‘I love the enjoyment it gives to our community and it is so easy to do with all the great support I get.’
Lynne Mckeown, Fillongley Social Club
The Big Picture Show (BPS) enables communities to programme international films in local venues and provides that all important professional support, however, it’s the local promoter groups that bring the essential community spirit! Take Fillongley Social Club; headed up by Lynne Mckeown, they have been with the BPS scheme for near two years and have been getting their local film fans together regularly for an evening screening, a slice of Lynne’s mum’s famous cake and a good, old natter. ‘I enjoy hosting BPS because I love the enjoyment it gives to our community and it is so easy to do with all the great support I get’, says Lynne. In fact, they’re ‘constantly getting new faces and regulars are plenty.’
Without a cinema nearby the scheme is a welcome lifeline for local film aficionados, and everyone has a chance to get involved. ‘Picking films is down to an audience vote. With BPS’s help, we collate about five films on A4 sheets and everyone ticks which film they would like to watch next time.’ Initially, they went down the classic route with films starring everyone’s favourite Dame, Maggie Smith, but have since started to branch out with modern musicals, period dramas and true stories. One of Lynne’s favourites was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She says it ‘contained a rollercoaster of emotions and got everyone talking about it after’, which is always a welcome result, especially with a slice of cake in hand – gluten-free or otherwise!
In the time that they’ve been with the scheme, Lynne hasn’t experimented much with her winning formula but has been careful to listen to what her audience wants and always asks for feedback on how to improve the experience. On their recommendation, she’s changed the position of the chairs for a clearer view of the screen, reduced the number of film choices from 10 to five with more recent films thrown in, as well as increasing screenings to every two months. Organisation aside though, what really makes for a successful event? ‘It’s ensuring that the films connect with the audience and they leave talking about it and wanting another one.’
It’s this emphasis on the audience that has made Fillongley’s film night a success and for anyone planning on getting their own community screening together, Lynne’s salient advice is: ‘Listen to what the community want!’ Her local audience is always grateful for the effort she puts in, which she in turn finds really rewarding. On top of this, it’s a great opportunity for ‘watching films you would never usually go to the cinema to see,’ while still offering that cinematic experience on your doorstep.
Follow Fillongley Social Club here.