Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Reel deals in Budleigh and Brewster

After its successful launch last year with the showing of nine films, Budleigh Salterton Film Society’s second season will be starting in September with new members queuing up to join.

The original target of 250 members for the Society has been exceeded to such an extent that an additional session had to be arranged, and the 2009-10 season will follow the previous pattern, with monthly screenings on Wednesdays.

Early sessions start at 5.00 pm for those with white membership cards. Doors open at 4.30 pm, and tea is available. The later sessions are at 8.00 pm (cream membership cards). Doors open at 7.30 pm, with wine available. ‘Early’ and ‘Late’ cards may be exchanged between members.

The price of membership has been kept as for last year – £24 per person for existing members, £29 for new members (includes a one-off joining fee of £5)
People interested in joining should contact the membership secretary, Kirsten Goodesmith, 11a, Westfield Road, Budleigh Salterton. Tel: 01395 446257; Email:

Below is the 2009-10 schedule for Budleigh’s Film Society.

Across the Atlantic cinema clubs are just as popular. In 2002, Brewster resident Rebecca M. Alvin (pictured right) introduced the Cape Cod Film Society Screening Series to audiences in Chatham, Massachusetts, in the basement of a Unitarian Universalist church. The idea was to show films that she had seen as a film teacher, writer, and film maker in New York to audiences in her new home - Cape Cod. The series is no longer offering eight-week series in the church, but Ms Alvin has been working with other organizations to programme interesting film shows geared toward each particular audience. It is, she says, “a film series on Cape Cod that aims to show interesting independent work to local audiences who would otherwise not get to see these films.”

Rebecca Alvin is eminently qualified to guide the Film Society. A native New Yorker, she started out working toward a career in music, studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, when she got sidetracked from a Film Scoring major there to a Filmmaking major at Emerson College in Boston. After her intensely personal student film, Untitled (No.1) won finalist honours at the 1994 Visual Artists Film & Video Competition in San Jose, CA, Rebecca moved on to edit and produce numerous corporate and medical tapes in New York, before returning to more creative pursuits with the 1996 film, Voices, which screened at the Utah Short Film & Video Festival and elsewhere.

Ms Alvin started Belly Girl Films, Inc. in 1996 as a production company for her various film and video projects. The primary focus of the company now is the production of media projects which give voice to under represented groups and individuals, promote charitable organizations in their fundraising and public awareness campaigns, or express independent visions. In the past, this mission has been fulfilled with her films depicting the aged, the mentally ill, disenfranchised women, young women in transition, and other disempowered people and causes.

“We work in film, video, Internet, and multimedia formats, on projects that are thought-provoking, that encourage positive change, that inspire, that really matter,” she says.

Her first documentary, Our Bodies, Our Minds (Distributor: The Cinema Guild) , a feature-length exploration of feminism and sex work, premiered in 2001 at the 20th Annual Women in the Director's Chair International Film & Video Festival in Chicago and has gone on to screen worldwide, from Berlin to San Francisco. Shortly after that, she completed her Master of Arts degree in Media Studies at the New School for Social Research in New York City and relocated to Cape Cod in 2000.

After completing a tribute documentary about Broadway actress Rose Inghram (commissioned by the Rose Inghram Trust), she began work on a film about women and the Catholic Church. This latest documentary, Women of Faith, was just completed in October 2008 and has been screening at various venues around the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a commissioned film about the town of Truro, Massachusetts.

In addition to being a filmmaker, she teaches film at The New School, Curry College and Cape Cod Community College and writes for numerous publications, including Cineaste and the Journal of Film and Video. She is also editor of Provincetown Magazine.

Ms Alvin presents provocative, entertaining, and stimulating independent films to Cape Cod audiences year-round, as well as a selection of workshops in film making and film studies topics. From abstract video art to highly charged political documentaries and moving fiction features, the Cape Cod Film Society Screening Series seeks to showcase motion pictures as an art form that can inform, entertain, provoke, and inspire. See or email

Rebecca Alvin has written an interesting piece for Cineaste about the microcinema movement at
Further information about her work can be found at

Budleigh Salterton Film Society 2009-10 programme.
The Society’s website is currently under construction.

Wednesday September 23th 2009
Australia/UK 2002 90 minutes
Director: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Everlyn Sampi

In the 1930s the Australian Aborigine Act resulted in the setting up of ‘training’ camps for aboriginal children, where, separated from their families, they could be taught western values and behaviour. This film, based on a true story, tells how three children made a daring escape from their camp and set off on a 1500 mile journey home, guided by the rabbit-proof fence which stretched across the country. In a gripping game of cat and mouse they are pursued by a native tracker and the government’s ‘Chief Protector of Aborigines’, Mr A O Neville, chillingly played by Ken Branagh.

