Tag Archives: documentary


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.


Cinema For All’s Curate programme brings community cinemas brilliant independent films to offer you and your audience fresh and interesting content.

We are proud to present three excellent documentaries for this year’s Curate programme from talented directors that offer something special in every frame.

We understand that you still want to reach your audience during lockdown and our friends that might need to stay at home when in person screenings are permitted by the UK government so we’ve made each film available for online screenings. The films are available for in person screenings once screenings can resume in the UK as per government stipulations.

To screen online, each film is provided to you via a Vimeo link and password that you can share with your audience privately. They simply click the link, enter the password and watch. They are welcome to start and pause the film at any point during the date of your screening but you are welcome to encourage your audience to watch at the same time to create a shared experience.

All the films will be available for the price listed until 31 December 2021.

If you have any questions please email Abi at abi@cinemaforall.org.uk


Available to screen from 1 May 2020.

Licence fee: £50

Asunder tells the story of what happened to an English town during the First World War, with almost all of its men fighting abroad and its women and children left behind. The North East was in the front line, thanks to its shipyards and munitions factories. Using footage from 96 separate archive films and contemporary footage and audio, Asunder collages the stories of people from Tyneside and Wearside to uncover what life was like on the home front, with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballers. The narrative moves from an Edwardian golden era, in which sport grew in popularity and aircraft and cars pointed to a bright new future, to a war that horrifically reversed this progress. In the Battle of the Somme, British, French and German armies fought one of the most traumatic battles in military history. Over the course of just four months, more than one million soldiers were captured, wounded or killed in a confrontation of unimaginable horror.

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Delta 7even

Licence fee: £40

Online Q+A’s with director Rosie Baldwin are available via Zoom (limited number available).

Deeply moving, yet warm and unexpectedly funny, Delta 7even is the story of an eccentric post punk band made up of adults with learning disabilities, and the events following the tragic news that a bandmate has taken his own life.

Featuring the band’s original music, this observational documentary is a timely and unique insight into the ripple-effect of losing a loved one to suicide, and the vastly different ways in which people grieve. Filmed over the course of a year, both before and immediately after the tragedy, the film follows the band as they face their grief head-on and turn it into a united strength, self-belief and desire to continue.

A life-affirming celebration of neurodiversity and inclusion, Delta 7even offers a unique look into group dynamics and the refusal to live a life dictated by stereotypes. Overcoming the seemingly insurmountable, the band speak to the transformative power of one’s own creativity, and the film tells a compelling tale of resilience and unity in the face of the worst that life can give you.

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Winner of Grand Jury Prize at Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival

Love Child

Licence fee £50

Directed by Eva Mulvad the film received its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and has since gone on to play major festivals around the world including the Chicago International Film Festival where it won the Gold Hugo Award for Best Documentary.

Love Child offers a heartbreaking portrait of Leila and Sahand, an Iranian couple who are forced to flee for their lives from Tehran where their secret affair and illegitimate child are both considered crimes, punishable by death. Together with their four-year-old son Mani they take refuge in Turkey with dreams of a new life, seeking asylum to either Canada or the US. Intimately filmed over a five-year period, we follow their brave quest to be safe together as a family.

‘Eva Mulvad’s film is remarkable…A feat of captivating storytelling, rich in character detail, vivid temporal awareness and high-stakes tension’ – Variety

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As 2016 is now well and truly underway, it seems only appropriate to announce a new batch of Booking Scheme film titles for you to consider.

The new selection highlights Cinema For All’s commitment to showcasing wide-ranging and diverse cinema and includes many award-winning and nominated titles such as The Revenant, The Martian, Bridge of Spies, Joy and Cartel Land.

Critically acclaimed ballet theatre documentary Bolshoi Babylon is available now on early window and in March members will have early access to homelessness drama Time Out of Mind and modern warfare ethics film Hyena Road.

As well as the aforementioned Cartel Land and Bolshoi Babylon, we have several more critically acclaimed documentary titles available to book, including Cinema For All Community Cinema Conference favourite My Nazi Legacy, Manakamana, Best of Enemies, Drew: the Man Behind the Poster and, from new Booking Scheme partners Scottish Documentary Institute, the deeply emotional and affecting I Am Breathing and Seven Songs for a Long Life.

We have a trio of documentaries coming your way from the end of January – 3 1⁄2 Minutes, Ten Bullets; The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution; Student Cinema Conference favourite Fresh Dressed – all looking at different aspects of black culture in the United States.

As well as the many new and recent titles, several classic titles find their way onto the Scheme in 2016, including Japanese legend Takeshi Kitano’s classic Dolls, Kikujiro and Hana-bi.

We are very pleased to welcome Eros International, the leading UK distributor of Bollywood film titles, to the Booking Scheme. Titles such as Bol, English Vinglish, Love Aaj Kal, Provoked, and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela offer sights, sounds and voices not previously seen or heard on the Booking Scheme.

