The Filmbankmedia Audience Award has been part of the Film Society of the Year Awards since 2011. Every year, film audiences get a chance to let their local film societies and community cinemas know what they mean to them.

The award is a great chance to hear from your audiences and get some feedback on the hard work you’ve been doing all year. The award also comes with a £1000 cash prize to go towards your community cinema.

The first winners were Dedham Films. Winning the award enabled them to fund the first Village Film Festival, which successfully showed 21 films in three venues over three days. The festival has gone from success to success and this year will take place in October, expanding to collaborate with five different community cinemas.

In 2012 the question was, Our community cinema/ film society is important to the people of our local community because… Colinsburgh Community Cinema won with answers such as:

It brings a cross section of the community together and caters for a wide range of tastes across the season, thereby making sure there is an attraction for everyone. The society’s enthusiasm and flexibility has provided us with director’s talks and live piano accompaniment to silent movies; which are experiences that most of us have never had, but have greatly enjoyed. The films range from recent releases to classics and engage the audience in discussion and debate, which again offers closer contact with friends and neighbours from across the generations. Community is at the core.

With the cash prize of £1000 that comes with the award Colinsburgh Community Cinema was able to invest in a new screen. 2013 winners Llancarfan Community Cinema similarly were able to use the cash prize to match the funding that they received from Creative Rural Communities to invest in their own projector and screen. After winning the prize Llancarfan Community Cinema said:

We were fortunate enough to be recognised in a number of categories at the 2013 Film Society of the Year Awards. The Filmbank Audience Award gave us special pleasure not because it came with a cheque for £1,000 (in addition to a handsome trophy), although that was definitely welcome; but because we value the audience experience above all else.

The most recent award winners Gingerbread House Presents… audience answered the question I recommend our film society/community cinema to my family and friends because…

I recommend Ginger Bread House because:  it’s fun; there’s films for every taste; the family events are very inclusive and the kids get a lot of pleasure from watching films with others; the Film and Food set up, whereby we eat before the film in mixed groups, is great for meeting people, making new friends and engendering community spirit.  I particularly love discovering the unexpected – films that Ginger Bread House introduces me to that I may otherwise never have encountered.

To fit in with the theme of Diverse People, Diverse Stories at this year’s Community Cinema Conference, the question for the 2015 Filmbankmedia’s Audience Award is:

How does your community cinema engage or cater to diverse sections of your community?

To enter, simply ask your audience members to answer in no more than 100 words and please email their responses to us at by 3 Aug. The winner will be chosen by Filmbankmedia. The award will be presented at the Film Society of the Year Awards in Sheffield on the 3 October as part of our Community Cinema Conference which you can get tickets for here.