Penarth Town Council is aiming to encourage the formation of a new local Film Club to try to make greater use of the video equipment it’s installed at council-tax-payers’ expense the Paget Rooms.
The £35,000 video system and associated satellite receiver was installed last year for the council’s own Live “Event Cinema” public screenings.
A total of 18 “Event Cinema” screenings have been held at the Paget Rooms since they began in July last year. Audience numbers are said to “fluctuate” but the council says they are “slowly building” and have a “solid fan-base”.
Now the idea has been floated-out by the chairman of the Penarth Town Council Leisure and Amenities Committee Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) that a local “Film Club” be formed to organise regular local movie showings on a monthly basis – in addition to the “Event Cinema” schedule.
Cllr Birch said that, when the Event Cinema equipment was installed in the Paget Rooms, it had been hoped that “some enterprising individual of the general public would come forward and set up a film club” – but this had not happened.
She said those members of the public to whom she had spoken to about such a club had seemed to want the council to set it up for them – as they perhaps did not want to be associated with “an outcome which might not work” – a result which she described as “depressing” .
Cllr Birch said she was now looking to members of the Town Council – and to members of the general public – to think about setting up a film club – perhaps to operate on one Friday every month . She suggested that screenings could be themed, citing Halloween as a possible example and was “open to suggestions”.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said it was probably too late to do anything about Halloween this year – but it was a possible theme for next year / He said it would be necessary to establish who was using the Paget Rooms on a Friday night and some good quality “market research” to find out how many people might be interested .
Cllr Wilson noted that members of the newly-established Film Club set up at the “Memo” in Barry received “free pop-corn and a drink” and were also “allowed to talk during the film” and were able to turn the volume of the sound track down.He wondered if a “different kind of film club” could be looked at for Penarth.
[What is now called “The Memo” in Barry is an arts centre in what used to be the “Hall of Memory” originally erected in memory of those who lost their lives in the First World War. ]
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) noted that former cinemas in Penarth used to screen Saturday-morning matinees for children – which allowed parents to leave their children at the cinema for a couple of hours.
Cllr Birch recalled Saturday matinees used to be held in the Washington Cinema.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said he knew nothing about film clubs – but advised that the council should find out about other long-standing successful clubs and get them to give advice.
Anyone interested in helping set up a Penarth Film Club should contact Penarth Town Council on 029 2070 0721.