Wednesday October 21st 2009
Israel 2008 106 minutes
Director: Eran Riklis
Starring: Hiam Abbass, Doron Tavory, Ali Suliman

Salma, a Palestinian widow, owns a productive lemon grove near the green line ‘border’ between Israel and the West Bank. When the Israeli Defence minister moves into a new house opposite the grove, the Israeli security forces order it to be uprooted. With the help of a young Palestinian lawyer, Salma tries to fight this decision, and in the process an invisible bond develops between her and the Defence minister’s wife, who feels trapped and unhappy in her new home. This is a powerful and moving film which brings the Palestinian-Israeli conflict into sharp human focus, whilst being remarkably even-handed in its approach.

Wednesday November 18th 2009
France 2008 115 minutes
Director: Philippe Claudel
Starring: Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein, Serge Hazanavicius

Kristin Scott Thomas won worldwide critical acclaim for her performance in this award-winning story, playing a forty-something single woman (Juliette) who is slowly reunited with her younger married sister (Lea) after a separation of fifteen years. The grim unmentionable secret behind this separation is gradually revealed as Juliette, living with Lea’s family, rebuilds her broken life and comes to terms with her past. The Guardian’s film critic described it as ‘a deeply involving, beautifully acted and expertly constructed human drama by and for grown-ups.’

For an in-depth preview see
Wednesday December 9th 2009
UK 1949 105 minutes
Director: Robert Hamer
Starring: Alec Guiness, Joan Greenwood, Dennis Price

This delightful black comedy must be near the top of the list of favourite Ealing Studio comedies. Louis D’Ascoyne Mazzini (Dennis Price) should be heir to a dukedom but has been cut off by the snobbish D’Ascoyne family. Eager for revenge, he sets about systematically eliminating all ten of the family members standing in his way, with increasingly ingenious ways of entering their lives and gaining their confidence before despatching them. Amazingly, eight of the ten doomed D’Ascoynes are played by Alec Guiness, an acting tour de force which adds considerably to the film’s charm. A pleasant run-up to the Christmas season.

Wednesday January 13th 2010
Germany 2003 120 minutes
Director: Wolfgang Becker
Starring: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sass

Alex Kerner’s mother, a staunch and active supporter of the East German Communist Party, falls into a coma just before the fall of the Berlin wall. Eight months later she starts to recover, but doctors warn that she could suffer a fatal heart attack if she discovers that the Cold War is over. Thus begins an increasingly hilarious series of attempts to hide reality from her, from finding old East German products to faking TV news broadcasts. Alex’s (and his sister’s) efforts to keep all historical changes from his mother are both funny and poignant. ‘Goodbye Lenin’ was voted the best European Film by the European Film Academy at the Berlin awards in 2003.

Wednesday February 10th 2010
South Africa 2005 94 minutes
Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Presley Chweneyagae, Mothusi Magano

Nineteen year old Tsotsi is the leader of a gang in the Johannesburg township of Soweto, living a life of violence, robbery and even murder (‘Tsotsi’ is ghetto language for ‘thug’). His life takes an unexpected turn when he shoots a woman in a wealthy suburb and steals her car- only to discover a baby on the back seat. The film follows the next six days in Tsotsi’s life , as he struggles between his violent nature and a growing feeling of kindness for the infant and its future welfare. Based on the novel by author and playwright Athol Fugard, it tells a life-affirming story with touches of humour, but it never descends into sentimentality.
(Pictured above: a scene from Tsotsi; image courtesy of The UK Film & TV Production Company plc)

Wednesday March 10th 2010
USA (India) 2007 91 minutes
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, Adrian Brody

The Darjeeling Ltd (actually the name of a long-distance Indian Train) is an idiosyncratic tale of three squabbling brothers who have not spoken to each other since their father’s funeral. The eldest, Francis, has organised a journey through India to their mother, who has disappeared into a convent in the Himalayas. His hope is that the brothers will be reconciled, and their individual personal problems solved. On the journey the brothers argue, sulk, fight and have a series of bizarre adventures, tinged with quirky humour. These culminate in their being thrown off the train and forced to complete their pilgrimage by road.

Wednesday April 7th 2010
USA 2007 108 minutes
Director: Thomas McCarthy
Starring: Richard Jenkins,Hiam Abbass, Amir Arison

Walter Vale is a sixty-two year old professor, an authority on the economic problems of Third World countries, tired in his job and leading a dull life of routine. He discovers a young couple of squatters in his New York pied-à-terre and, after initially ejecting them, takes pity on them. A bond develops between this unlikely trio, then suddenly the young man (Tarek) is picked up by the police for being an illegal immigrant. Walter’s dry academic interests become acutely personal as he wrestles with the bureaucracy of the immigration authorities, desperate to save Tarek from being deported to Syria where his father had died in prison for expressing his political views.

Wednesday April 28th
As in 2008, not the title of the last film of the season, but a short selection of titles for your choice.

Tell No-one France 2007
The Counterfeiters Austria 2007
Man on Wire UK 2008
Jean de Florette France 1986
Slumdog Millionaire UK 2008


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