Tag Archives: Community


Do you want to develop the audience of your community cinema and raise your profile? Interested in how to find and build relationships with partners that could help take your cinema to the next level?

Join Cinema For All online on Sunday 31 October 11am-1:30pm for our first On the Ground Scotland event, as we explore community cinema collaborations and the creative ways that groups have worked together. You will also gain top tips and inspiration for starting your own creative partnerships, that help one another flourish.

Collaborating with other organisations and community cinemas can be a great way to reach new audiences, raise the profile of your cinema, or even share the workload of a more ambitious idea. But where do you go to find the right group to partner with, and how do you make sure that you both get what you need out of working together?


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 who have created a range of brilliant events through collaboration.

Attendees will also have access to a preview screening of Oliver Sacks: His Own Life courtesy of our friends at Altitude.

Programme for event:

  • 11:00 – Welcome and introductions: A chance to connect with your fellow community cinemas
  • 11:15 – Creative Collaborations panel: Hear from other Scottish community cinemas as they share their experience in the power of working together to achieve amazing screenings or try something new. This is also your chance to ask questions and gain insight from your peers.
  • 12:15 – Break
  • 12:25 – Creative Collaborations masterclass: A 45 minute masterclass with Abi and Ellie from Cinema For All exploring the benefits of partnerships, with practical tips and inspiration.
  • 13:20 – Wrap up and final thoughts.

This workshop 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 members, 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.


Outdoor screening are becoming more and more popular but with hefty hire prices for equipment and bigger box office splits it can often be a challenge for community cinemas.

Join Cinema For All for free online on Saturday 29 May between 2 – 3:15pm, as we hear from a handful of exhibitors who have created magical experiences for their audiences and taken community cinema outdoors…on a budget!

With inspiration and advice from community cinemas with experience and plenty of opportunity for questions and networking, this event is perfect for groups with ambition to run outdoor screenings. Featuring presentations from Friends of Cotteridge Park, Friendly Neighbourhood Cinema and Inspirate who will cover everything you need to know about taking your screenings outside, from logistics and costs, to audiences.


This workshop will take place on Zoom and will be BSL interpreted and captioned, participants will receive a link in advance of the session. Please note, you do not have to be based in the West Midlands to attend and there is no limit to the number of group members, 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 regional 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.

On the Ground: Cinema on the Move features as part of Flatpack Festival 2021’s Film Camp programme.

Film Camp is series of free, online workshops, open to everyone from multi-screen venue and festivals to community cinema organisers and student film groups. Other sessions as part of the 2021 programme include What is Audio Description? and The Future of Cinema: What About Me?

With support of the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery.


Leigh Film Society: Orange bags of cinema sunshine

Leigh Film Society:
Looking after communities in lockdown with their ‘orange bags of cinema sunshine’

Leigh Film Society, based in Greater Manchester, is a famous name in the community cinema world. Founded in 2013, Leigh Film Society have inspired groups across the UK with their dedication to serving their communities, and their extensive work focussed on battling social isolation and providing new opportunities for disadvantaged groups in their area. They are multi-award winners at the annual Film Society of the Year Awards, and were presented with the prestigious Film Society of the Year award back in 2017.
During lockdown, Leigh Film Society, have been providing a very special service in their communities, by delivering DVDs to vulnerable and/or isolated people. They are made up of a team of dedicated volunteers, including the wonderful Elizabeth Costello – who also features on the Digital Releases During Lockdown episode of the Cinema For All Podcast. We wanted to talk to her about their inspiring DVD delivery initiative, and the impact that this has had on their community.

Can you tell us a bit about the Leigh?

Leigh is the second largest town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, and suffers from severe deprivation. It is a post-industrial town which has lost many of its traditional jobs over the past thirty years (particularly in textiles, mining and engineering) and has the lowest social mobility of any area in the UK.

The community of Leigh is inspiring a cultural revival by restoring places like Spinners Mill a Grade II listed mill that hosts an inclusive and varied cultural programme, and where Leigh Film Society have established a base!

Our film society, Leigh Film Society, is an independent community cinema charity. Established in 2013, we use film screenings to fight against social isolation, create opportunities for young people and support community cohesion. We have many different film screening projects from the Evening Film Society, Afternoon Classic Cinema Club, our Annual Short Film Festival, Community Cinema events, monthly Saturday family matinees, and an Adult and Young Carer’s Film Club.

Leigh has always been a cultural town bursting with talent and enthusiasm for the arts; a town rich in its heritage and community spirit!

Leigh Film Society is an inspiration to so many community cinemas because of your incredible breadth of work. What have been some of your most notable achievements so far?

Over the past seven years we have used film screenings to commemorate national events, raise awareness to campaigns and to help raise money for good causes whilst bringing the best in non-mainstream films to our town. We’ve had so many achievements, it’s hard to select a notable one! Winning Cinema for All’s 2017 Film Society of the year was a big deal for us and that really meant so much to receive national recognition.

We are made up of 100% volunteers at Leigh Film, and in June 2018 we were extremely proud to be awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service for “Providing socially-inclusive cinema screenings for everyone in the community and broadening access to culture”.

