Tag Archives: audience

On the Ground – Raising your community cinema’s profile

We know you are doing great work, but does your audience? 

We understand amongst all the other tasks you do to run your community cinema, marketing and engagement can be time consuming and it is sometimes hard to know where to start. You have a story worth telling, let’s begin to share it!

Join Cinema For All online on Sunday 27 February 2022, 11:00 – 13:30 – for this special session on raising your community cinema’s profile, where we will explore how you can spotlight what makes your cinema unique, how to celebrate your wins with your audience and top tips on boosting your audience and engagement that work for you.

The online event features a masterclass session, led by Abi and Ellie from the Cinema For All team, along with an interactive panel discussion featuring inspiring speakers from community cinemas in Scotland sharing their experiences and expertise.

Attendees will also have exclusive access to a free preview screening, to watch for a limited period of time after the event! (Film to be confirmed soon)

Programme for the event:

  • 11:00 – Welcome and introductions: A chance to meet and update with your fellow community cinemas
  • 11:30 – How we raised our profile panel: Hear from other Scottish community cinemas as they share their experience of their challenges and ways they boosted their profile and widened their reach. This is also your chance to ask questions and gain insight from your peers.
  • 12:30 – Break
  • 12:45 – Sharing your story masterclass: A 45 minute masterclass with Abi and Ellie from Cinema For All exploring the different ways you can raise your community cinema’s profile, by communicating your journey, connecting with others and practical tips on developing your audience and engagement.
  • 13:20 – Wrap up and final thoughts.


This event will take place on Zoom and will be BSL interpreted and captioned.

Please note, you do not have to be based in Scotland to attend and there is no limit to the number of group member that can book tickets, so please feel free to invite the rest of your team. We look forward to seeing you there!

This session is part of Cinema For All’s BFI-funded support scheme, On the Ground, connecting emerging or existing community cinemas from across the region to share skills, knowledge and expertise.

 Any questions please get in touch with Ellie at ellie@cinemaforall.org.uk.

Supported by the BFI,  awarding funds from the National Lottery.


Our kind distribution partners Cosmic Cat have allowed Cinema For All members to watch their two latest documentaries at a discount. Watch these compelling documentaries for just £4.99, simply click the links below. Feel free to share this opportunity with your audience members to join in too.

Eye of the Storm

Widely recognized as one of Britain’s finest landscape artists, James Morrison’s work hangs in the homes of JK Rowling and the Royal family, as well as in museums and private collections around the world. But in the twilight of his life, James loses his eyesight and with that, his ability to see the landscape as others couldn’t. As Morrison reflects on his remarkable artistic journey, from the Glasgow shipyards, to France and the vanishing arctic wilderness, he also confronts his sight loss by attempting one final masterpiece.

Eye of the Storm is a powerful and poignant exploration of the connection between freedom, transcendence and art, through the stormy eyes of a master.

Killing Escobar

In 1989, Scottish mercenary and ex-SAS operative, Peter McAleese, was hired by a Colombian drug cartel to lead a small team of ex-special forces commandos on a mission to assassinate the world’s biggest drug baron, Pablo Escobar.

With heartstopping drama reconstruction, access to never-before-seen footage of the mission and first person accounts from both the mercenaries and the cartel, Killing Escobar is a documentary thriller that reveals how one man’s violent upbringing in Glasgow, training in the SAS and experience as a mercenary in Africa led him to the jungles of Colombia and the heart of the Medellín cocaine empire.

At 78 years old and returning to the Catholic faith of his youth, McAleese reflects on one of the most ambitious and perilous assignments of his career; the one that pushed him closer to death than any other, a mission to kill the most feared man in the world, Pablo Escobar.



Each year Cinema For All conducts a survey of the community film exhibition sector to gather a wide range of data about the groups we represent. Thank you to all the community cinema organisers that took part in completing the survey, we couldn’t do this research without you. This data allows us to build a better picture of the contribution community cinemas make to the film exhibition sector as well as how we can better serve you.

