Plenty has been going on in Tasmania, as Tom Busby and Jim Mansbridge report from Hobart.
The Tasmanian Federation of Film Societies is going from strength to strength, with three new societies being formed within the last year.
The first is at Eaglehawk Neck and centres around their community hall.
The second, at Ross, includes the Campbell Town and Oatlands communities.
The third new society is only a few weeks old and is based in the small town of Sprent.
In all, the Federation has thirteen members.
These range from the very large (Launceston with 1350 members) to the quite modest (Break O’Day with 22 members).
Many types of media are employed – 35 mm and 16 mm film, DVD and video.
The Film Societies (in alphabetical order) that make up the Tasmanian Federation of Film Societies and what they are doing are as follows:
Bass & Flinders (B&F) Film Society continues to operate in conjunction with the Bass & Flinders Centre. Last year the Centre won a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund and makes good use of its larger “cinema” system in the main hall of the B&F Centre. The new system allows the Society to host 60 to 70 members at the same meal/showing, without the patrons having to move from the dining area to the theatre. This has greatly improved the evenings which have become a very popular monthly community event. Currently the society screens once a month and membership has grown to approximately 185 members.
Break O’Day Film Society is the smallest Tasmanian film society with 22 members. However, it has continued with this level of membership for some years, and DVDs are shown monthly that are unlikely to be shown on television. The local cinema, which operated for some five years, has now gone out of business, finding that even the latest releases did not attract enough commercial patronage.
Bridport Film Society has weekly screenings. They are a ‘digital projection’ society, although the VHS format will not last much longer. Operating in the RSL premises at Bridport, the target market has been the ‘Older Generation’.
Bruny Island Film Society, has been operating for 10 years, has 35 members. There are two programmes per month in the Summer and one in Winter. There is also a German Film Festival each year which has been very popular.
Eaglehawk Neck Film Society was formed in July of 2010 as part of the Eaglehawk Neck Community Hall Association Inc. It has separate evenings for family, popular and older films. The concept has been well received and there are about 100 members. The society shows four films per month on the first and third Fridays & Saturdays.
Hobart Film Society screens DVDs and 16 mm films (with the occasional video) at the Philip Smith Centre. Films are screened on Monday and Wednesday of one week followed by a Tuesday screening on the next week. The Monday night screenings allow members access to lesser-known films. Membership is around 300.
King Island Film Society has 38 members, having one screening per month. A drop in membership has caused the committee to rethink their screening programme.
Launceston Film Society, with 1350 members, is probably still the largest film society in Australia. The local Village cinemas are used for 35 mm screenings. Launceston did a poll of members with 83% saying they are satisfied with the programmes, which consist of mainly recent releases (including some foreign films), but not films already screened commercially. The society has introduced ‘Smart-Card’ scanning for the monitoring of attendance.
Lighthouse Film Society is now in its fifth year of operation, with membership holding at 113 members. It shows 12 films per year in the old Wynyard Picture Theatre. The original 35mm equipment, which was taken out in 1960, has been replaced with a motorised screen, digital projector and sound system and 100 chairs and cushions. This year will have also have an outdoor screening in the Gutteridge Gardens, plus live music.
Midlands Film Society has just started with an initial free screening in February 2011 which 140 people attended. The Society covers the communities of Campbell Town, Ross and Oatlands. There are now more than 80 members and the number is still growing. Full operations commenced in April, after assessing what films the members would like to see. As there are no commercial cinemas in the area, popular films to screen are “The Kings Speech”, “Animal Kingdom” and “UP”.
North Western Film Society membership is around 100. The 35 mm films are screened at Devonport’s C-Max. One of their most successful films was the “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, which C-Max then showed to the public.
Perry’s Pictures Film Society is the film society for Woodbridge & Margate. The committee obtained a grant and were able to purchase a DVD projector, sound system and screen for the Woodbridge hall. The society is continuing to show monthly, with a mix of DVDs and 16mm film. The film format is popular, but is more expensive to screen. Membership is relatively stable at about 40 with 30 turning up to any one performance.