In 2020 we were awarded Edge Hill University’s 2020 Employer of the Year for the work we do with student work placements at our annual short film festival. It is really important, in a post industrial town, to create opportunities to support young people enhancing their CVs to get into the film industry.

Something I personally enjoy is that we have reinvigorated the family Saturday matinees. We have also recently started a new Carer’s Film Club which gives valuable respite to adult carers and young carers – cinema escapism is perfect for this.

You are doing something amazing during lockdown to look after your community. Please can you tell us about your DVD delivery service?

With no screening events able to take place, we started looking at ways to keep film in our community. We tried a few online screenings and set up a forum for film discussion. With our vast DVD collection we decided to offer it out to vulnerable people living in isolation. The response was amazing – there’s so many people out there living alone. With support from Forever Manchester we were able to offer a DVD delivery service, run entirely by Leigh Film Society Volunteers.

Requests started to come in from Facebook, Twitter and via our Wigan Council’s community hubs. When people get in touch, we check out their preferences and then a bag is delivered containing from 6-8 DVDs, as well as a treat to enjoy while watching! There is no personal contact as the deliveries are left on their doorstep. All bags are age appropriate and we call them our ‘orange bags of cinema sunshine’!

For many years, we have championed cinema therapy and the therapeutic benefits that cinema offers. Watching films is a great way to escape to another time or place and a relaxing way to take our minds off the current crisis.

What inspired you to start this initiative?

The initiative was inspired by our afternoon classic cinema club as we knew so many of our members lived alone. We wanted to stay connected with them and show our support.

We saw that you received some DVDs from Studio Canal as a thank you for all the hard work that you’re doing – congratulations! Do you have any advice for other groups on approaching a studio of this size for support with a project?

To be honest, I just messaged them and they responded! It was as simple as that. However, we do keep our social media up to date and can clearly evidence what we’re doing in our community. I’m sure they will have taken a look at us first and researched before responding – they said they liked what we’re doing and wanted to help. Due to the success of the project, we have put out numerous requests for DVD’s donations. People in the community have really got behind this initiative and donations are coming in on a regular basis!

What feedback have you had from people in your community about how it has helped them in isolation?

The feedback and positive comments have been wonderful, and the smiling faces when we deliver the DVDs makes it all worthwhile.

It’s wonderful to receive feedback like this:

“Thank you for the DVDs. You really lifted my spirits. Not only with the delivery but the content. The film Along came Polly. Gave me a giggle as I’m known as Polly. Thank you for your kindness.”

We have now expanded this project to include: primary school children who are vulnerable, children who are accessing free school meals, refugee groups, care homes and carers.

What it has highlighted to us is the amount of people and families who are not online or can’t afford the streaming channels. This is a concern that we need a digital reform for the most disadvantaged in our society.

When this is all over we will return to our regular screening programmes bringing great films for everyone.

Find out more about Leigh Film Society on their website, and on their social media channels, @LeighFilm (Twitter) and @LeighFilmSociety (Facebook). You can also download this full case study as a PDF here.


We’re very excited to launch Collaborate! – funding projects that bring communities together.

We will be providing funding of up to £1000, and support, to 5 collaborative projects in which community cinemas work together to create something exciting and special for their collective communities.

There are a number of different ways that your group might decide to do this including grouping with other local community cinemas to put on a mini film festival, inviting other groups who specialise in a different types of cinema into your venue, and even screening the same film in a range of locations to test audience reactions!

You can find out more about Collaborate! and apply here.

Deadline is 30 September 2019.


Download the 2017/18 Community Exhibitor Report


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. This survey allows us to see what we’re doing well and what we could improve on. Not only this, but it gives you a chance to reflect on all of the great work done by you and your fellow volunteers.


Key Findings of the Community Exhibitor Survey 2017/18:

  • The average public ticket price was £5.48, more than £2 lower than the national average for commercial cinemas, which is £7.49.
  • The top three most screened films were Hidden Figures, A Man Called Ove and Lion.
  • Just under half of respondents (48%) operated a membership system in 2017/18 and the average membership size was 131.
    55% of respondents saw their membership increase or stay the same in 2017/18.
  • On average, respondents were located 7.2 miles from their nearest commercial cinema.
  • 38% of respondents operate in a ‘rural’ area, compared to 2.5% of commercial cinemas.

Read previous survey reports


Exquisite, stunning, euphoric. Dazzling. Timeless. Beautiful. These are just some of the words used to describe Moonlight.

Moonlight is the second feature film by director Barry Jenkins and has won over critics, audiences and most recently the Academy who gave it the Oscar for Best Picture.

The film follows the life of Chiron, a young black man who struggles through adolescence as he navigates his sexuality, his relationship with his loving but neglectful mother and frequent abuse from his peers. Not only does Moonlight offer a little-seen perspective in film, it is completely unique in its construction, ebbing away from expectation and exhaling like a cool breeze.

From its first public screening in the mountains at Telluride Film Festival and ascending its way to red carpets and critical acclaim, this film has been on quite a journey. Now Moonlight has arrived here with us on the Cinema For All Booking Scheme, courtesy of Altitude, a distribution partner that we enjoy working with to help bring vibrant and unique films for community cinemas to screen.

