My most memorable community cinema experience was Easter 2017, when Leigh Film screened Life of Brian in our local Leigh Parish Church. It was only the second time since its release that its been screened in a Church! A full house of fun, laughter and positive vibes enjoying a comedy about mistaken identity.
Elizabeth’s passion for film started at a very early age growing up with four brothers and a sister they would spend evenings as a family watching films together. To earn extra money while Elizabeth was at college, she worked as an usherette in her local multiplex in Salford. Although Elizabeth spent 25 years working in NHS Financial Management, her love of film has never left her.
In 2006 Elizabeth finished working due to serious ill health and it wasn’t until 2012 that she was able to get back into a normal life again. Elizabeth wanted to do something that brought together her love of film and community. At the time Elizabeth wasn’t aware of film societies and set up the Tyldesley Film Club in a local café based on the same premise as a book club. Watching a film together and then discussion afterwards. This soon became very popular and it was decided to move to bigger premises and take on a wider programme of film delivery.
This relaunch in 2014 included a name change to Leigh Film Society and an ethos of how they wanted to use film screenings and that has been maintained for the last seven years. “It was important to have an understanding of what we wanted to achieve from our film society and that came in three main objectives”
- Fighting against social isolation
- Creating Opportunities for Young People
- Supporting community Cohesion
It was at this time that Elizabeth and the volunteers team connected with ‘Cinema for All’ whom Elizabeth gives credit to for the support and guidance to help Leigh Film develop and grow into what it is today.
Leigh Film have gone from strength to strength winning national awards, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and in 2020 they received Edge Hill Universities ‘Employer of the Year’.
The volunteer team at Leigh Film describe themselves as film enthusiast with community spirit. Delivering a diverse, varied and inclusive film programme from art house, foreign language to specialist screenings for carers clubs and people with autism.
Elizabeth is proud of everything Leigh Film has achieved and still describes the group as “only getting started”. Elizabeth has often openly discussed the difference between film society and community cinema and Leigh Film are proud to have a foot in both camps.