We are currently updating the Booking Scheme database to include all new titles, but in the meantime members can download the updated Booking Scheme catalogue PDF here.

The Booking Scheme is open to all Members and Associates with titles available for a flat rate £85. Any Affiliates or Non-Members wishing to take advantage of the titles available can upgrade their Cinema For All membership or join here.



Asif Kapadia’s Amy has been praised by critics as a sensitive and perceptive examination of the circumstances surrounding the singer’s extraordinarily public life, folding back the layers of tabloid hyperbole to take a level and human look at the woman at the centre of it all. The story of Amy Winehouse’s incredible career is one of mountainous peaks of commercial and critical acclaim – and devastating chasms of heartbreak and excess. Impressing and moving commentators since premiering in June, Peter Bradshaw called the film ‘a tragic masterpiece’.

Kapadia’s Senna cemented the director’s reputation as a documentarian committed to clarity and even-handedness, and Amy is another example of his transparent and comprehensive style. Forgoing a typical talking-head approach, Kapadia’s film consists entirely of footage from Winehouse’s life and audio interviews with those closest to her. Ranging from broadcast and awards film to the most intimate and touching moments, a real life behind the media speculation and stage persona is revealed. It is this level of access and Kapadia’s determination to avoid sensation that makes Amy such a remarkable account of a life lived in the spotlight.

Drawing on the experiences and views of both the singer herself and the people she was surrounded by, the emotional punch of Amy is undeniable. Perhaps it is hindsight that lends her story the tenor of a tragedy – a sense of inevitability that hangs heavy over her early successes – but even with Kapadia’s unbiased presentation of the facts the gaggles of industry movers and players, friends and even family members emerge as portents of her undoing. Her father Mitch and husband Blake Fielder-Civil were both raked over the coals by a media in full hue and cry following her death, and in Amy both emerge as troubling figures: an absentee father who reappeared following her commercial success and famously advised her against entering rehab, and a similarly itinerant husband who drew Winehouse into crack and heroin use. These depictions have caused controversy – Mitch Winehouse, who was persuaded to cooperate with the director by his admiration for Kapadia’s Senna, has spoken out publicly about his portrayal.

As can be expected, much of Amy is harrowing and profoundly sad – another example of the media’s voracious appetite to consume the vulnerabilities of those in the limelight and the disturbing tendency of public opinion to prurience and pursuit. But these lessons remain edifying, even if they seem hard to learn – and Kapadia’s documentary is a valuable reminder of the human cost of this hunger.

Like other recent documentaries focused on unique and seemingly doomed musicians such as Brett Morgan’s depiction of Kurt Cobain in Montage of Heck and Jeff Feurezig’s The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Kapadia’s film attempts to draw in closer to the reality of its subject’s life whilst recounting a remarkable talent. It is in the meeting of those two factors that Amy finds its particularly affecting heft. Songs that were poignant during her life and crushingly sad following her death are imbued with a haunting resonance when viewed through the events leading up to her demise; Kapadia’s skilful and exacting approach to laying out a complete story and his accomplishment in crafting compelling narratives combine to make a heartbreaking eulogy and tribute to one of the 21st century’s most fascinating performers.

Composed with the tautness of a thriller and the compassion of a sincere attempt to understand an individual swathed in mythology and the judgements of others, Amy’s messages go beyond the simple examination of the life of a star to ask us to question our appetites for, and entitlements to, the inner lives of those who entertain us. Arriving in UK cinemas on 3 July we are thrilled that we are able to offer this fantastic film to Cinema For All members from 14 August.



It’s just a few weeks till Sheffield Doc/Fest and so we’re celebrating all things documentary! We have a huge variety of documentaries available on the Booking Scheme, whether its amazing true stories, riveting exposes or triumphant tales of human endeavour documentaries offer an essential look at the human experience and a valuable addition to any community cinema programme.

Don’t forget! Cinema For All members are eligible for a discount on the Doc Lovers pass – just £40 for access to all the documentary screenings at Doc/Fest. Find out more here.

Here’s a quick look at some highlights of our catalogue but you can find many more here.

The Possibilities are Endless –  Using a uniquely cinematic technique this film about the slow recovery of Edwyn Collins, the Scottish singer who suffered a massive stroke, is an immersive, startling and beautiful piece of work. The first half of the film depicts Edwyn’s faltering progress – the images and sounds are otherworldly, broken and confusing. But as the film goes on things become clearer, more purposeful; Edwyn’s recovery allows him to start playing music again and works his way up to gigging again.

Benda Bilili! – An audience favourite and one of the most exciting and uplifting documentaries in recent memory. Telling the story of the meteoric rise of Staff Benda Bilili – a band made up of impoverished paraplegics who ride custom wheelchairs and a teenager – who became a global sensation. Filmed over 5 years the filmmakers themselves become personally involved in supporting the band as they prepare for their first international gigs. A tremendously inspiring film.

