“I have used the expression “gobsmacked” over the years, but now I actually know how it feels!”
David Saitch from Hurst Village Cinema attended this year’s annual Community Cinema National Conference in Sheffield, which hosts the Cinema for All Awards. A surprise was in store…
As part of the conference, Cinema for All hosts the annual Film Society of the Year awards and we were very pleased to be awarded a Distinction in the Best Marketing and Publicity category.
That may not sound the most exciting award going, but I am always very pleased to get recognition for the quality of the work we do to market the Village Cinema, as that takes up more time and effort than actually showing films!
Then they got to the two most prestigious Awards, the first being the Roebuck Cup, a personal award given to someone who has made a significant contribution to the Community Cinema movement as a whole. Listening idly to the citation they were reading and wondering who the winner was, my jaw suddenly fell to the floor and I felt Mike pat me on the shoulder, as the penny dropped that they were talking about me. I have used the expression “gobsmacked” over the years, but now I actually know how it feels.
The awards announcement
“The Roebuck Cup is awarded to those remarkable individuals who are involved in the starting of many film societies, keeping the ideal of Cinema For All going, and supporting the movement in all sorts of ways, often over many years. It was donated by Charles Roebuck, a life-long cinema enthusiast and national officer of the British Federation of Film Societies.
Names have been engraved upon the Roebuck Cup since 1979 – men and women who have given that extra something to the film society sector.
This year’s award goes to someone who is deeply involved in today’s film society and community cinema community – known to many for his attendance at this event, year after year, his continual support of groups all over the country is and his willingness to intervene directly to give another community cinema a much needed hand, whenever it is needed. He has been running his own group for many years, bringing great cinema to his community in West Sussex. Several years ago he set up the UK Film Societies Facebook page to bring you all together to share your successes, challenges and knowledge.”
Katie Brandwood of Stanley’s Film Club said:
“We are indebted to David for enabling us to get back on our feet after losing access to our equipment, along with our long-term venue. In a response to a plea for help on the UK Film Societies group in May 2017, David arranged for the spare projector at his own film society, the Hurst Village Cinema, to be given to us on extended loan, going out of his way to handover the projector in a matter of hours.
Paired with a screen lent by Brad Scott at Forest Row Film Society, this high spec equipment package made it possible for us to continue our screenings, minimising disruption to the momentum of our activities. It saved us precious time and resources in sourcing alternative equipment, meaning we were able to focus on rebuilding the club into its former sustainable self.”
Cinema For All’s Jaq Chell said:
“This year’s Roebuck Cup winner truly upholds the values of Cinema For All. His love and support of the movement goes beyond the limits of his own community, and his passion for being part of the bigger picture has impacted more individuals than I think he knows. I am utterly delighted that Cinema For All can recognise his commitment today, as he inspires us all to stay connected.”
I was utterly shocked, but obviously delighted and honoured, to be included among those who have contributed in some way to the growth and success of the Community Cinema movement.
I’m so pleased that my peers think that my efforts to bring community cinemas and film societies closer together have succeeded, but if I am perfectly honest, they wouldn’t have succeeded without the generosity of spirit in the community cinema movement as a whole, who have bought into what I was trying to do and have picked it up and run with it.
About the conference
The Community Cinema National Conference is very valuable in that it offers us the chance to meet fellow community cinemas to network and share experiences. It also gives us the chance to meet industry professionals and academics to hear about changes and trends and to get insight into potential screening options we may not have been aware of. There is a excellent range of masterclasses, panel sessions and film screenings to choose from.