The approach of the 2019 Harrogate Film Festival marks the third year of this new venture and confirms without doubt, the large and varied audience in Harrogate who are not simply interested in film but keen to try out new viewing experiences – everything from seeing the latest short films from around the world to enjoying experience screenings like the screening of Mary Poppins at the Royal Pump Rooms or savouring a three course meal and screening of Chef at Hotel Du Vin.

Along with the other sponsors, Harrogate Film Society is thrilled to be involved. Two of our committee have once again participated in the judging panel for the short film competition and we can confirm, absolutely, that a fantastic programme is in store- drawn from over five hundred entries from fifty countries. Our involvement in the Festival confirms an important departure from the rather staid impression Film Societies can sometimes generate as private viewing clubs. Following the lead of the national co-ordinating body for local community cinemas – Cinema for All – with its emphasis on engagement rather than exclusivity,  Harrogate Film Society has sought in recent years to embrace that transition from a more traditional and (let’s face it) somewhat exclusive film club to an organisation that wants to both offer a view into the very latest trends in independent cinema from around the world and at the same time get out into the community and sponsor a range of one-off special screenings.

So, we continue to have a Core Programme of recently released films that have attracted international critical acclaim. As an illustration of the breadth of the programme, the upcoming spring schedule includes films from France, Israel, Romania, Sweden, Norway, Chile and the UK. Importantly, the Society Committee do not see their role as censors which means that the themes and treatments in selected films can vary widely from easy viewing family entertainment to films that have generated controversy internationally. The Committee’s objective is to allow local viewers – whether those with memberships or those who choose to come along and simply buy a ticket on the night- to watch and make their own minds up about a film.  Further details of the Core Programme are available at: www harrogatefilmsociety.co.uk and we would love to see you there. Wine and nibbles are available at selected screenings as well as occasional post-film discussions for those who want to chew over the themes and issues raised by particular films.

In addition to the Core programme, The Society is developing an Outreach Programme where we work in a variety of ways with other local groups and businesses to offer screenings of films that would not normally find their way onto the Core Programme. Our involvement with Harrogate Film Festival is a very good example. This year we are pleased to be co-sponsoring with the North Bar in Harrogate, screenings of two of the most significant releases in the recent history of US cinema – Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction- both released in 1994 and both served over the Festival weekend with popcorn and a complimentary drink! Further details are on the Festival website. In addition, we are also pleased to be involved in helping bring award winning documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins to Harrogate Film Festival to talk about his latest work on Orson Welles.

As the Harrogate Film Festival approaches, we commend all of it to you and hope you will be able to sample at least some of the wide range of fabulous film and viewing experiences on offer!