Newsletter – 2 November 2019

Notice of Annual General Meeting

As previously, we are sending you the papers for the AGM in the form of a Newsletter. We ask you to bring the documents with you but there will be a few copies available on the evening.

Screening of the post-AGM feature, Roy Andersson’s You, The Living should start around 20:00.

Abingdon College and District Film Society Annual General Meeting

To be held at 19:30 on November 7th 2019 at Abingdon Health and Wellbeing Centre


  1. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting, held Nov 22nd 2018: see below
  2. Matters arising
  3. Officers’ reports and Accounts: see below
  4. Matters arising from, and adoption of, Officers’ reports and accounts
  5. Election of Officers, other executive officers and 5 to 7 other members of the Committee
  6. Appointment of Independent Examiner of Accounts
  7. AOB

Minutes of 2018 Annual General Meeting

  • Present: 25 members
  • Apologies for absence: Apologies were received from Noeleen Farrell
  • Minutes of previous AGM: held Nov 16th 2017, were accepted as a true record – Proposed Anita Rendel: seconded Andy Norton: agreed nem con., with no matters arising.
  • Minutes of SGM: held Nov 23rd 2017, were accepted as a true record – Proposed Andy Norton, seconded Anita Rendel: agreed nem con., with no matters arising.
  • Officers’ reports: Officers’ reports (excluding Treasurer), which had been circulated prior to the meeting, were accepted – Proposed Barry Reeves: seconded Graham Legge: agreed nem con., with no matters arising.
  • Accounts: Copies, up to July 31st 2018, were issued at the meeting. Treasurer addressed the meeting and gave a brief résumé of the finances with the overall balance being about £2000 down on last year, due to reduced membership income, increased cost of film licence fees and the repayment of Gift Aid to HMRC. (ABCD had agreed to repay Gift Aid claimed a few years ago because, in hindsight, we had concluded we were not entitled to make a claim, although HMRC had never advised us of this.) The accounts had been inspected and accepted by the Society’s Independent Examiner of Accounts, to whom thanks were extended. Treasurer confirmed that, despite the loss on the year, the Society is still able to continue, as it has reserve funds in deposit accounts – Acceptance of of report and accounts proposed Graham Linacre: seconded John Killick agreed nem con.
  • Matters arising: John Bates asked for details about the decline in membership. Barry Reeves (Membership Secretary) answered that the decline was general, with members leaving – but balanced by only very few new members. John Killick asked whether it was wise to keep so much in the deposit accounts as interest is likely to be minimal. Treasurer responded that the account with the most money was linked to share investments and usually did much better than rates available standard bank deposit accounts
  • Election of Officers and Committee members: All outgoing Committee members confirmed they were willing to stand for re-election: there were no other nominations. Dave Thomas advised the meeting that, as the number standing is less than the allowed number of Committee members, there was no need for an election. All existing Committee members therefore automatically continued to serve but with some role changes.
ChairMartin Johnson
TreasurerJeffrey Karoly
SecretaryDave Thomas
Membership SecretaryBarry Reeves
Programme Co-ordinatorVacant
Ordinary MembersNoeleen Farrell
Mike Bloom
Richard Smart
Andy Norton
  • Independent Examiner of accounts: Steve Lawrence confirmed he was willing to take on this role again and so was re-appointed – Proposed Dave Thomas: seconded Martin Johnson: agreed nem con.
  • AOB: Mike Bloom raised some of the issues facing the Society with falling membership and rising costs and identified some of the possible solutions, which had been identified at a recent Committee meeting. Martin Johnson said that he would welcome suggestions from members, which would be discussed at the next Committee meeting, December 17th 2018.
  • The meeting closed at 19:54.

Officers’ report to the 2019 AGM

The past year was marked, sadly, by the tragic, sudden death on May 30th of Dave Thomas, the Society’s Secretary. On behalf of all members, sincere condolences were sent to his widow Angela and her family. Because of the loss of Dave, and other related circumstances, the Committee became reduced to four active members which, in terms of the future prospects and continued existence of the Society, we considered to be barely sustainable. See Future of ABCD below.

In the year since the last AGM, we nevertheless held 13 meetings in accordance with Charity Commission guidance. These included the AGM on November 22nd 2018 and the Member’s Meeting on May 23rd 2019.
We also put on a programme of 21 films, four of which were introduced by invited speakers, viz Ann Miller (twice), Susannah Brough and Hubert Zawdski. At a member’s suggestion, Adam Simcox, an undergraduate at the University of Kent, gave a presentation about his course in film studies. The Silent screening at St Nicolas’ church was Ernst Lubitsch’s The Oyster Princess, with piano accompaniment by Andrew Youdell. In addition, we provided projection facilities for a local environmental group, Abingdon Carbon Cutters. Following a contact made with ABCD, independent film-maker Sabina Sattar was invited to visit us to introduce and discuss her short film Flowers.

Audience numbers ranged from 41 to 17 with a mean of 27, down on the previous season. Audience ratings ranged from 98% (The Apartment and Jacquot de Nantes) to 67% (La Notte), with a mean rating of 88%.

The full programme and details of audience reactions and scores for each film are posted on the ABCD Website

We continued our membership of Cinema for All.

Membership at the end of the AGM year was 33, down 13 on 2018.
It remains the Committee’s objective to attract more members, so that we can continue to show good, interesting films at reasonable subscription rates.

The Treasurer’s report will be issued to members at the meeting.

Future of ABCD

Being cognisant of the continuing fall in membership (see table 1. below), the Committee decided in January to contact the Digital and Media Studies Department at Brookes University, Oxford with a view to assigning a study of ABCD’s current situation, as a course module, to a suitable student. The Department readily agreed and sent a final year undergraduate Peter Coe to carry out a number of membership surveys and prepare a report.

His comprehensive report on possible changes to ABCD’s future modus operandi was noted.

Amongst several recommendations, the following were considered :-

  • That we should have more invited speakers, as these were popular with members
  • In response to a members’ survey, we should start the film promptly 7.45pm
  • Reactions and other preliminary announcements should be completed before 7.45pm
  • Reactions could be screened via PowerPoint, plus some discussion of them
  • Improvements to look/usability of Website, to generate more interest in ABCD

In addition to this initiative, contact has been made with the Abbey commercial cinema, the intention being to form, early in 2020 if possible, an association with them which would allow us to continue to screen a programme of films of our choosing, under their auspices, using their projection set-up and on their premises. Talks with their co-owner/manager Sue Wiper, covering such additional areas as film bookings, membership arrangements, publicity, etc., have commenced, with positive outcomes thus far. The outcome of the most recent meeting (which took place a few days ago) will be presented to members at the meeting.

ABCD Membership

Dates1st half
2nd half
2018/193636Current membership 33 compared with 35 at the same point last year
2017/184546Current membership 35 compared with 41 at the same point last year
2014/15 5959

In November 2012, prior to re-locating from the College to the Health & Wellbeing Centre, membership stood at 78. The table above shows the pattern of membership since then.

As can be seen, there was a slight recovery in 2016/2017, probably as a result of strong publicity efforts but there has been a significant decline since then.

Barry Reeves
Membership Secretary
October 21st 2019