All posts by Rosie Thompson

A New Year update from Filmbankmedia

Filmbankmedia are excited to announce that they have completed the development for their Virtual Screening Room and should have more updates for everyone in very soon.

Speaking of the new year, here are some brand new titles available for booking right now – from the incredible genre film and Mark Kermode favourite, Saint Maud, to falling in love through dog walking in 23 Walks.

Find out more on their website. | |

 +44 (0) 20 7984 5957


We all know that it has been a really difficult year this year with many challenges to overcome personally, in our communities and as a sector. Yet what I have found solace in this year is all the amazing things that groups have been doing to support their members and their communities, whether this has been watch alongs, goody bag deliveries or online festivals the community cinema sector has once again shown itself to be at the forefront of supporting communities and looking after one another. It was a pleasure to see so many of you this year at the Community Cinema Conference and Film Society of the Year Awards and to hear about all the amazing things you have been doing. I am also extremely proud of the Cinema For All team for bringing everyone together online and for all the brilliant work they have done this year supporting the sector. I would like to wish you all a happy holidays and am hopeful that in 2021 we can return in person to the cinemas and communities we love.


Curate supports great independent films that may not have had distribution or large marketing campaigns but deserve to be shared with audiences. This is a fantastic opportunity to screen some independent films with an extra exciting element for your screening! The Curate programming opportunities are available for screenings taking place between January and March 2021. *NOTE: Offer extended until Dec 31, 2021*

You can screen Delta 7even for just £40 and include a Q&A with director Rosie Baldwin via Zoom. This offer is available for online screenings or in person screenings of areas of the UK which screenings are allowed (please regularly check your local area for UK Government guidelines).

Telling a beautiful and emotional story in just 45 minutes, Delta 7even has made a huge impact across a range of festivals and has won numerous awards including the Grand Jury Prize at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and Best Documentary at Together Disability Film Festival. It was also very well received at this year’s Community Cinema Conference.

For online screenings you will be provided with a Vimeo link and password that you can share with your audience privately on the day of your screening. A DVD will be provided for in person screenings.

We will announce the other Curate titles in the New Year.


Sustain Shine is back for 2021 with an increased bursary of £300 to help boost your community cinema! If you’re looking to reevaluate after lockdown, develop skills or connect more as a team, Sustain Shine can help! Sustain Shine includes three online coaching sessions with the friendly, expert Cinema For All team and a £300 bursary to help refresh and develop your community cinema.

Each session gives plenty of opportunity to learn, ask questions and gain advice and information tailored to help your community cinema as much as possible. Each workshop comes with an activity sheet which gives you action points and tips to take away with you after each session. Workshops range from fundraising and sustainability to marketing and accessibility.

Deadline for applications is 8 January 2021.


Cinema For All has a place available on our free Launchpad coaching scheme taking place between January and March 2021 for a group that would like to specifically start accessible film screenings. These can be screenings for people with any additional accessibility needs (e.g. screenings for people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing, people who are neurodiverse, people with physical access needs or dementia friendly screenings) to help create more inclusive cinema screenings and truly make cinema for all.

The coaching programme includes four invaluable online coaching sessions via Zoom with the Cinema For All team which will help guide you with all the information and inspiration to get your cinema started! You will also receive a £200 bursary to cover the costs of your first screening.

Cinema For All want to make the coaching and application process as accessible as possible. You can apply by getting in touch with a little bit about who you are, where you’re based and the audience you want to reach. You can do this either by emailing Abi at with this information in text form, voice recording or video or by arranging a Zoom call with us. We are working remotely at the moment so we are unable to access our office phone. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

‘As a young deafblind person, the Cinema For All Launchpad program has given me the confidence and tools to form an accessible community cinema. Abi and Ellie were wonderful to work with, and they consulted with me about the format of the sessions, ensuring that my needs were met. I now feel like I have the knowledge to create a successful community cinema that will accommodate deaf and blind cinema goers. I highly recommend this program, and I can’t wait for more inclusive community cinemas to open up around the country.’ – Caption This Cinema

Please apply by getting in touch no later than 18 January 2021.
If you have any questions please just let us know.



