Moviola's Strengths of Community Cinema


Twenty top strengths of community cinema from the Moviola Members: 


1.The Social Experience

Bringing people together, getting people out of their houses, providing an occasion for the lonely or isolated.


2. Ambience

Quality catering, open fire in a couple of venues, the contrast with cinemas, while aiming for best features of professional cinema (excellent and large picture, good sound). As one attendees termed it: “Grown up cinema”. No phones or chatter or disruption from sweet packets.


3. Welcomes & Thank Yous

Warm welcome at the door and a thank you on the way out. Many people reminisced ‘just like the old days of the Odeon manager in his DJ’. Marks you out as different and better than the soul-less multiplex.


4. Value for money

Remind people that their ticket price gets them a great evening out not just a film, which of course they can see at home but also support for the community, no outlay on transport (petrol, parking), security and convenience.


5. The Community

The film show supports the community, keeps cash inside the community - footfall where tickets are sold (Post Office, shop), pub takings go up on show nights, profits from shows go into improving the village hall or supporting other local charities.


6. Sense of ownership/pride in local cinema.

The film night is a regular and embedded part of the monthly/fortnightly/weekly local calendar.


7. Take part in choosing films

Audiences have some say in choosing the films. Some venues have ‘selection evenings’ with a glass or two of wine where the Moviola Menu DVD is shown and people use a voting slip. Other venues do a pre-selection of perhaps 10 films from the Menu.


8. Cheap, responsive, accessible

Three possibly important words to describe the service – though ‘cheap’ may not convey the correct connotation. Responsive to the needs of the local audience. Accessible both in terms of disability and also being local.


9. Knowledge of the audience

The service is successful precisely because the organisers know the audience and responds to its needs.


10. Adaptability

The service can be tailored to suit the audience - and different audiences.


11. Convenience

This is cinema on the doorstep and not involving a trip to a nearby town.


12. Support from regulars

A core of regular attenders who support every film and who trust the programming of the organisers. One Moviola partner does a loyalty card – come to six films, get the seventh free. Various membership schemes are also in existence – some a full advance subscription (of as much as £40) to cover all admissions, some a basic fiver a year which then gets perhaps 50p off a ticket or a range of other privileges and special offers.


13. Safety

An important consideration for older people who do not want to risk attendance at a town cinema.


14. Selling tickets in advance

A strength because it means that the show is not hostage to fortune such as bad weather or even bad news. Customers also know that their seat is guaranteed.


15. Good team

Having a team of hard working volunteers gives you the capacity to develop the cinema service but this team also needs to feel valued, part of the decision making, gets of course free admission and maybe a free drink – this is after all a ‘TEAM’.


16. Moviola’s Yellow Posters

Moviola’s simple, easily & cheaply reproduced but effective A4 posters were identified as a strength in publicising shows (examples of them are attached the this email) and from September these will be available on Moviola’s website for everyone to adapt and use.


17. Owning own equipment

The costs of mounting a show are greatly reduced if you own your own equipment rather than hire it in.

However three things are critical:

  • You need to choose the correct kit for your venue and the best that you can afford,
  • You need to have a team of people trained to operate it,
  • You need to put in place from day one a policy for maintaining and upgrading the kit,

You also need to consider the ‘presentation’ of your show to make it something that will surprise and delight your audience.


18. Shorts

Short films mark out your service as something different from the multiplex experience – a real evening out. Shorts give you a chance to have an interval before your main film – for socialising and for you to sell refreshments which will add to your income. Shorts are a way to vary your programme and to stimulate discussion.


19. Quality of films

Your community cinema can guarantee quality of programme – not of course that everyone will agree with your choice or like all the films. Things that appear to go well in Moviola network programmes include British films, Literature tie-ins/Real life/Biographical. Films from current hit books (for example those in use by reading groups or featured on Radio 4) do well.


20. The existence of our Moviola network 

Being a member of our network is identified as a strength. Moviola is not just a way of booking films. The network can offer all sorts of other advantages most notably the possibility of swapping ideas with like-minded cinema organisers. Being a single village hall cinema means virtually no power to influence film distributors and no fall-back if problems occur.