18th November 2014 newsletter

In this edition:

  • Next special events – Ian Christie on Dec 4th and seasonal celebration
  • Papers for the Annual General Meeting
    • Agenda
    • Minutes of 2013 AGM
    • Officers’ Report
  • Proposed changes to the constitution

Joyce Carey’s novel The Horse’s Mouth was widely regarded as a severe challenge to adapt for the screen. Alec Guinness thought he would have a go. Ian Christie has a great interest in this film, which was directed by Ronald Neame. The show starts at the usual time of 7.45pm.

On Dec 18th, in conjunction with ON THE TOWN, the Gene Kelly/ Stanley Donen musical starring Kelly and Sinatra, we will be having our usual seasonal celebration. More details in the next newsletter.

As you probably know the ABCD Annual General Meeting takes place this week, at 7.30pm on Nov 20th. The committee felt the meeting would be better managed if we published some of the documents in advance. We propose to publish a few printed copies, principally for those members who do not receive the newsletter by email, so we are relying on your doing some printing!

First, here is the Agenda for the meeting:

to be held at 7.30 pm., in Abingdon Health and Wellbeing Centre,
on Thursday, 20 November 2014


  1. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting (28-11-13), (see below).
  2. Matters arising.
  3. Officers’ Report
  4. Matters arising from, and adoption of, officers’ reports.
  5. Election of Officers, “other executive officers” and between 5 and 7 other members of the General Committee, and re-appointment of independent examiner of accounts.
  6. Proposal to make minor amendments to the Constitution
  7. AOB

Secondly, the draft minutes of the last AGM (nb: it’s a draft until adopted by the meeting):

MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING held at 7.30 pm. at Abingdon Health and Wellbeing Centre, Audlett Drive, on Thursday 28 November 2013.

Present: Geoff Bailey, John Bates, Susanne Bates, Magdalen Batten, Mike Bloom, Penny Clover, Chris Fairbrother, Mike Fairbrother, Noeleen Farrell, Pat Goodwin, John Grundy, Caroline Harben, Christine Karoly, Jeffery Karoly, Steve Lawrence, Graham Legg, Fay Linacre, Graham Linacre, Tony Lurcock, Andy Norton, Anita Rendel, Susan Reynolds, Tony Rush, Geoff Salway, Anne Smart, Richard Smart, Martin Smith, Harry Stoopman, Margaret Stovel, Richard Stovel, Dave Thomas and Hilary Webb.

Apologies for absence: Martin Johnson, Chris Holt, Sandra Grainger

It was agreed that the meeting would be chaired by Mike Bloom in the absence of Martin Johnson

1. Minutes of the previous AGM (held 15 11 12) were tabled. It was proposed that the minutes be accepted as a true record. Proposed: Dave Thomas; seconded: John Grundy, accepted unanimously.

2. Matters arising: Richard Stovel asked whether the Society’s name should be reconsidered now we no longer have any association with the College. Dave Thomas reported that this had been discussed by the Committee and no change agreed. However this decision will be reviewed by the new Committee.

3. Officers’ Reports:
Chairman: The Chairman’s report was presented by Mike Bloom.
2012/2013 has been a transitional year, the main event being, in December last, the Society’s effectively enforced move (after a period of 37 years) from the College Lecture Theatre in Northcourt Road to the room in which we are currently seated, at the (now re-named) Health & Wellbeing Centre.
The background to the move was outlined in my report last year (for new members, it was because the College had informed us of their intention to change the function the Lecture Theatre as part of a larger, planned redevelopment programme and could not guarantee our continued use of the room) and, in the latter part of 2012, much work was done by members of your Committee in finalising the various arrangements and agreements between the Society and the Centre, one example among the many things to be done being the establishing of agreed fire evacuation procedures, which we had never had to do at the College! During this period, there was a concerted publicity leafleting campaign, involving considerable effort on the part of several Committee members. Some 2000 leaflets were delivered in the Radley Road and Audlet Drive districts of Abingdon, highlighting our then imminent re-incarnation here. Also at this time, essential projection equipment was moved from the College and from various Committee members’ homes to secure storage (a built-in cupboard just to one side of the stage, behind you) kindly provided for our use by Pauline Krason (the Centre manageress) to whom, of course, we are most grateful for this facility. I can report that reactions to this venue by you, the membership, have been generally favourable, the room being more spacious, the seating, although not tiered as it was before, being much more comfortable (it would be difficult to find any seats less comfortable than in the Lecture Theatre!) and the ante-room/kitchen being a very useful additional meeting area and socialising space. The acoustic properties of this room may leave something to be desired (there are too many sound-reflective surfaces) and some of you have commented on this. These comments are acknowledged and we are working on remedial measures in the hope of improving matters. Our efforts are necessarily ad hoc and amateur so, if there are any qualified audio experts present, will they please step forward!

