[This appeared in Focus Magazine - Summer edition 154]
The world was a different place in 1969. There were brand new human footsteps on the moon’s surface, The Beatles were still together and George Lazenby was James Bond…
Into this crazy scenario, a few local people gathered together to form The Amersham & Chesham Film Society, meeting at The White Hill Centre. Usually on Friday nights each season ran for ten films.
They arrived as 16mm reels and two clunky (and noisy) projectors were used. Health and Safety didn’t exist then.
Attendances grew; film formats changed (to 35mm); a new home was needed. It was in the 1990s that The Elgiva Theatre began hosting film nights and the society became the Chiltern Film Club - aware that people were travelling from afar to attend the film nights.
In 2002, the name changed again: from Club to Society. Earlier this decade - everything went digital. The films are now streamed direct from the distributors.
As the society enters its 50th Season, it is wonderful to imagine the surprise on the faces of the original few if they could see what it has grown into. Currently with around 200 members, all watching the best of international films, the Society keeps growing.
It is remarkable to ponder that around 650 films have been shown - we don’t know exactly, as early records were not kept!
Ranging from Buster Keaton’s classic The General to the blockbuster Blade Runner 2049 ...
… all films are considered.
That’s exactly what the committee are about to do: consider and create the golden 50th Season. This continuation is in keeping the with aims of the original Society all those years ago.
So - it will all begin again in September. Another 15 films. Lights down, press Play on the computer and … Action!
by Paul Vates,
Chiltern Film Society