also suggest things that you may have not considered with regards to your films, marketing, facilities and technology, as well as other added benefits that could be easy wins to increase your audiences. Neil has worked in the film sector for over ten years, both at commercial and community level, as well as being a broadcaster and film writer.

If you wish to book in – it couldn’t be easier – fill in this form and we’ll take it from there.


(No salesman will call and there’s no obligation to buy!)

Alternatively, questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • How will I give confidence to my audience to come to film screenings again? Will there be other members of the community who I can be catering to as well?
  • Are my washroom facilities a cheap towel and a bar of soap? Is my soap sanitising?
  • How will my audience pay? Do I want to be handling cash, especially at food service areas?
  • Can we implement a contactless payment system or online booking?

We’ll be exploring these ideas in the coming weeks with a view to helping our community cinemas put an action plan together and be ready for almost every eventuality.

Stay in touch and check back on our noticeboard, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WhatsApp – where we’ll try to inform and entertain you on a daily basis.

The more you talk to us, the more we can help one another – there could be an issue that is affecting your cinema that another venue has solved.

For now, from everyone at Moviola, we hope you are all safe, healthy and well.

Please look out for one another and help those in need.


Statement from Moviola CEO regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) for Partner & Associate Venues

Please find below a truncated edition of our statement, of which a full version has been sent to all Partners & Associate venues. If you have not received this, please contact us directly.

Dear Moviola Partners & Associates,

I am sure you are currently being inundated with emails and messages, but as our partners in keeping Community Cinema alive in the UK, I think it´s important to keep you updated with our position here at Moviola.

As we expected, things are changing rapidly and the government has issued new guidelines regarding dealing with the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation.

The current season runs to the end of April this year.

Things are of course fluid and we will keep you apprised.

It is likely that we will carry the (excellent) summer menu shows through for the rest of the year but we must review that in light of any distribution changes. We will keep you informed.

During the “lean time” with regard to showing films, I would like to offer you the services of Neil, our Communication & Diversity Officer. He will be very happy to talk to you one-to-one (remotely by telephone or Skype of course!) about your concerns around marketing, audience numbers, sustainability etc. I have attached here a form to organise a meeting with him and please do use him – he´s extremely knowledgeable about the sector and FREE of charge!

He can help you plan your next season and get the wind behind your sails once again with a positive outlook.

If you wish to book a session at any time in the next few months please use this form:


The Moviola forums are also still available to join a private area to interact with Moviola venues which may be experiencing the same concerns or have resolutions for you to share and explore.


Once again, I want to emphasise that Moviola will be here to support you during and –  very importantly – after the current situation.

We´re not going away!

Very best wishes to you all from all of us at Moviola.

Statement for Audiences from Moviola CEO regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Dear Moviola Audiences,

With the rapidly changing situation with respect to Coronavirus / Covid-19 in the UK, I feel that it is necessary to inform audiences of our stance here at Moviola.

The health and safety of Moviola’s employees, customers and audiences are paramount and we will continue to follow guidance issued by the Government in the coming weeks. We recommend that you, as patrons of the community cinemas, do likewise. We cannot decide whether or not you attend shows – that is your decision. You will, I expect, have heard that the over 70’s may soon be asked to stay at home and minimise contacts with others. In that situation, we would suggest that you do consider non-attendance.

We have checked with all presenters of partner shows whether they are healthy and happy to proceed with any screenings scheduled. They will self-isolate should any symptoms arise.

Within the company itself, we have cancelled all face-to-face meetings where at all possible.

During this time, Moviola will function as usual. Because we do not know how long the situation will last or how it will develop. I am confident that no matter the length of the situation, Moviola will be here during and afterwards to continue to provide the service in its current format to community cinemas everywhere.

We are closely monitoring the situation and rest assured we shall update you should any further guidance be issued.

Tony Ewart

Moviola CEO

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