Amazingly, it is only a year since we thought it would be fun to show It’s a Wonderful Life to a few people in St Joseph’s Hall. And on Saturday afternoon, we finished our first year by doing it all over again to complete our first year as a community cinema.
In the past year, Balerno Village Screen has flourished to become a true Community Cinema in spite of ready access to local multiplexes just a few minutes away. We think that’s because we value the special atmosphere and convenience of the Village Screen. We’ve learned a huge amount over the year, and our ambition continues to push us to do more than simply show films.
There are so many highlights from the past year – and that’s what drives the volunteers. For us key moments include:
- The Skyfall twin screen extravaganza, with ‘smoking’ Aston Martin, and Casino Royal Cocktails.
- The installation of the surround sound system, letter box screen and drapes in the Ogston Hall.
- Setting up the ‘Mike Blair Super Screen’ in St Joe’s for a tense showing of Argo.
- Finding out how much funnier The Odd Couple is on a big screen.
- The real privilege of viewing extreme travel documentary Janapar in the presence filmmaker Tom Allen
- Our Scottish night for St Andrew’s weekend which included a 30th Anniversary Showing of Local Hero followed by The Angels’ Share on Saturday with some fantastic insight from Paul Laverty who was kind enough to come along and share a dram with us courtesy of Glengoyne Distillery.
We have been very lucky to receive direct support from organisations small and large over our first year:
- Sproul Digital has sorted us out with a brilliant online channel: with online ticket booking, twitter feeds and facebook accounts to complement our website. Many thanks to Mark our digital guru.
- ScotMid were very quick to provide us with early funding, that gave us the quality of equipment that is necessary to do what we do well – they even make a video about us!
- Local small businesses have helped us to connect with our audience: Balerno Post Office and the Mill Café at St Joe’s are instrumental in getting tickets to many of our audience – as with all our supporters, they help us out of a sense community spirit.
- Pactelligence’s Jeff Drever is responsible for the gifting and production of our smart livery.Thanks to James Ringham for his design & patience.
- …and thanks for start-up funding are owed to C&B News, and Edinburgh City Council Pentland Foundation.
Of course our patrons – you, the viewer – make it all possible. Thanks to your donations we can continue to deliver a film weekend every month from September to June. When we started this project, we hoped initially to re-run great films from the past, and not just recent hit movies. Whilst the hits raise much needed funds, we love our film classics, world cinema and independent movies. So for the foreseeable future we will attempt to show a ‘BVS Club’ movie on the Friday and a ‘Blockbuster’ (mainstream movie) on the Saturday. We hope you like our selection.
Where your money goes. We still have quite a way to go to raise funds to continue to improve the film experience in our two halls. Our blackout provision isn’t yet up to scratch; and the seats could be better suited to a longer film. We have maintenance costs, which buy projector consumables, films, licences, and the snacks and drinks that make all the difference: choc-ices appear to be a recent hit/innovation. The facility you have helped to build has supported many good causes in the last year, and is proving to be a really transformational facility for our Village… Of particular note is the animation workshop we ran in late summer, which took around 80 primary school pupils through an animation workshop. The results are fantastic and can be seen online at our website.
A final word of thanks……to our volunteers, and close supporters. Balerno Parish Church has been instrumental in extending their halls to us to use: particular thanks to our ‘can do’ Minister (and film buff) Louise Duncan, and to church warden and all round audio visual guru Derek Charman. However, the people with the widest grins in the room are right now up ladders, boiling water and heating popcorn, sweeping floors, sewing curtains, taking tickets and making sure you are safe and comfortable. A huge thanks for a huge year to Paula, Jen, Jackie, Mark, Smithy, Carol, Jennifer, Carole, Rehana, Martie, Anna, Caroline, Juliette, Ishbel, big Al and others: it’s a wonderful life.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas
Martin Gemmell and Jonathan Wilson