Lisa Denision from Sinema Sadwrn attended the 2018 Cinema for All Conference in Sheffield, where they won Best New Film Society. Here’s the story of their trip:
“The Cinema for All Annual Conference was a first for us, as a new film society. It was a great way to meet fellow cinema enthusiasts, gain new knowledge, celebrate all the hard work that community cinema volunteers do and most importantly it provided us with real encouragement and support which is essential for any fledgling group who are finding their feet.
Being immersed in all things cinema for a whole weekend gave us time to really reflect on what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and how we could learn and improve. We bought back lots of ideas, particularly in relation to programming, which was a word we kept hearing but one that we’d never even used ourselves. We are now going to work out how we might develop an annual programme rather than just thinking a couple of months ahead which will ensure that we not only cater better for our diverse audience but that we provide them with the ability to plan ahead and think about which films they want to attend throughout the year.
We were really inspired by the different approaches that other clubs take, some were all about providing less frequent but very special immersive experiences, others catered for niche audiences and some were simply passionate about providing a platform for independent film makers as an alternative to mainstream cinema. I think we are a little bit of all these, but our main driver is about providing a social opportunity in a dispersed rural community that doesn’t have easy access to many other services – maybe this is something they could cover in future events.
Fortunately, through social media, we can now stay in touch with some of the great film societies we connected with and keep an eye on the ideas and programming that they’re doing. We hadn’t really looked further afield until now so I think this will really benefit us when determining our own programme and events.”
Winning the award for Best new Film Society, more than anything, gave not just us, but our audience and the whole village an enormous boost. It’s not often we get a mention at a national level! We flew the flag for Wales and talked about our inclusion of welsh shorts to other societies who were also interested in showing shorts. Our confidence has really grown and we now feel like we will continue to grow and develop in a way in which we may not have envisaged before the event. We hope more members of the committee will be able to attend next year – it’s a lot of fun as well as a great learning experience.