Cheltenham Film Society
Cheltenham Film Society has been running for over 60 years, and currently has over 400 members – of different ages, backgrounds and interests. We are not an art house or academic society, but we aim to stimulate interest in different aspects of world cinema by showing excellent films from a range of directors in different genres.
Most of our films are in foreign languages (always shown with English subtitles), but we also show a few lesser-known UK/US films. In our selection, we look for films that may give an insight into foreign cultures, that make the audience think, that provide a fresh slant on modern political or moral issues, that illustrate novel film making techniques, or demonstrate plain brilliant acting. Or maybe films that offer a new perspective on the human condition, or just tell a cracking good story! We think you’ll find something of interest and merit in all of our choices.
We meet on Tuesday evenings every two or three weeks from Autumn to Spring. Our main programme of films, on DVD projected onto a ‘cinema-sized’ screen, takes place at the Bacon Theatre at Dean Close School, Hatherley, Cheltenham. The venue is comfortable, with tiered seating, is wheelchair friendly and easily accessible for less mobile people with ample parking nearby. It also has a bar (serving coffee as well as cold drinks) for you to have a drink and a chat before or after the film.
The terms and conditions of screenings at film society events is that they are shown to a membership society and do not allow people to pay on the door (with the exception of member’s guests). There are also other conditions about limiting advertising of the screening. We are also not allowed to lend the discs to members who missed the screening. That would require a different type of licence.
Most distributors now offer different rates depending on whether a DVD is supplied or not. We usually buy a copy for screening as we have had problems with DVDs from the distributors skipping or sticking when played. A new copy is less likely to have any damage when played for the first time. If a DVD is supplied, it would normally need to be returned the next day to avoid any additional costs.
Membership entitles members to free entry to all our films at Dean Close. Members may bring up to two paying guests to each film. A nominal charge may be made for refreshments at our social events.
We are painfully successful, reaching the point where we have to limit membership in order to make the cinema comfortable for our members and the society manageable by its volunteers. We also have an embarrassment of funds and have been looking for good causes to give some away to for a couple of years now. This resulted in us making substantial donations to a number of local and national film related organisations, such as the newly formed Cheltenham Film Festival, the BFFS and the local museum. Lastly we are entering into a three year agreement with the University of Gloucestershire to fund equipment, bursaries and prizes within their Media Studies programme, including showing winning short films made by the students.
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