20 Feet From Stardom

20 Feet From Stardom – The Oscar winner in 2014, 20 Feet From Stardom tells the story of the back-up singers and performers, who while crucial to many an artist’s show, are always in the background, rarely championed or properly appreciated. Who are these performers and what are their lives really like?

A Man Vanishes – A groundbreaking, genre breaking mystery – Shohei Imamura’s landmark documentary starts out as a investigation into why so many Japanese men disappear without trace. The filmmakers are soon derailed when they meet Yoshi who implores them to help her track down her fiancee, Tadashi, who disappeared two years ago. While Yoshi’s motivations become increasingly suspect, Imamura throws things further off kilter by focusing on the act of filmmaking itself, causing the viewer to question how much of what they are seeing is real, and what is constructed.

The Moo Man

The Moo Man – Superbly charming, lo-fo, and eye-opening, The Moo Man follows Stephen Hook, an organic raw milk father. Hook is passionate about traditional farming methods and delivering healthy product but he struggles against the economic pressures of subsisdised mass produced milk. Hook’s determination and principles are inspiring but the film’s true triumph is in showing us the remarkable relationship between Stephen and his herd – particularly Ida, his favourite heffer.

The Missing Picture – This Oscar nominated documentary explores the director’s experiences of life under the Khmer Rouge. Mixing archive footage with hand-made clay figures to recreate scenes never filmed or where footage has since been lost, this is a deeply personal and affecting portrait of life under dictatorship.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Exit Through the Gift Shop – The infamous and elusive Banksy turns documentary on its head in this twisty, unusual tale that leaves the viewer baffled, suspicious but undeniably entertained. A french amateur graffiti artist Thierry Guetta- inept and rather uninspiring, is determined to meet his idol: Banksy. He sets out with camera in tow to do just that, but when he finds him Banksy turns the camera on Guetta instead. Eventually Guetta becomes a celebrated artist of his: Mr Brainwash, but the possibility that Guetta’s career is in fact a project of Banksy’s is unshakable. As Mr Brainwash’s star rises, so to does the impression that he is a fraud, a non-artist who has only got where he because of Banksy’s manipulation.

The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden – A thrilling stranger than fiction story of an island paradise that ended in murder, deceit and disappearances. Dr Ritter and his lover Dore Strauch arrived on an uninhabited island in the Galapagos in the 1930s; their desire, to escape civilised life. At first their lives were satisfied but their solitude was interrupted by the arrival of new islanders. The irony for the doctor and Dore is that it was their own writings, sold to newspapers around the world, that attracted the visitors who were to destroy the utopia. The first arrivals were the Wittmers, a stoic but civil family who lived in uneasy truce with the Ritters. But it was the arrival of the self-declared “Baroness”, a larger than life femme-fatale that would lead to the astonishing and disastrous fate of the island.


Meanwhile  there’s plenty of great documentaries to look forward to at Doc/Fest including Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence, a follow-up to The Act of Killing; Orion,: The Man Who Would Be King, a British doc about Jimmy Ellis, a man with the voice of Elvis who found fame once he hid behind an alter ego: Orion; and The Russian Woodpecker a blend of Soviet history, the Chernobyl disaster an eccentric artist and a terrifying, yet plausible conspiracy theory.


Sci-fi on the Booking Scheme!

With the BFI’s new season Sci-fi: Days of Fear and Wonder kicking off this September we’re taking a look at the Sci-fi films available on the Booking Scheme. Sci-fi can be both a vision into the unknown and a filter through which we can view our own world. It’s an inventive and broad genre and we have a great range of films available that represent some of that diversity. So take a look and head here if you’d like to book one.

Another Earth | Mike Cahill | 2011 | USA | 89 mins

On the night that a second Earth is discovered Rhoda Williams crashes a car causing the death of a child. Wracked with guilt she applies to join the delegation that will visit Earth 2 as a means of escaping her trauma. Before she can leave however she tries to make amends with what she’s done. A subtle and moving film that uses the prospect of a second life as a means to explore how we can say goodbye to the one we have.

Battle Royale | Kinji Fukasaku | 2001 | Japan | 121 mins

A classic cult film, adapted from the manga novel, and a huge influence on films like The Hunger Games. Over the top violence, a high-concept dystopian future and taboo subject matter have all ensured Battle Royale’s reputation. But beneath the comical violence and deranged set-pieces is a bitter satire and superb filmmaking. In a near-future Japan saddled with an out of control youth Battle Royale is the yearly culling of the worst behaved schoolkids – who are shipped of to a remote island and told that only one may leave.