In March, Caroline decided, for personal reasons, to step down from the position of Treasurer and her place was subsequently taken by Jeffrey Karoly who generously volunteered to take on this important task. On behalf of you all, I extend a warm welcome to Jeffrey and wish him a trouble-free future in this role, which is pivotal to the very existence of the Society. I should like, at this point, to place on record my appreciation and thanks to Caroline for all the work she has done, not only as Treasurer but also as de facto chief negotiator and expediter of many of the things that needed to be done in the early days of our existence here. Her contribution to many aspects of our new cinematic life (and wellbeing (!)) here has been invaluable and we are all beneficiaries thereof.

Barry will be telling you about membership later on but I would just like to note that, so far this season, attendances at screenings have been encouraging. After an understandable drop in numbers in the interim period between January and June, attendances have averaged around 50+ for most films so far. Let’s hope the remainder of the programme will continue to stimulate and encourage you in ever increasing numbers!

Finally, a word about the Guildhall Cinema project. Most of you will be aware of this commercial initiative supposedly coming to Abingdon (perhaps – we’ll see) and there’s others here present (Mike, Dave, Barry et al) who are much better qualified than me to answer any questions you may have about it. I should just like to say that we are ‘on the case’ vis-a-vis our position and future prospects with regard to this new venture and are, of course, keeping an eye (and ear) on developments as they occur. .

Secretary: There have been 15 meetings including the Members’ Film Selection meeting, since the last AGM. The additional meetings were due to the Society relocating to the Health and Wellbeing Centre from the College. Committee Meetings between February and June had been mainly related to film selection for the 2013/14 season. The Society applied for and received grants from Abingdon Town Council for our Summer Special Event and Oxfordshire County Council towards the cost of providing blackouts in the Health and Wellbeing Centre. The Society spent last year’s grant from the Town Council on publicity and the membership drive associated with our move. Our change of address has been notified and the recent change of name from Resource and Wellbeing Centre to Health and Wellbeing Centre is being actioned. The Committee are very pleased with the response from Members regarding the suitability of the Health and Wellbeing Centre as a venue but have also looked at the Convent. The Society’s Annual Return to the Charity Commission was accepted and membership of the BFFS was renewed. The reciprocal agreement the Society have had for several years with the Phoenix cinema in Oxford is likely to end next month. The Society continues its relationship with the Abingdon Twin Towns Society with another film screening. The Society continued to have invited guest speakers introduce films and the Special silent film with piano accompaniment Event at St Nicolas Church. Because there was no Arts Festival there were no other external events but there was a Special Summer Event at the Health and Wellbeing Centre.
The web site has undergone another upgrade by Chris Holt to keep it compatible with latest browser software.

Membership Officer: The Membership Officer reported that although membership is down on last year attendance at films has been good with several members bringing guests which has helped to boost funds. Guests are also likely to become members and spread the word about the film society. He thanked members for this and asked for this to continue. We will be having a stall at the Clubs & Societies Day at the Guildhall on 29 March. This will be used to advertise the final two films. Members are welcome to help.

Treasurer: The Treasurer presented the annual accounts to 31 July, which had again been inspected and accepted by the Society’s Independent Examiner of Accounts, to whom thanks were extended. The accounts show are financial position to be satisfactory taking in to account income, including grants and expenditure.

It was proposed by Richard Stovel and seconded by Anita Rendell that all the Officer’s Reports be accepted. This was agreed nem con.

4. Matters Arising Comments were made that the sound was actually quite good at the Health and Wellbeing Centre but it was often too hot.

5. Election of Officers and Committee Members:
Mike Bloom informed the meeting that the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer were willing to stand again.
Caroline Harben proposed that they be re-elected. This was seconded by Geoff Bailey and agreed unanimously.
Chairman: Martin Johnson
Hon. Treasurer: Jeffrey Karoly
Hon. Secretary: Dave Thomas

Mike Bloom said that the Membership Secretary and Deputy Treasurer were also willing to stand again.

Harry Stoopman proposed that they be re-elected. This was seconded by Anita Rendell and passed nem con.
Executive officer (membership secretary) Barry Reeves
Executive officer (deputy treasurer) Penny Clover

Mike Bloom noted that the post of Programme Co-ordinator was vacant. However there were no nominations so the post remains vacant.