Removing cinema from our lives this year will have been a struggle for many of us and I certainly have sorely missed my weekly trips. Making up for it by watching films online, or on TV has been ok, but well, I’m sure you know, it’s just not the same.

An online highlight for me was being invited to Other Cinemas’ Weekender in July, which showcased films from black and non-white filmmakers. One film shown over that weekend, which really drove home the importance of not giving up on the cinema experience, was first time director, Suhaib Gasmelbari’s 2019 documentary, Talking About Trees.

Gasmelbari’s tender, thoughtful study of four friends, all former filmmakers who sadly haven’t worked properly since the collapse of Sudan’s film industry following a 1989 military coup, striving to reopen a derelict, outdoor cinema near Khartoum is a gentle, delicately-made delight: humorous and touching as they navigate permits and licensing, canvass local audiences and cope with setbacks with humour and extraordinary patience. It is not just a study of the love of watching, or making film, but of friendship and determination.

(I loved this film so much that I urged Abi to get it for the booking scheme and conference in September, which of course she did, and I hope your audiences will enjoy it too when we can all be together again.)


Watching films during lockdown has been a curious and changing experience for me. I have missed the gentle hand of the cinema programmer, guiding you towards both the new horizons and undiscovered gems. Left to my own devices, my attention span has wandered dramatically from comforting re-watches (Wild at Heart, Akira, all of the Nightmare on Elm Street films), to new online only releases (Bacarau, Pennisula, The Happiest Season) to more recently settling on anything starring Denzel Washington.

Choosing a focus (all the films of one actor) has helped slow the endless doom scroll associated with online streaming platforms, and catered to my deep love of a theme. Some of my favourite Denzel films have included The Pelican Brief, The Manchurian Candidate remake by Jonathan Demme and Crimson Tide – all of which I watched during the week of the US elections, and all of which felt eerily prescient.


Les Misérables was one of the last films I was fortunate enough to see  at the cinema this year before the first lockdown was announced in March, and it has stayed with me ever since.

Set in a deprived suburb of Paris, it follows Stéphane as he navigates the simmering tensions between different neighbourhood groups in his new role on a tactical police unit. Covering issues including race, poverty, class and corruption, it is a blistering and brutal film that never lets up for a minute!


One of my favourite films that I’ve watched this year is Rocks. With a hugely talented cast of mostly young, first-time actors, Rock succeeds in being both authentic and heartfelt. A powerful British film about the resilience and power of teenage friendship that had me laughing one moment and crying the next.


Although I sorely miss going to the cinema, I have spent this year watching lots of films that have been on my radar for a while but I never got around to watching. Some of the ones I loved the most are Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Summer 1993 and Crooklyn. However, one that has really stayed with me is In This Corner of the World.

I watched this film on Netflix in lockdown and it became an instant favourite (even if it did break my heart). The film tells the story of Suzu, an imaginative artist growing up in Japan during the Second World War, and the events that led up to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The depiction of everyday life in 1940s Japan is really interesting and, despite the extremely dark themes, the film still manages to have many warm and funny moments. I love animation, and the style of this film is so beautiful – switching between traditional manga and the watercolour/ pencil-drawn style illustrations of Suzu’s sketchbook. Highly recommend, but get the tissues ready!


Very difficult to choose just one favourite film I’ve watched this year but The Watermelon Woman really stood out for me. It’s been on my list for too long and it was such a treat to watch. It’s joyful and poignant, feel-good and contemplative and I love a film that can oscillate between these emotions. Filmmaker/actor/writer, Cheryl Dunye brings such freedom and creativity to her storytelling it is a pleasure to follow her on her journey.

Some special mentions: Wild Rose, Thunder Road, Good Time, Kes, Thelma, Ghost, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Wadjda, Breakwater, Adult Life Skills, Be Natural: The Alice-Guy Blache Story, Again Once Again.


Alice in the Cities is Wim Wenders’ fourth feature film, and is somewhat responsible for turning the director from a fairly obscure member of the New German Cinema movement into international art-house darling, paving the way for later hits such as Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas. It tells the story of a writer, Philip, unexpecedtly and somewhat reluctantly accompanying a young girl, Alice, from New York to West Germany. The unlikely pair’s strange situation gives rise to many moments of quiet profundity, giving the film a real introspective charge.