Brazil | Terry Gilliam | 1985 | UK | 137 mins

Filming in 1984 and released the year after it’s hard not to compare Brazil with Orwell’s masterpiece – both share a terrifying vision of a dystopian future controlled by a relentless bureaucracy and enforced by shady government agencies but Gilliam’s film is more satirical and surreal. An unassuming clerk, Sam Lowry, is instructed to resolve the problem caused by a ‘humble’ mistake: the cobbler Archibald Buttle is mistaken for the terrorist Archibald Tuttle and subsequently murdered during an interrogation. But Lowry’s investigation is thwarted by endless paperwork and an overly suspicious secret police who identify him as a potential terrorist just for looking into Tuttle.

Death Watch | Bertrand Tavernier | 1980 | France, West Germany | 125 mins

A Glasgow set (and filmed) social-realist sci-fi tale stars Romy Schneider as Katherine Mortenhoe – a woman who is diagnosed with a rare fatal disease. In a society that has cured almost all illnesses – and where elderly people are taken to die in secluded homes – Katherine’s mortality makes her a celebrity. Desperate TV producers try to buy the rights to make a reality TV show of her last days but Katherine refuses. A particularly determine TV exec (Harry Dean Stanton) convinces Roddy, a cameraman, to have a camera installed in his eye so that Katherine can be filmed against her will.

The Day the Earth Stood Still | Robert Wise | 1951 | USA | 88 mins

A certified classic The Day The Earth Stood Still is a powerful statement on the dangerous conjunction of man’s persistent wars and ever more powerful technology. The citizens of Earth are stunned by the sudden arrival of an alien spaceship. The ship is occupied by only two beings – a humanoid Klaatu and his robot guard. Klaatu is a peaceful emissary who declares he has an important message that he must deliver to all the world leaders. But the United States government reacts with suspicion and after Klaatu is injured they attempt to hold him captive until they reach a decision. Klaatu escapes and sets about learning what he can about the human race before delivering his terrifying warning.

The Fly | Kurt Neumann | 1958 | USA | 89 mins

Andre Delambre – a talented and daring scientist is working with his wife on a matter- transportation device, or teleporter. His initial experiments proving successful Andre decides to build a human sized set of telepods. Eager to deliver a new, instantaneous form of transportation that would change the world Andre decides to test the teleporter. But at the moment he turns the teleporter on a small fly enters the telepod…

Fantastic Voyage | Richard Fleischer | 1966 | USA | 96 mins

In a futuristic twist on the cold war both the Soviet Union and the United States have  discovered how to minaturise people – but only for a short period of time. The one man who knows the secret to indefinite shrinking is Jan Benes – who is held captive behind the Iron Curtain. During a rescue attempt Benes is left dying from a blood clot – the only way to save him is to save him from the inside. A  team of scientists are shrunk down and sent inside Benes blood stream to remove the clot but they only have an hour to complete their mission.

Metropolis | Fritz Lang | 1927 | Germany | 149 mins

One of the earliest and most iconic sci-fi features – Metropolis is finally available in its full version. Remastered and restored featuring its original soundtrack (after a Freddie Mercury scored cut appeared in the 70s) there has never been a better time to revel in the astounding scope of Metropolis. In a futuristic city sharply divided by economic class the son of a rich businessman falls for the prophet of the working classes who envisions a future where the poor will rise up from the underground city they work in.

Planet of the Apes | Franklin J. Schaffner |1968 | USA | 107 mins

A spaceship crew deep in hibernation crash land on an unknown planet where a species of sentient apes have enslaved the human race. The humans on this planet are pre-civilised and lack basic language – the apes are stunned therefore to find a group of intelligent humans. Featuring one of the most iconic endings in all of cinema The Planet of the Apes is a bona-fide classic and has inspired numerous sequels, remakes and re-imaginings, but none match the quality of the original.

Prometheus | Ridley Scott | 2012 | USA, UK |  119 mins

Ridley Scott returns to the Alien universe (sort of) in this ambitious sci-fi thriller. A team of scientists working for the Weyland Corporation are sent to a distant planet to investigate signs of an ancient civilisation. What they discover is far beyond their expectations and seems to indicate the origins of life in the universe.

Sunshine | Danny Boyle | 2007 | UK, USA | 103 mins

Danny Boyle’s intense and claustrophobic thriller sees a small crew of astronauts dispatched to reignite the dying sun with a fusion bomb before the Earth becomes too cold for life. A small mishap on the way leaves the ship out of direct contact with Earth and the isolation affects the crew in different ways. Paranoia, stress and anxiety threaten to derail the expedition.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man | Shin’ya Tsukamoto |1989 | Japan | 64 mins
Also including short – Adventures of Electric Rod Boy

A man with a compulsion for sticking metal into his body is run over by a businessman. Fearing the damage to his reputation this killing would trigger the businessman dumps the body in a ravine believing the metal man to be dead. But over the next few days he discovers his skin his slowly turning into scrap metal as the ‘iron man’ seeks revenge. A surreal and visionary film that has drawn comparisons to Lynch and Cronenberg.

