Looking Back...Again (2)

Now that the 2018 fridge magnets have arrived (and they look great !), I’m anxious to announce our summer program. But there are still a number of years to revisit in our stroll down memory lane. So this is going to be a bumper edition of ‘The Way We Were’ with some pictures thrown in for good measure.

Back in 2010, we attempted our first fully thematic season of Sports, rather than simply picking a genre. Trailers and fridge magnets were still some way in the future, and we struggled badly with the weather. The special screening of Happy Feet - namely the green-tinged and cracked Antarctic landscape - convinced me that we needed a new projector. But the undoubted ‘high’ point (chuckle!) was my introduction to that American classic Caddyshack. Much loved by so many, I honestly and objectively judged it to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Read my apologia here.

2012 was the first year of the season trailer. Using Microsoft MovieMaker and some low resolution film clips, I drove Thomas (and to some extent myself) insane with the constant repetition of Sinatra’s ‘Come Fly With Me’ as I strove to get the opening sequence correct.  However I was particularly proud of the Pearl and Dean-like FAFC animation I created. So proud, I never used it again...

The season had some particularly good movies, including Up In The Air and the excellent Midnight in Paris, but was also blighted by the weather, causing us to cancel half of the program. A special award went to the memorable dish Roe and Kelsey brought for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

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2013 was the year we discovered how to program the season. With so many great recent movies to choose from, the theme of Movies about Movies picked itself. We were able to include many recent Oscar winners, including The Artist, Argo, Hugo and My Week with Marilyn, as well as Linda’s special choice, Les Miserables. Surprisingly for a season about movies, I did not produce my own movie trailer…

In 2014 we struggled to find enough choices to complete the theme of Colours, as evidenced by our stretching of the colors concept to include ‘sunshine’ and ‘dark’. The very fine Blue Jasmine opened the season and was probably the best movie of the summer, although both The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Silver Linings Playbook were also well received, as were Laurie’s Crabby Snacks as accompaniment to the latter. I was also inspired to produce the longest trailer ever…

Its nice to look back over the years, from our very humble origins to where we are ten years later, and be proud of what we achieved. For example, the evolution of our screen from lashed together door trim to the cinema-like offering of today.

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As previously mentioned, the tradition of bringing food along really began in 2011 with our Food, Glorious Food season. The highpoint of that season was the pie contest for Waitress. We really do not expect people to bring food, but it is always welcome. Many thanks.

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So we will go on making memories for at least one more summer. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years, our regulars and the not so regulars, everyone who has ever helped make popcorn, or stacked chairs at the end of the evening. And with a breath of excitement, I will tell you that I intend to publish this year's program over the weekend. And Linda and I think this year, fittingly, has the best line-up of our ten year history !!


Looking Back...Again

Continuing our stroll down memory lane, let's take a look at a couple more summers.

2010 - ‘Food, Glorious Food’ was - for obvious reasons - one of our favorite seasons, and started a new trend on Saturday evenings.

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It was also probably the last time that we chose the theme before we chose the movies, and researched hard to find a fitting set of movies. ‘Julie & Julia’ was probably the only automatic choice, but we did unearth some gems like ‘Big Night’ (which contains one of my now favorite ever movie scenes), ‘Chocolat’ and, of course, ‘Waitress’ with the fantastic Kerry Russell, which has since become a Broadway musical. Waitress was also the highpoint of the new trend that began that summer, of bringing along food to match the movies. I can’t remember everything we did, but it included Nancy’s sublime slow cooked short ribs for openers with Julie & Julia, burgers with Amy’s ratatouille relish for Ratatouille, meatball subs with Big Night and a chocolate fountain for Chocolat. Finally, we rounded the season off with a legendary pie competition for Waitress. I was so inspired by the food season that I actually made two mini movies…

    

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By 2016 we were in our stride, and I had now got a Mac Mini. Everything FAFC-wise was at a new level, Girls On Film was our theme and Duran Duran provided not only the theme for the season, but also the design inspiration for our fridge magnet and the soundtrack for my mini movie. The films were pretty good too, with Oscar recognition for ‘Carol’, ‘The Danish Girl’, ‘Still Alice’ and the surprisingly good ‘Her’. And one of my best promos...

 

 


Ten Years After...

10 years2009 was a momentous year by any standard. The first ever Black President of the United States was sworn in, ushering in a new era of hope for many people. However, the idea of a that shining new future was still dulled by the long shadow of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, as the world struggled with economic recession and job losses.

And in the dark summer of 2009, while we all feared H1N1 swine flu, and mourned the death of the King of Pop, a little brightness was shone into the world from the projector lamp in our backyard.  Back in 2009, armed only with a bedsheet, some door trim, a borrowed projector and a guitar amp, Folly Avenue Film Club brought moving images to life under the stars, and a grand tradition - nay, a movement - was born. 10 years later, we come together to celebrate a decade of popcorn, dewy grass, mosquito bites, loud frogs and some of the best movie watching experiences one can imagine.

Over the last 9 years, our little cinematic gathering has evolved at a rate which would even make Darwin proud. Advanced projection systems, hi fi quality sound, top quality catering are all things to which we still aspire unfortunately, but we have come a very long way, and become organised in a way only my wife could have been responsible for. And we have enjoyed every last little moment of what we have put together.

6a00d8341f76ef53ef017eeade1a3c970d-640wiThere are two things that have made the last nine years such a pleasure to have experienced. The first, and most important is people. We have had different sets of ‘regulars’ at different times, reflecting the passage of time and the inevitable changes in people’s lives. Jobs take people away, babies make it difficult for new parents to get out at night, but for the new friendships we have forged and the socials bonds that we have strengthened through love of movies, we are so grateful.

The second - and also most important - element are the movies themselves. As you should know, every summer our movies are loosely herded into a theme. Over the years we have progressed from selecting a theme which allowed us to spotlight a deserving group of movies, to basically picking the best movies from the previous couple of years, and inelegantly bolting a label on them. This rather crude method has been hugely successful, and in recent years we have had the best possible seasons.

Before we announce the theme for our celebratory tenth season of Folly Avenue Film Club, we thought we would take a little stroll down memory lane. Over the next couple of weeks, we will revisit some of our previous seasons, hopefully stirring up some memories, and whetting the appetite for our new line-up.

In 2009, with our modest technical set-up, we put together a program of our favorite musicals, including Moulin Rouge, Chicago and of course - the best musical movie of all time - Singin’ In The Rain. We learned an early lesson in 2009 that outdoor activities necesitate close attention to the weather. A number of nights were washed out by rain and we STILL haven’t shown Mamma Mia !

By 2015, we were in our stride. Our movie selection policy had matured, and our mastery of the presentation side had expanded to include pre-show trailers and even promotional videos. Here is something I put together to promote and celebrate the theme of ‘Based on a True Story’.

Stay tuned for more journeys down memory lane and some other movie related posts as we build towards Summer 2018, and the announcement of this year’s theme.