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CanterburyFilmSociety

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 11 months ago

 

Canterbury Film Society is a non-profit incorporated society that aims to screen interesting films (foreign films in particular) which would not otherwise be seen in Christchurch.

 

Canterbury Film Society Website


 

History

 

The Society was formed in 1954, a rival to the Christchurch Film Society. Ngaio Marsh dubbed it 'The Little Film Society' At first, it had eighty members. They met monthly at Walter Craven's 'Miniature Theatre' in Armagh St.

 

Its first programme was:

 

Frenzy - Sweden,

Olivia - France,

Alexander Nevsky - USSR

Nanook of the North - USA,

The Blue Angel - Germany,

Battleship Potempkin - USSR,

Les Amants de Verone - France,

The End of St Petersburg - USSR,

Jour de Fette - France,

 

Until 1968, it screened nine films a year. it aimed to present films of the best artistic quality from as many countries as possible. - in other words: Sex, violence, and subtitles.

 

In 1959 it moved to the Museum Lecture Theatre.

 

But its 16mm projector didn't suit the Movie Club's speaker there.

 

About five years later, two new speakers were installed.

 

In 1960, it hoped to copy Auckland's Cinema 35 Club. It wanted to screen 35mm classics in the Plaza on Sundays. But Kerridge insisted on a capacity audience paying 3/- each. Worse, the City Council wouldn't let non-members attend.

 

The scheme fell through

 

Shortly After, Auckland's club was forced to close.

 

1965 brought crisis

 

The Society tried to form a Sumner branch, but failed. Reserves vanished. So did half the members. (Its AGM couldn't raise a quorum).

 

It crept gingerly through 1966

 

Then, in 1967, John Reid led it into the Students' Association. The Federation bitterly opposed this (as did Reid, later). But the Society stayed, squirming on G1's hard benches, and basking in Ilam's S1

 

Spools fell off projectors, projectionists locked themselves out of their booths, and the QE2 Arts Council Director lost his coat. But membership rose: in 1971 reaching 700. (which scared everyone, so they hid for three years).

 

The Society screened lunchtime films in the Ngaio Marsh Theatre. These were popular. But no one came in 1973 so it stopped them, after giving the theatre an anamorphic lens.

 

In 1974, it returned to the Museum Lecture Theatre, and relaxed in Room A1. It tried to set up a Lincoln College branch, but this collapse, and was transferred, more successfully, to Akaroa for a couple of years.

 

Membership gradually decreased throughout the 70s and 80s. Campus screenings were halted, and when the Museum Lecture Theatre disappeared the society moved across the road and upstairs to the Clock Tower Theatre.

 

With renovations to the Art Centre in the 1990's the Society found itself resident in the new lecture theatre with a purpose built projection booth and tiered seating. The public were not impressed and membership continued to fall even as new art cinemas opened one after another.

 

Due to dwindling numbers and increasing costs, the society went into recess at the end of 1996. Nick Paris, manager of the Lumiere Theatre, resurrected it in 1998 but admitted defeat by the end of the year, and it was not revived until the present group of dedicated volunteers took action for a short season of screenings in 2002. That year saw the society with 30-40 members and a small venue generously provided by Christ’s College.

 

The Society grew to 110 members by 2004, and its primary venue was Creation, on Worcester Blvd behind the Cathedral. This venue was adequate for small turnouts, with the bar being a popular feature, but the venue became unsuitable as the society continued to grow.

 

In 2005, we shifted to Rialto Cinemas for a “trial year” which has been very successful on a number of levels, with society membership growing and a great deal of positive feedback from members regarding the new venue.

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