Tetsuo II: Body Hammer | Shin’ya Tsukamoto | 1992 | 83 mins 
Also including short – Adventures of Electric Rod Boy

In this re-imagining of Tetsuo a Japanese salaryman transforms himself into a cybernetic weapon after his son is kidnapped by a gang. While seeking revenge on the thugs the man discovers he is part of a wider experiment into creating a perfect soldier. The 47 minute short film Adventures of Electric Rod Boy is a bout a young boy who is bullied at school because he happens to have a electric rod growing out of his back.

A Trip to the Moon | Georges Mélièes | 1902 | France | 13 mins +
The Extraordinary Voyage | Serge Bromberg & Eric Lange | 2011 | 60 mins

Georges Méliès’ short is widely considered to be the first example of sci-fi and had an extraordinary impact of filmmaking. The film details a group of men who travel to the moon. They first crash into the eye of the man in the moon – one of cinema’s most enduring images, and are then captured by the moon’s inhabitants.
The documentary The Extraordinary Voyage details the creation of the short as well as its influence. Original soundtrack by Air.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea | Irwin Allen | 1961 | USA | 100 mins

Admiral Nelson takes a new nuclear submarine through its paces – after diving to the bottom of the sea the submarine, the Seaview, surfaces and discovers the sky around the earth is burning. Upon their return the crew learn that the Van Allen Radioation Belt that surrounds the earth has caught fire and will boil the oceans if the fire is not extinguished. It is determined that the fire could be dissipated by a nuclear bomb fired at the centre of the flames. The location is right over the Marianas Trench and the Seaview is deployed in a race against time to reach the launch point before the heat kills the planet. Their journey is beset by sea monsters and saboteurs who want to sea the end of the world.

The Wall | Julian Pölsler | 2012 | Austria, Germany | 103 mins

Die Wand

A low-key sci-fi fable, The Wall is more concerned with emotion and character than spectacle or technology. A woman goes on a holiday with two friends to a remote cabin. One morning her companions drive into town to get some supplies. By the afternoon they have not returned and the woman becomes concerned. Heading out on the road she suddenly and inexplicably encounters a forcefield that prevents her from getting any further. She realises she is trapped alone surrounded by an invisible wall and must adapt to fend for herself. Life beyond the wall appears frozen and the woman must learn to live with solitude.

Woman in the Moon | Fritz Lang | 1929 | Germany | 163 mins

The first serious science-fiction feature film Lang made the most of contemporary scientific theory at the time to make his film as accurate as possible. Though mistakes were made (the film used Peter Hansen’s theory that the far side of the moon would have a breathable atmosphere) the film is nevertheless remarkable. A team of corporate spies force themselves into a scientific exploration because of rumours that the Moon is full of gold. Their interference in the mission threatens to jeopardise the whole crew once they land on the moon. Available now thanks to a sublime restoration from Eureka.

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a hijacking

What’s your film of the year?

Relaunched last year the Film Society Film of the Year Award celebrates the most popular film among film society and community cinema audiences. Voted for by community exhibitors across the UK the award is presented at our annual Film Society of the Year Awards.

We invite all community exhibitors and their audience to nominate their favourite film from the 2013/14 season and the film with the most votes will be awarded the Film Society Film of the Year. The only restriction is that the film must have been shown at your community cinema after 1st September 2013. To register your vote click here.

This year’s ceremony will take place on the 27 September during the Cinema For All National Conference. To book your place check out our Eventbrite page here.

Last year Untouchable was the winner, after proving to be a huge hit with audiences up and down the country. The  multi award-winning French drama was based on the true story of Phillippe Pozzo di Borgi, a businessmen who was left severely paralysed after a para-gliding accident and who hires a young man from the projects to be his carer – against the advice of his family. The directors, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, sent in a lovely video message accepting the award and thanking community cinemas for supporting the film.

The last year has seen a tremendous number of great films screened across the community cinema sector and we can’t wait to find out which ones have been the favourites. To get you thinking about your favourite film we’ve selected several highlights below – but don’t forgot to tell us which was your Film Society Film of the Year!

A Hijacking | Tobias Lindholm | Denmark | 2012 | 99 mins

Arriving several months before Hollywood’s own piracy drama Captain Philips, A Hijacking is a perfectly crafted, achingly tense hostage thriller. When the crew of the MV Rosen are taken hostage by Somalian pirates the CEO of the shipping company lurches into a protracted and exasperating negotiation process. While he tries to resolve the situation the crew of the ship suffer in cramped and humid conditions with the threat of a violence constantly hanging over them.