Saint Maud is a truly affecting and original UK horror from first time feature director Rose Glass. Compelling performances from Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle as a caring nun and her terminally ill patient.


During Lockdown I was lucky enough to watch Antebellum, starring Janelle Monae. A quintessentially black horror film that delves into to the destructive force of the inherited will of the confederacy in America. Wonderfully made, and a real nuggets of a film in a bleak time.


This year I loved getting to know the work of Céline Sciamma. At the start of the year I had the pleasure of watching Portrait of a Lady on Fire which I loved for its cinematic style and its beautiful performances.

Yet Sciamma’s film that really stuck with me this year was Girlhood. It’s portrayal of intersecting challenges and inequalities, its depiction of friendship and its honesty, are what for me has made it the film that has stayed with me the most this year.


This year has been great for developing my interest in true crime. I’ve constantly been listening to true crime podcasts while working from home. This inspired me to watch Zodiac, based on the Zodiac Killer. I enjoyed getting the perspective into the effect the killing had on people involved beyond the direct victims, particularly as it still remains unsolved. If anyone has any other recommendations for films based on true crime (or thrillers in general), hit me up!

David reports back from Etiuda and Anima

David from Futurist Cinema in Elsecar tells us all about his experience on the IFFS Jury for the Etiuda and Anima International Film Festival, which took place from 17-22 November 2020.

The Etiuda and Anima International film festival is the oldest in Poland, and this year marked the 27th staging of the festival. It is fitting that the oldest film festival in Poland is the first one that I had the honour of being a juror at! My feelings when told I had been successful in my application, and for the entire time leading up to the event could accurately be described as 50/50 incredibly excited and utterly terrified!

The festival was, understandably given current events, online this year. The films were viewed via video on demand and zoom meetings were liberally used. This meant that I unfortunately did not have a chance to visit the beautiful city of Krakow, but who knows, maybe next year.

There were multiple awards given at Etiuda and Anima, I was involved in the student short film award, there were 30 candidates, all very different and covering a wide swathe of subject matter, and my two fellow jurors, Grzegorz from Poland and Tiziana from Italy, and I picked a winner and honourable mentions.

The first, and in my opinion most important thing to say is this, I did not know what to expect at all. However, the level of technical quality exhibited in all 30 of these films was incredible. There was not a film on show that would have been out of place visually or sonically on the big screen. This fact alone I think is worthy of heavy praise for all the film makers involved.

That said, some works were of course better than others, some struggled with the constraints of the short film format, with establishing a full narrative structure or with truly grabbing my attention, while others truly excelled. The best works, in my opinion shone new light onto a reasonably well known subject or took a very simple story and told it in an extraordinary way, sometimes both. I was looking for what I always look for in films. I want a film to touch me, to affect me in some way, and that is what I wanted these films to do, despite the shorter amount of time they had,

The interesting thing about art, is its subjectiveness, a piece that affected me may have no effect on someone else with a different personality and life experience, and vice versa. I, for example, was the only juror to commend Night on Fire (directed by Martin Kuba), an absurd farce involving no dialogue but for a song at the beginning and end and bringing boy scouts, prostitutes, BDSM and arson together in what was probably the sweetest, most wholesome film I watched. As an ex boy scout I found it genuinely hilarious and a breath of fresh air amongst other good quality, but uniformly serious drama’s and documentaries.

Another film I felt truly of note was Midnight Jazz (directed by Jules Mathot), by far the most visually striking film in my opinion, owing debts in lighting to Nicolas Winding Refn and framing to Wes Anderson. Again, it used very little dialogue to tell its admittedly very sparce story, about a man on the run breaking into the house of a DJ playing Jazz at midnight and interrupting his show. It’s a film that can be interpreted in different ways and I won’t bore you with my opinion, but it left me wanting to see more from all involved.

We ended up choosing 3 films to highlight in particular. Good Night (directed by Anthony Nti) received an honourable mention and is an unflinching look at life for some children in Ghana being preyed upon by gangs with the promise of a better life with food, fun and a father figure.

