As 2014 winds to a close we take a look back at what has been a fantastic year for the Cinema For All Booking Scheme. With several new distributors joining the scheme and loads of new titles it’s been a bumper year for bookings and we’re hugely grateful to all the film societies and community cinemas who have helped make the scheme such a success. But what were the most popular films 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!
We’ve three exclusive clips from the critically acclaimed Gloria for you to watch.
After preview screenings and Q&As last week Gloria hits cinemas nationwide this Friday on the back of a huge publicity campaign (just look at the Guardian Film homepage today) and has been drawing rave reviews across the board.
Centring on a middle aged female protagonist, Gloria is a rare delight, a film that shows that life doesn’t end at 50 and in the eponymous Gloria features a charming, flawed and entirely relatable character. Divorced and with her kids having left home Gloria chooses to throw herself back into life and make the most of her freedom. She starts dating Rodolfo, a retired naval officer, also divorced whom she meets at a nightclub. Although initially the relationship gets of to a good start Rodolfo hasn’t shaken off his ties to his ex-wife and remains stridently committed to his two daughters, whom he jumps to at every call. Though frustrated and disappointed, Gloria never loses her optimism, her free spiritedness, her sense of humour.
Paulina García is the star of the film and given that Gloria is told entirely from her perspective the success of the film rests significantly on her shoulders. Though hardly known outside of Chilean television García is a revelation here and sure to add many more Best Actress awards to her Berlin Film Festival prize. Watch an interview with García here.
Chile’s official entry to the Academy Awards expectations are high that Gloria could follow in No‘s footsteps and become the second Chilean film to be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. From the same producers as No, Gloria continues a growing trend of international recognition of contemporary Chilean cinema and is likely to replicate No‘s successes at the box office.
As with the release of No in February this year BFFS is again working with Network Releasing to make Gloria available to community cinemas and film societies as close to the theatrical release as possible. Released theatrically this Friday 1 November, Gloria is available to screen exclusively through the BFFS Booking Scheme from 22 November, well in advance of its DVD release in February.
To book the film send a booking form to firstname.lastname@example.org or to our office address. Network Releasing will also provide posters to groups screening the film!
The BFFS National Conference is over and what a fantastic weekend it was! As a follow-up to last week’s post about the films we were screening at the conference I’m going to take a quick look at: why we screened the films we did; what the reactions to the films were, and booking information for those who want to screen the titles in their venue.
How we pick the films
The films screened at the National Conference are selected to serve several purposes. On the one hand we try to preview forthcoming titles that gives community cinema programmers the opportunity to preview titles ahead of release to help with programming. We also try to highlight Booking Scheme titles – this isn’t a strict rule but for the most part we will usually screen a majority of our own titles.
Then there is the consideration of supporting the film with extra content – this might be a Q&A or a discussion – and we always provide programme notes for each film that includes detailed information about the film as well as words from the filmmakers talking about the making of the film.
Finally we try to pick films that we know are suited to the community sector and which could be overlooked otherwise. So you can always expect documentaries, independent and international cinema as well as short films.
So how did we pick this year’s titles? (click the links to view our programme notes)
Blackfish – Certainly one the year’s best documentaries, Blackfish is a devastating piece of work exposing the the inherent cruelty of keeping killer whales in captivity. It has a tremendous impact raising awareness of these animals’ plights and in engaging viewers to reconsider their views towards places like Seaworld. It has also sparked a wide debate and has seen rebuttals from Seaworld following its release, all of which have benn challenged by the filmmakers.
We were joined for this screening by Patrick Hurley, Distribution Manager at Dogwoof, for a Q&A about the reactions to the film from Seaworld, campaigning organisations and even Pixar, who have altered the plot of the forthcoming Finding Nemo sequel as a result of Blackfish.
Gloria – Gloria is the latest film to be released by Network Releasing, one of our partner distributors, and like No and Out in the Dark before it Network Releasing have made the film available to BFFS Members and Associates as part of an early release window. The screening thus helped allowed us to take advantage of this opportunity and promote it to the membership. The film was also introduced by Jaq Chell, BFFS Operations Manager.