No | Pablo Larrain | 2012 | Chile, France, USA | 118 mins

A Booking Scheme smash hit, No stars Gael Garcia Bernal in the final part of Pablo Larrain’s loose Pinochet trilogy. Bernal is Saavedra an advertising executive who is reluctantly convinced to take on the No campaign in the upcoming referendum on Pinochet’s continuing presidency. Though the election was widely viewed as a corrupt and empty show of the democratic process the No campaign very quickly picks up a startling level of support and the possibility of ending Pinochet’s dictatorship starts to seem within sight.

The Great Beauty | Paolo Sorrentino | 2013 | Italy, France | 135 mins

Winner of the Foreign Language at this year’s Oscar ceremony, Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film is a sumptuous and glorious achievement. Toni Servillo, Sorrentino’s regular collaborator stars as Jep Gambardella, a talented but lazy writer who after a phenomenal debut novel has neglected his art and set about dominating Rome’s decadent nightlife. On the cusp of his 65th birthday though he begins to take stock of his life and of his city.

Gloria | Sebastian Lelio | 2013 | Chile | 110 mins

Receiving a rapturous reception on the festival circuit, particularly for Paulina Garcia, the eponymous Gloria, Sebastian Lelio’s film is a triumphant celebration of the indefatigable Gloria. Divorced and with her grown up kids growing distant Gloria is determined not to remain alone and starts attending Santiago’s nightclubs. She soon meets a retired naval officer Rodolfo with whom she shares an immediate attraction. But Rodolfo’s own divorce has left him markedly less free-spirited than Gloria and their relationship starts to falter.

Gravity | Alfonso Cuaron | 2013 | USA, UK | 88 mins

Alfonso’s Cuaron’s space disaster was equally adored for its photo-real special effects which allowed for one of the most immersive space-set films ever, and it’s crucial central performance from Sandra Bullock. Eschewing the stereotype that films so reliant on special effects skimp on strong characters, Bullock’s Dr Stone is the perfect anchor around which the action circles. Kicking off with a jaw-dropping 20 minute take, Gravity starts with a routine spacewalk that turns into a desperate fight for survival when a satellite crash leaves Stone stranded in space.

Philomena | Stephen Frears | 2013 | UK, USA, France | 97 mins

Telling the true story of Philomena Lee and her 50 year search for the son that was forcibly adopted from her Philomena was one of the most successful British films this year. Judi Dench stars as Philomena whose son was given up for adoption by the convent that she went to to give birth. Working on her own Philomena spent nearly 50 years searching for her son until her daughter contacted the journalist Martin Sixsmith who agreed to help Philomena with the search. Their investigation takes them to America and where they encounter a series of dramatic revelations.

The Act of Killing | Joshua Oppenheimer | 2012 | Denmark, Norway, UK | 115/159 mins


A surreal, unforgettable documentary that gets at the very question of man’s capacity for evil, Oppenheimer’s extraordinary film raises pertinent and uncomfortable questions. When his attempts to document the stories of the survivors of the Indonesian genocide were thwarted by the government Oppenheimer turned the camera on the perpetrators themselves, many of whom remain in positions of power. Startlingly comfortable talking about the horrific actions they undertook Oppenheimer plays on their love of American movies and invites them to re-enact their actions in the style of their favourite films. In the process the killers inadvertently force themselves to see their actions from the viewpoint of their victims.

Like Father, Like Son | Hirokazu Kore-eda | 2013 | Japan | 121 mins

Two families are notified by the hospital that their children were accidentally swapped at birth, 6 years before. The hospital recommends they slowly reintroduce their son’s to their biological families. The fable-like set-up allows Kore-eda to contrast different styles of upbringing – Ryota is a wealthy but strict father while Yudai struggles to keep his shop open but keeps his large family constantly entertained. While the parents try to determine what the best outcome is the children get on with enjoying their new extended families. A rewarding and touching drama with a huge heart.

The Selfish Giant | Clio Barnard | 2013 | UK | 87 mins

Updating Oscar Wilde’s story to working class England, The Selfish Giant is a brilliant social-realist tale. Arbor and Swifty are two working class kids who are expelled from school after Arbor intercedes in a fight between Swifty and the school bullies. The expulsion gives them more times to pursue their hobby/job – stealing scrap metal to sell to the terrifying dealer Kitten, who inhabits a fenced off scrap heap. Kitten spies an opportunity to take advantage of the kids who are forced to rely on him for much needed cash.

Make your nomination for the Film Society Film of the Year Award here – and we hope to see you in Sheffield in September!

Trouble in Paradise: The Galapagos Affair

Opening in cinemas this Friday, The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden is an engrossing and mysterious documentary about the ill-fated community that was established on the small island of Floreana in the early 1930s. This strange and lurid tale contains at its heart a mystery that has never been solved. The Galapagos Affair will be available from the Cinema For All Booking Scheme from 8 August, just two weeks after its cinema release! Preview discs will also be available for film society and community cinema programmers – get in touch if you are interested!