Jaq Chell, Head of Operations and Sector Development said, ‘Once again we are delighted to see the annual survey results reflect the wealth of film choice offered by volunteer-led cinema. We are so proud to represent groups that consistently bring great film to people across the whole of the UK, locally and at affordable prices. We believe access to film in a community setting can help decrease isolation, and even has the power to improve people’s lives. We are also proud to see Cinema For All services so highly rated. We work hard to give community cinemas the high quality advice they deserve and we are grateful for the overwhelmingly positive feedback we have received.’

Key Findings of the Community Exhibitor Survey 2017:

  • Almost all Cinema For All services or resources were rated as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ by over 70% of survey respondents who had used that service or resource.
  • The most highly rated services (i.e. rated very good or good) were our Starter Pack (95%), Programme Notes (94%), Enquiry Service (89%), Booking Scheme (88%), Technical Advice (86%), Website (85%), Advice Leaflets (84%), Member Discounts (84%), Film Society of the Year Awards (82%) and Newsreel (81%).
  • Respondents programmed 675 different titles in 2016/17, mainly foreign language, British and independent films.
  • 19 titles were programmed by 10 or more community exhibitors during the year, and of these 10 were either British or foreign language titles.
  • The top three most programmed titles were Mustang, I, Daniel Blake and Bridge of Spies.
  • The average full annual membership fee was £22.67 with the highest at £70. 58% of respondents who offered membership also offered concessionary membership fees (for senior citizens, students, under 21s or under 25s, the unemployed etc.).
  • The average audience size of responding community exhibitors was 58, with 36% of respondents recording an increase in audiences and 39% recording roughly the same number as in the previous year.
  • 80% of organisations offering membership saw their membership increase or stay the same over the last year.

Download the full 2017 Community Exhibitor Survey Report here. 

Brian Clay’s Suggested Programme

Following on from the Fantasy Film Programmes from Richard and Bryony, we’ve asked community cinema programmers to give their suggestions for a film programme. These programmes will form a regular feature for the blog so if you want to suggest your own please get in contact at rich.bffs@gmail.com

In this post Brian Clay from BFFS South West, and an experienced film society organiser for many years, gives his thoughts. 

Apart from selecting films for Viewing Sessions and advising new societies, I haven’t chaired a Selection Meeting for 20 years but I thought I would try and apply the ground rules I settled on in my days at Dorchester to come up with a programme for a society in a small county town (even if, like Dorchester, they have a cinema!).

I feel that the building blocks for an attractive season of films are:

1) Variety – a wide range of genres – mainstream, independent, foreign language, documentary

2) Hooks – the majority of the titles should have a strong selling point: these could be

  • Short-listing for major awards (Oscars/Baftas) or Festival prize winners – especially Foreign Language Oscars etc
  • Well-known director, actor
  • Good selection of World Cinema
  • Adaptation of well-known book
  • Controversial subject matter
  • Local connections – writer, director, subject matter
  • Successful at the box office – perhaps only a few titles but this brings recognition.
  • Critical acclaim – ditto.

On this basis, I have selected 12 films from DVD titles available at the moment with some selling points that informed my selection:

A Royal Affair

1.      Argo ­– BAFTA winner

2.      Beast of the Southern Wild – Oscar nominee

3.      A Royal Affair – 2013 Oscar nomination for Foreign Language Film

4.      Even the Rain – ideal Film Society fare: well-known leading actor, strong political narrative, involves film-making

5.      Amour – 2013 Oscar nomination for Best and Foreign Language Film

6.      Martha Macy May Marlene – US indie 

7.      The Imposter – acclaimed documentary

8.      I Wish ­ – this years’ “Monsieur Lazhar” 

9.      About Elly –director of ‘A Separation’, alternative view of modern-day Iran

10.   The Sapphires – over-looked at the box office due to the Skyfall effect

11.   Quartet – crowd-pleaser!

12.   Berberian Sound Studio – British indie with Toby Jones

Berberian Sound Studio

If the selection is to be for a season starting in September (as many do), I might substitute a few titles to be released during the summer: so, I might substitute ”No” for “Even the Rain”, for example.  I have included a few box office hits because even if the town has a cinema, many people expect the Film Society to include titles they may have missed.  Hope this is a start leading to an animated discussion!