Lewes Film Club celebrates 25 years

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THE hugely successful Lewes Film Club celebrated its 25th anniversary with a party – and a monster cake.

A large turn-out of members, guests, and VIPs including Mayor Cllr John Stockdale, councillors, and local MP Norman Baker, gathered at the All Saints Centre where the club shows films.

Current chairman Mary Burke was a founder member back in 1986 and recalled the early struggles to get the club up and running.

“There was no cinema in Lewes in those days and a few of us were convinced there was an audience prepared to come out and watch a good film,” she said.

“In the early days we had a 16mm projector and small screen in the hall, but by 1990 we had installed a proper 35mm cinema projector, projection room, and large screen in the All Saints Centre which is still in popular use today.”

She recounted some of the often hilarious moments in the history of the club. “Everything would go wrong from films not arriving or us losing the front door key,” she said. “In the early days All Saints had no heating and you were at risk of falling through the floor but we managed to survive. We have always been a popular club and currently have nearly 150 members, although of course now we are open to the public as well.”

Mr Baker paid tribute to Mary’s hard work in running the club, the unique character of Lewes and its voluntary societies and the importance of film as an art form.

He said: “Unfortunately, cinemas like The Odeon in Lewes closed as people thought TV and video would replace them – but today going to the movies is as popular as ever.”

The party was followed by a screening of director Wim Wenders’s masterpiece Paris, Texas, first shown by the club in 1987 and voted the most popular film of that year.

Films due to be shown as part of the remaining 2012 winter season include The Wave, Mary and Max and A Town Called Panic. On February 3 there will be a rare screening of La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, a French silent classic from 1928. Visit www.lewes-filmclub.org