3rd February 2015 newsletter

In this newsletter

1 Extra film on February 19th

2 Become a programme note writer?

3 Annual silent on March 5th

4 Would you like a different start time for our screenings?

5 National Screening Days in London April 18-20

1 Extra film on February 19th: PRIDE

dir. Matthew Warchus, 2014, UK, 120 minutes
starring Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine & Russell Tovey

“During London’s gay pride parade of June 30, 1984, miners were on strike throughout Britain, harassed by the police and given the cold shoulder by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Mark Ashton (played by Ben Schnetzer) provokes his fellow gays to support the miners financially, as both gays and miners suffer in similar ways. Under the acronym LGSM (lesbians and gays support the miners) the most activist among the gays and lesbians agree, collect funds, and go to South Wales to provide their financial and moral support. But will the miners accept their help? Although the strike fails in early 1985, the bulk of the film is about the reception of gays and lesbians by the miners, most of whom are initially ambivalent or hostile.” (www.polfilms.com)

The above description of PRIDE, from the website of the Political Film Society in the US, is accurate, but doesn’t convey how very entertaining the film is at the same time as telling its socio-political story. By contrast, Ella Alexander wrote in the Independent: “If Richard Curtis’ British comedies are too saccharine for some, Matthew Warchus’s important romcom about gay activists and striking miners is a heartwarming, faith-restoring antidote”.

HOW MUCH? No admission charge to existing ABCD members. Normal admission charges will apply to members’ guests (£5); and to one week members (£6, students £5). Please bring guests and encourage others to come – we would like this screening to be a means of attracting new members in both the short and the longer term.

WHY THIS DATE? Although we don’t usually show films in local schools’ half-term week, we thought this was a better time of year than in April.

2 Become a programme note writer

ABCD has produced a programme note for every single film show for over thirty years (nearly 700 since 1993), a small achievement that we are quite proud of. The task has been shared by members of the committee, but there is actually no reason why others could not have a go. How about you? As you know, each note usually has:

* a little bit of synopsis (avoiding spoilers),

* some views of the film, which may be your views or those of others you have read; and/or some information about some aspect of the film that you think worth sharing,

* credits (acting and non-acting); and a couple of

* “coming soon” paragraphs.

We have authors for all the films in the current season, except for LIFE IS A LONG QUIET RIVER on March 26th. If you would like to volunteer to write this programme note or for screenings in 2015/6, (particularly if the film is one of your suggestions) please send an email to info@abfilms.org.uk or talk to a committee member.

3 Annual silent on March 5th

Our next special event will be SPARROWS, accompanied on piano by Andrew Youdell. You need to remember that this show will start at the earlier time of 7.30pm and that it takes place at Saint Nicolas’ Church (facing Abingdon Market Place).

Our silent film shows often prove to be very popular, with attendances of up to one hundred. But this depends on people knowing about them – so do please spread the word.

4 Would you like a different start time for our screenings?

Several decades ago we changed our usual start time from 7.30pm to 7.45pm. Because of some recent comments the committee now wonders whether a return to a 7.30pm start would be a good idea. At the moment we have no opinion on this, but would like to know what members think. Obviously, there would need to be strong support for any change, but equally it would be imperative to know if a change meant any member could no longer attend our films (because they would no doubt soon become ex-members).

We will produce a questionnaire in the next few weeks, but please start thinking about this.

5 National Screening Days April 18 – 20

This is a regular event for independent cinemas and film societies, enabling them to preview lots of films over a weekend – films that have not yet come to cinemas. The screenings take place at BFI Southbank (aka the National Film Theatre) by the Thames at Waterloo. Usually one or two ABCD committee members attend, not necessarily for the whole three days, and return to Abingdon full of the event’s praises. If you would like to know more go to:


If you are interested in going please let us know.

* Our next newsletter is planned for March 3rd.