Our second honourable mention went to my personal film of the festival, Masel Tov Cocktail (directed by Arkadij Khaet and Mickey Paatzch), the best titled film of all, a highly energetic, fourth-wall breaking (a favourite trope of mine) tale of a Jewish teenager in Germany and the daily battles he faces. This film was vibrant, loud and unapologetic, it grabbed me instantly and did not let go for a moment, helped by a truly excellent performance by the extra-ordinarily charismatic young star, Alexander Wertmann. It shone a blinding light onto the troubled issue of anti-Semitism yet managed, despite a very heavy subject matter, to add touches of truly funny, extremely dark humour, it showed just what can be achieved in 30 minutes!

Our winner was the only film that placed in all 3 jurors top 5, Territories (directed by Azedine Kasri), a story about the plight of an Algerian father and son living in France, their connection to their homeland and family and their attempt to make France home. This was an excellent film, equally tense and dramatic, heartbreaking and heartwarming, with several moments that stayed with me long after the film ended.

In a further sign of the times, our choices were conveyed via a recorded zoom message from yours truly, providing a final opportunity for me to be terrified, excited and honoured all at once!

I would like to close, by highlighting one other film, I mentioned at the start that I had no idea what to expect fro the films I watch, and that was encapsulated perfectly by Long Story Short (directed by Andrei Olanescu). The film had no dialogue, as the main character is a snail, it is a snail that sees itself in the mirror, has an epiphany then makes love with either another snail or itself, to one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. I took a break after that film to consider what choices I had made to get to this point.

Whatever choices they were, I’m glad I made them, I loved every moment of the festival and hope dearly to do experience more festivals both as spectator and juror in the future.

Words: David, Futurist Cinema


As the festive season approaches we wanted to let you know that the Cinema For All team will be out of the *virtual* office from Wednesday 15 December 2020 until Monday 11 January 2021.

As things are a little different this year and the team have been working from home, this will not affect any coaching sessions or pre-arranged meetings that you have outside of these dates.

If there are any film licences that you would like to book from our Booking Scheme, please send in your booking request forms by no later than 11 December to make sure that they are processed in time.

Please note: we are unable to send any discs out during this time.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch with us at


Are you based in the West Midlands? Join Cinema For All from the comfort of your own home on Saturday, 21 November between 1-4pm, as we kickstart the next round of our BFI-funded scheme On the Ground! On the Ground: West Midlands will focus on connecting emerging and existing community cinema exhibitors from across the region to share skills, knowledge and expertise!


Our free event On the Ground: Maintaining Momentum will be held on Zoom and will look at how you can continue to engage with your audience members during this difficult period, whilst you are unable to screen as normal.

With a focus on how to continue to build audiences for your screenings, On the Ground: Maintaining Momentum will explore creative marketing ideas, how to encourage your audience to become advocates for your cinema, as well as how additional activities can help you to reach new communities.

The event will feature a masterclass session, led by Rosie and Ellie from the Cinema For All team, along with an interactive panel discussion featuring inspiring speakers from West Midlands based community cinemas, sharing their experiences and advice. Amy Smart from Film Hub Midlands will also be joining us to talk about upcoming opportunities, funds and advice for community exhibitors.

At the end of the day, there will be an exclusive film screening of Luxor, courtesy of Modern Films. Luxor will be available to watch online via Modern Films’ website and you will be issued a link and code to view the film for free, for a limited time only.

If you have any questions about On the Ground, please email Ellie on


Fantastic documentary Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project is now available to book through our Booking Scheme.

The film is also available for anyone to rent for it’s virtual release from 6th November on the Modern Films viewing platform. If you select to watch it with Cinema For All on their page, we get 50% of the ticket sales, meaning you can watch a great film whilst supporting us as a charity.

About the film:

Marion Stokes was secretly recording television twenty-four hours a day for thirty years. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the dawn of the twenty-four hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on television as Marion passed away. In between, Marion recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today.

Before “fake news” Marion was fighting to protect the truth by archiving everything that was said and shown on television. The public didn’t know it, but the networks were disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history. Remarkably Marion saved it, and now the Internet Archive will digitize her tapes and we’ll be able to search them online for free.

This is a mystery in the form of a time capsule. It’s about a radical Communist activist, who became a fabulously wealthy recluse archivist. Her work was crazy but it was also genius, and she would pay a profound price for dedicating her life to this visionary and maddening project.