Moonlight Poster
The Moonlight poster glowing in the Cinema For All office.

Understanding the needs of community cinemas is at the heart of what we do and we are always striving to provide the best discounts, benefits and support. Moonlight is not released on DVD and Blu Ray until June and we are thrilled to make it available for community cinemas to screen from 10 March on an early release window.  We are ecstatic to have Moonlight here with us for many reasons but we look forward to you sharing it with your audiences most of all.

To book Moonlight click here. 

Community Cinemas Collaborate in West Yorkshire

Three community cinemas collaborate to bring I Daniel Blake to a wider audience in Huddersfield

 Electric Theatre Cinema, Dolly Shot Pop Up Picture House and The Red and Green Club combined forces to screen I Daniel Blake and raised over £1000 for Huddersfield’s Welcome Centre this January. The three local community cinemas screened Ken Loach’s BAFTA nominated film the weekend starting the 6th January for three consecutive nights, offering pay what you can afford tickets and collecting money at the same time.

“We got the idea at this year’s Cinema For All Conference”, explains Zana Wood Co director at the Electric Theatre Cinema. “There was a lot of talk about championing each other as small independent film societies and I, Daniel Blake seemed the obvious choice of film for a collaborative project. We were thrilled when Dolly Shot Pop Up Picture House and The Red and Green Club agreed to join us. Caroline from Dolly Shot, a pop up cinema, had the great idea of screening on the Friday night in Huddersfield Methodist Mission and to raise funds and awareness for the Welcome Centre. We are thrilled that all three of us could contribute to such a great cause.”

Caroline from Dolly Shot and Suzi Tibbetts from Electric Theatre took the money to the Welcome Centre who were astounded and grateful for such a huge and unexpected donation. Emma Greenough, the marketing and publicity worker from the Welcome Centre thanked all three cinemas for hosting the events and also for their wonderful donations and support.

“But that is not all,” continued Zana, “Due to the success of the film and having to turn people away we have decided to screen it again in Marsden on the 4th February at the Bandrooms. The film starts at 7.30, and as before tickets are pay what you can afford, so there is still an opportunity for people to see this great film and for us to raise even more money for the Welcome Centre.

Zana added “It is a great credit to film societies and community cinemas around the country, with the valued support of Cinema for All, that allows us to champion each other in this way to bring independent cinema to the nation and we look forward to more collaborations in the future.”



Trustees Week: Nadine Thomson

Following on from Trustee’s Week  (7-13 November) we interviewed Cinema For All Trustee, Nadine Thomson about the importance of a Board of Trustees and about some of her highlights in her role so far.

Tell us about your role as a Trustee.

Every charity has a Board of Trustees. As a Trustee, I, along with my fellow Trustees, am responsible for ensuring the proper governance of Cinema For All. In conjunction with our very talented staff, we ensure the charity stays focused on its objectives, set the strategic direction of Cinema For All and ratify major decisions. We meet formally as a Board four times a year. In addition, each Trustee is involved in working groups which focus on certain areas such as fundraising, education or industry partnerships.

Cinema For All has nine Trustees on the Board each with different skillsets and backgrounds. Many of our Board members have extensive backgrounds and experience in community cinema and film which is important when we are evaluating issues and making decisions. My background is in technology in the commercial world so I bring a different perspective to the Board. It’s important to have diversity of thought so we consider issues and opportunities from all angles. 

One of the working groups I’m involved in is Marketing and Communications. In conjunction with our Operations and Development Manager, Jaq Chell, I  produced our 2015-2016 infographic which is a snapshot of our annual report.

Why did you want to be a Trustee for Cinema For All?

I joined the Board in 2014. I was looking for a Trustee opportunity with a charity so I could give back to the community. I also wanted to gain experience of working on a Board as I plan to play a part in governing commercial organisations in years to come. I came across Cinema For All and had initial conversations with Katherine Sellar (then Chair and current Trustee) and Jaq Chell (Operations and Development Manager). I was struck by their passion for the organisation, depth of knowledge of the sector and their professionalism. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of Cinema For All.

What have you found particularly enjoyable or satisfying whilst being a Trustee at Cinema For All?

Listening to the staff updates at each Board meeting is always inspiring. The staff achieve so much on a small amount of funds. Recently we reviewed the Reaching Communities project which brings together diverse and marginalised communities through community cinema. Hearing about the difference the project has made to people’s lives was heart-warming.

The annual conference which brings together community cinemas and film societies from all over the country is a fantastic event. The awards ceremony recognises achievements of community cinemas and the panels allow different community cinema groups to share both their mistakes and successes with others. 

Why is it important for someone like you to be a Trustee?

It’s important to give back to the community and share your skills and experience. A strong, organised Board will give a charity a much greater chance of success and long term existence. I’m proud to support Cinema For All as it works to broaden access to diverse cinema to diverse communities. I’ve learnt a lot about film and community cinema and met inspiring and talented people through my involvement in the organisation.