Other members of the 2012/13 committee were also willing to stand again and it was proposed by Noeleen Farrell and seconded by John Bates that

Geoff Bailey
Mike Bloom
Chris Holt and
Andy Norton
be re-elected. This was agreed unanimously. There were no other nominations so that leaves vacancies for the Programmme Co-ordinator (EO) post and three other committee members.

Although no one else at the meeting was willing to stand for committee membership it was proposed by Sue Reynolds and seconded by John Grundy that the new committee could co-opt additional members as required. This was agreed unanimously.

Independent Examiner of Accounts. Steve Lawrence was willing to undertake this again and it was proposed by Caroline Harben and seconded by Dave Thomas that Steve Lawrence be re-appointed. This was agreed unanimously.

The meeting closed at 8.10 pm


This year we are including one consolidated officers’ report in this newsletter and are proposing not to read it out at the meeting. You thus have the opportunity to read it in advance of the meeting without losing the opportunity to ask questions about it:


Summary of the main activities
We held 13 Committee Meetings to manage the charity’s business in accordance with Charity Commission guidance, and select the next season’s films. These included the AGM on 28 November 2013 and the Member’s Meeting on 29 May 2014.
We showed a main programme of 21 films including 4 which were introduced by specialist speakers, Professor Ian Christie, John Riley, Dr Ann Miller and Alex Jacoby, with discussions post-screening. We again showed our traditional Silent classic in St Nicolas’ Church, this year Pandora’s Box, with live piano accompaniment by Wendy Hiscocks. In addition we showed 6 short films and 3 additional feature films as special events one of which was a fund-raising occasion for the Red Cross.

Audience numbers ranged from 58 to 19 with an average of 44

Summary of the main achievements of the charity during the year
The season commenced on 3 October with Untouchable and ended on 17 March with 5 Broken Cameras. This was followed by our regular joint event with the Abingdon Twin Towns Association when we screened OSS 117 Cairo Nest of Spies. We also held an additional event in April 2014 when Hannah Moseley, an Art Director on several films, came and introduced Fantastic Mr Fox, one of the films on which she worked. The fund-raising event for the Red Cross was introduced by one of their regional co-ordinators and a collection after the film, Some Like It Hot, raised £100.

We again supplied our audiences with reaction slips to record their ratings and comments on the films. The highest scoring feature was Fantastic Mr Fox (95%) and the lowest Berberian Sound Studio (44%). Of the short films Momma Don’t Allow scored highest (76%) and The Ossuary the lowest (62%).
Full programme and details of reaction slips (scoring) for each film, are posted on our web site www.abfilms.org.uk

As usual, we commenced work on preparing our annual programme of 22 films for the next season (2014/15) in January of 2014. We invited members to a meeting to review the selection process in May and finalised the programme in July when all bookings were confirmed, with some being subject to late changes, and the brochure prepared for printing. Copies of the brochure and were sent out in early September 2014 to existing members, past members and potential new members who had expressed an interest with a letter inviting them to become members for the 2014/15 season.

We continued our membership of the British Federation of Film Societies (BFFS) which re-branded itself during the year as Cinema For All. We entered their Film Society of the Year Awards for Film Programming, and Publicity. We received notification on 29 September that we had won a Commendation for our Film Programming.

Membership was down at the beginning of the season, related to our move in January 2013 to the Health and Wellbeing Centre when several members did not re-join for the second half of last season. However, during the year we gained some new members. Maintaining membership at a viable number is a key objective of the Committee.

Note. – The Treasurer’s Report is a spreadsheet to be issued at the meeting

PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION (copies will be available at the meeting).

Section 3-iii (Membership), as it reads now in full:

“Only members and their guests shall be admitted to film showings. A member shall be entitled to one guest ticket, subject to the discretion of the committee. Guest tickets shall be obtained by members only from the committee before the performance takes place. No money shall be taken at the door.”

Section 3-iii, as the committee proposes it be amended:

“Only members and their guests shall be admitted to film showings. Guests shall be admitted at the discretion of the committee”.

Section 4-i (Management), as it reads now in full:

“The business of the Society shall be managed by a General Committee, consisting of a Chairman, an Honorary Secretary, an Honorary Treasurer, and such other executive officers as may, from time to time be appointed, together with not less than five nor more than seven other members. The committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall hold office until the next Annual General Meeting.”

Section 4-i (Management),as the committee proposes it be amended:

“The business of the Society shall be managed by a General Committee, consisting of a Chair, an Honorary Secretary, an Honorary Treasurer, and such other executive officers as may, from time to time be appointed, together with not less than five nor more than seven other members. The committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall hold office until the next Annual General Meeting.”

Please print out a copy of this newsletter so that you have the papers needed for the AGM.

The next newsletter is planned for Dec 9th