Jaq talked about the legacy of No which we screened as a ‘secret film’ at last year’s conference. No was a huge success for BFFS and has accumulated the most bookings for any BFFS Booking Scheme title. A hugely important film that we were thrilled to help get this film seen by new audiences. Likewise, Jaq explained the importance of Gloria both as Chilean film taking a look at contemporary life in the capital Santiago and as a film anchored around a strong female character, richly detailed and stunningly performed. The lack of strong female characters in mainstream film is well noted but Jaq reinforced the fact with a statistic that only 11% of characters in major films last year were female. It is vital then that films that do focus on independent and unique female characters are seen and that is one of the things that really drew us to Gloria.
Like Father, Like Son – Following the success of I Wish, the most recent film from Hirokazu Kore-eda, we were excited to be able to preview another of his films to delegates. Kore-eda is one of the most consistent directors who has created a string of rich, powerful and human dramas – usually centred around the theme of family. His latest is a delightful and warm-hearted drama that has been picking up buzz since it premièred at Canned Film Festival and won the admiration of Steven Spielberg and the rest of the jury.
We were fortunate to be able to get Alexander Jacoby, a lecturer in contemporary Japanese cinema at Oxford Brookes University to give a talk covering Kore-eda’s career, comparisons with legendary filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu and Kore-eda’s perception of the modern Japanese family. In contemporary Japan families usually only have one child and there is a risk of children being withdrawn due to a lack of social interaction – apart from through technology. Kore-eda’s films, although focused on the same themes and utilising similar motifs and reference points as Ozu’s, offer their own perspective and a rejection of nostalgic perceptions of the past. Jacoby also discussed how Like Father, Like Son examines the nature of family relationships and argues that blood ties as the traditional basis of a family unit is not as important as the relationships that we build up.
The Artist and the Model – The latest film from Oscar-winning director Fernando Trueba, The Artist and the Model is a brand new release from Axiom Films and is a moving portrait of an aging sculptor drawn reinvigorated by his love of art when a fugitive from the Spanish Civil War takes refuge in his studio. It is a film that covers the great themes of life – art, love, death. It is centred on a tremendous performance from the great Jean Rochefort.
Following the film BFFS volunteer and Film Unit Acting Chair Gemma Bird led a lively discussion about the film which debated: whether the sexual content was at odds with the rest of the film; whether or not the war should have played a bigger part in the film, or if the concentration on art was more relevant; the cinematography of the film; and the nature of the characters.
We screened five of the short films included in this collection which covered an astonishing mix of styles and subject including stop-motion animatio in the form of the Oscar nominated Head over Heels, political satire in On This Island and a darkly humorous Icelandic short about a family evicted from their house and forced to live in a box on the roof of a tower block in When Rabbits Fly.
For all the films screened at the National Conference we take a reaction score from the audience. We take a rating from A – E and then workout an overall percentage by scoring each rating. These are the reaction scores for this weekends films:
Blackfish – 88.6%
Encounters Short Films – 66.6%
Gloria – 69.7%
Like Father, Like Son – 88.6%
The Artist and the Model – 72.3%
All of the films received great scores with Blackfish and Like Father, Like Son sharing the highest score. The scoring categories are:
B- Very Good
D – Average
How to screen the films
If you are interested in screening any of these titles the booking information follows:
Network Releasing: DCP | Martin Myers | email@example.com | 07836 360343
BFFS Booking Scheme: DVD (Screen from 22 November) | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0114 2210314
Like Father, Like Son
Verve Pictures: DCP (on release from 18 October) | email@example.com | 020 7436 8001
Verve Pictures: DVD/Blu-ray (screen from January 2014) | firstname.lastname@example.org | 020 7436 8001
The Artist and the Model
Encounters Short film Collection
BFFS: DVD | email@example.com | 01142 210314
More information here
We’re all hands on deck getting prepared for the BFFS National Conference and Film Society of the Year Awards which unfortunately means I’ve been neglecting the blog a little, so in light of that, here’s a rundown of the new titles on the scheme, and a look at the films you’ll be able to preview at the National Conference. Continue reading