Rusthall Community Cinema (RCC) into a creative engine has been running filmmaking workshops and is now putting on the film festival this autumn, which locals can enter for a share of a £500 prize pot.
The cinema club’s main feature is generally accompanied by a complementary short film, which prompted a group of members to make their own short film, ‘Dementia and Us’, which they premiered in February.
It comes following plans for a similar initiative, The Pantiles Cinema Club, was abandoned last year after organisers failed to find a venue in the iconic promenade for the boutique picture house.
In Rusthall, the club has now run two workshops to teach the craft, led by international independent filmmaker, editor and teacher Jeanne Pope, with Karen Gardner, visual arts tutor at The Amelia.
And the next free workshop will be held in July, well in time for the August 19 deadline to submit short films for the film festival on October 15-16.
“We really are calling out for young people, or even families who want to work together on creating a film,” co-festival director Anne Goldstein told the Times.
“There is no pressure on people to submit,” she stressed. “It is free to submit films from the local community.”
Shorts are a very special genre, she explained.
“They are usually around 10 minutes long – rarely more than 15 and 20 minutes, but it can be very short indeed. People can even submit their TikToks!”
“It is a true craft – so much can be said in just ten minutes. As the volunteer who curates the shorts, my aim is to find films that throw light on the themes of our main feature and celebrate the diversity in the world,” she said.
“The film we created, on dementia, was quite an inspiration for us. The project members were so giving of their time. They really wanted to share their experience of their loved ones, and experiences as carers.”
The French Canadian-British filmmaker Jeanne Pope became involved in RCC through a chance meeting last year on The Pantiles with Ms Goldstein and her husband.
“Jeanne came up to us and said: ‘I have to say, you are a very dapper couple’. Then we realised how much we had in common and Jeanne came to the Community Cinema and adored it – she thought there was so much potential.
“There have been two workshops so far, and we hope to hold more.”
RCC is sponsoring the workshops and festival prizes – £ 100 for Festival Favourite, £25 for Category winner and £10 for those shorts selected for screening.
However, said Anne, ‘Jeanne is giving her time for free and we are really inspired by her generosity of spirit.’
Rusthall Community Cinema Film Festival ’22 will be held on October 15-16 at Sunnyside Hall, Rusthall, but could be moved if numbers dictate. The deadline for entering a film is August 19. rusthallcinema.club/filmfest22