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A New Wave of Booking Scheme Titles

We’re very excited to now have 18 new titles available to book now on the Booking Scheme from our new partnership with New Wave Films! We’ll also be adding two more from them in the coming months, An Episode in the Life of an Iron picker will be available to book from the 14 July and When I Saw You (which we will be showing at the Booking Scheme Preview Day) will be available to book from the 25 August.
The collection includes a varied collection of some of the most highly regarded world cinema of recent years.

Here’s a quick round-up of what’s on offer:

5 Broken Cameras | Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi | Pal, Isr, Fra, Net | 2011 | 94 mins
Available now

Winning the Audience Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2012 and nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2013, 5 Broken Cameras follows a Palestinian farmer, Emad Burnat, and his non-violent resistance in the face of the Israeli army. Using footage collected over 5 years and 5 different cameras, 5 Broken Cameras documents first-hand the violence and intimidation witnessed against people living near the barrier.

A Christmas Tale | Arnaud Desplechin | France | 2008 | 150 mins
Available now

Junon, the matriarch of a bitter, feuding family learns she needs an urgent bone transplant and so, over Christmas, brings the family together. Amidst tensions involving mental illness, loss and banishment, the Vuillard family learn of Junon’s illness, but the decision about who will donate, and whether to go ahead with the operation, sparks bitter rivalries, arguments and tremendous fallings out. Cannes favourite Arnaud Desplechin, directs Catherine Deneuve and Mathieu Almaric in this dark comedy. The question really is, who will give their mother the greatest gift this Noel?

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker | Danis Tanovic | Bosnia & Herzegovnia, France, Slovenia | 2013 | 75 mins
Available 25 August

A poor Roma family faces further troubles when the mother Seneda is told she needs an urgent operation after a miscarriage but they lack medical insurance and can’t afford the hospital bills. Tanovic makes use of non-professional actors who are playing out an episode from their own lives.

Caesar Must Die | Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani | Italy | 2012 | 76 mins
Available now
The latest film from the Taviani brothers, who have been making films for over 60 years, Caesar Must Die picked up the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2012. The film tells the story of preparations for a performance of Julius Caesar inside a high security male prison. As Shakespeare’s play is recreated on the stage, it is also given life in the experiences and memories of the prisoners.

Elena | Andrey Zyvagintsev | Russia | 2011 | 109 mins
Available now
Elena is the dutiful housewife of Vladimir. Elena and Vladimir met later in life and both have children from previous marriages. They come from drastically different backgrounds and Elena’s marriage has brought her financial security. When Vladimir has a sudden heart attack he finds himself reunited with his estranged daughter and, in a surprise move, rewrites his will to give everything to her. Elena starts to panic for her part in the will which she has been counting on to ensure she can support her unemployed son, whom Vladimir hates. Winning the 2011 award for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, Elena is a daring film about familial ties.

How I Ended This Summer | Aleksey Popogrebskiy | Russia | 2010 | 130 mins
Available now

Existential thriller How I Ended This Summer won the BFI Film Festival Film of the Year Award in 2010. Recent graduate Pavel and seasoned meteorologist Sergei have to work at a polar station on a desolate and deserted island in the Arctic Ocean along together for several months. Almost abandoned on this remote outpost, with failing equipment and an unclear purpose paranoia and suspicion mounts, and the two start to hold important information back from each other.

In The Fog | Sergey Loznitsa | Bel, Lat, Rus, Ger, Net | 2012 | 127 mins
Available now
At the Western Frontiers of the USSR in 1942, the region is under German occupation. Sushenya, a rail worker, is arrested with a group of suspected saboteurs and is the only one that is spared from hanging. His survival draws suspicion from the resistance fighters who believe he is a traitor and plot revenge. In the continual unexpected twist of events Sushenya is forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances.

Le Quattro Volte | Michelangelo Frammartino | Ita, Ger, Swi | 2010 | 88 mins
Available now

Le Quattro Volte quietly tells the story of the last days of an old shepherd who lives with his goats in a medieval village in the beautiful south of Italy. The passing of time and life is told through beautiful imagery and wavering between drama and comedy.

Like Someone in Love | Abbas Kiarostami | Fra, Jap | 2012 | 109 mins
Available now
Only Kiarostami’s second film to be made outside Iran, Like Someone in Love is set in Tokyo and concerns the relationship between an elderly professor and a young prostitute over the course of a day. Though he has hired her Takeshi has no interest in sleeping with Akiko but solely in having some company. Nevertheless Akiko’s jealous boyfriend is determined to confront Takeshi.

The Missing Picture | Rithy Panh | Cambodia, France | 2013 | 92 mins
Available now
This Oscar nominated documentary explores the director’s experiences of life under the Khmer Rouge. Mixing archive footage with hand-made clay figures to recreate scenes never filmed or footage since lost, this is a deeply personal and affecting portrait of life under dictatorship.

Nostalgia for the Light | Patricio Guzmán | Chile | 2010 | 157 mins
Available now

The Atacama Desert in Chile sees two distinct groups of people searching; one is a group of astronauts looking for answers in the cosmos, the other is a group of mothers, survivors of Pinochet’s dictatorship, searching for the bodies of their loved ones who may or may not have been buried in the desert. A stunning documentary, full of hallucinatory images and rare insight.

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia | Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Turkey, Bosnia & Herzegovnia | 2011 | 157 mins
Available now
Over the course of one long night a convoy of policeman, a medical examiner and the state prosecutor escort two prisoners over the Anatolian steppes. The prisoners have confessed to murder but are reticent about giving away the location of the body. It is not clear if they are simply forgetful, lost or trying to buy themselves times. As the night wears on the mystery deepens but Ceylan’s focus is on the effects of the crime on those who surround it than with the crime itself. A masterful, entrancing film.

Silence | Pat Collins | Ireland, Germany | 2012 | 87 mins
Available now
Eoghan is a sound recordist who is tasked with recording background noise devoid of any man-made sounds. To do so he returns to rural Ireland where he grows up and travels around the countryside. Along the way he encounters others and is drawn into considering his own past: why he left and what he left behind.

Sleep Furiously | Gideon Koppel | UK | 2008 | 94 mins
Available now

Koppel’s documentary is a loving study of the small town in Ceredigion where he grew up – and where his parents found refuge from the Nazi’s in World War 2. The town is in slow decline and the instigator for the film is the closing of the local school – but Koppel finds many in the town who are still determined to revive the local economy and to preserve their hometown.

Still Walking | Hirokazu Koreeda | Japan | 2008 | 115 mins
Available now
The Yokoyama family reunite at their parents home to commemorate the tragic death of the eldest son. Though the house has stayed the same since the family left home each member of the family has subtly changed. Set over the course of a single day Still Walking is a perfectly performed drama and possibly the best example of Koreeda’s remarkable ability to evoke a powerful and thought-provoking emotional reaction.

Tabu | Miguel Gomes | Portugal, Germany, Brazil, France | 2012 | 118 mins
Available now
A restless retired woman teams up with her deceased neighbor’s maid to seek out a man who has a secret connection to her past life as a farm owner at the foothill of Mount Tabu in Africa.

Uncle Bonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives | Apichatpong Weeasethakul | Thailand, France, UK, Germany | 2010 |  114 mins
Available now

As he lies dying on his deathbed Uncle Bonmee relates the story of his many past lives to his loved ones. In his last days he is cared for by the ghost of his wife. A strange, wonderful and entirely original film Uncle Bonmee was the recepient of the Palme D’Or in 2010.

Unrelated | Joanna Hogg | UK | 2007 | 100 mins
Available now
Unhappily married Anna escapes on holiday with her friends, Verena and George to Tuscany. Once in Tuscany Anna chooses instead to spend most of her time with Verena and George’s teenage children. Though initially welcoming the children turn against her after a chance accident. Hogg is justly celebrated for her razor sharp depictions of the middle classes and her talents are perfectly formed in this debut feature.

The Wall | Julian Pölsler | Austria, Germany | 2012 | 108 mins
Available now
A woman is staying in a cabin in the woods with two friends. When they fail to return from a trip to town she sets out to find out where they are. Near the cabin she is stopped by an invisible wall and soon discovers she is trapped alone in the outdoors. With only her dog for company the woman must learn to fend for herself. An adaptation of Marlen Haushofer’s seminal novel.

When I Saw You | Annemarie Jacir | Palestine, Jordan, Greece, UAE | 2012 | 98 mins
Available 25 August 2014
Set in 1967 in the refugee camps in Jordan, Tarek, 11, is one of many Palestinians who have fled across the border to escape the fighting. Tarek struggles to adapt to life in the camp and longs for a way out – and to search for his father. His curiosity leads him to a group of people who are refusing to give up hope of returning home and with them Tarek finds a new purpose. An optimistic and tender coming of age story, When I Saw You has drawn rave reviews and is sure to be a hit with community cinema audiences.

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Cinema of Childhood – available for a limited time!

The Cinema of Childhood is a special season of films presented by Mark Cousins and Filmhouse. Sparked in large by Cousins’ documentary A Story of Children and Film and the fact that many of the films Cousins featured were either unavailable in the UK or remained rarely seen; Cinema of Childhood is both a celebration of children in world cinema and a rare opportunity to screen some fantastic films. Many of the films made available through the season are only available for a very limited time and BFFS is thrilled to be able to offer 11 of these titles for non-theatrical screenings thanks to Filmhouse. Here we present an introduction to each of the films available. Don’t miss this chance to introduce some wonderful, poetic and joyous family films to your community cinema.

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