Film Buffs Rejoice as New Film Society Opens in Sidmouth

Film Buffs Rejoice as New Film Society Opens in Sidmouth
  • PublishedOctober 20, 2023

A film society is starting in Sidmouth, with monthly screenings at Kennaway House’s Cellar Bar. The first film to be shown will be Cinema Paradiso, on Friday October 27th at 7.30pm. Doors will open at 7.00pm. Tickets cost £5.50 (£4.50 for Friends of Kennaway House) and are available from 01395 515551.

At this launch event, attendees will be invited to discuss the sorts of films they would like to be included in the 2024 programme of screenings. The founders are open to suggestions, as well as being eager to screen cinema that might be a little under the radar: films that don’t benefit from mainstream release but would be a shame to miss. Classics are on the menu too, and films that might have local or timely resonance.

The organisers are all Sidmouth locals, and comprise Wendy Benwell and Ian Wonnacott (film buffs and Kennaway volunteers), Kennaway manager Nikki Dawkins, and Jennifer and Martin Jennings-Wright, (a couple with forty years’ experience between them of running arthouse cinemas around the country).

‘When we moved to Sidmouth six years ago we were hugely impressed by the cultural provision on offer, including the Manor Pavilion Theatre, Kennaway House and of course the wonderful Radway Cinema.’ said Martin Jennings-Wright. ‘We’re keen supporters of the Radway in particular and love to see the latest releases on its fabulously big screen.

What we’re keen to bring to Sidmouth is a slice of cinema of a different nature altogether, a programme of screenings that will complement what the Radway does so well for the town. We’ll be showing films we love as well as all manner of films from all over the place.

Old blockbusters, foreign gems and tiny avant-garde pieces. And all on a screen that’s marginally smaller – OK, much smaller – than at the Radway!’

The screenings will take place in the fully licenced Kennaway House Cellar Bar, and refreshments will be available before and after the film. They will also be available during the 10-minute intermission.

Cinema Paradiso [12A] is the much-loved tale of Toto, a young boy in rural 1940s Sicily who is obsessed with his local picture house and pesters the projectionist into teaching him all he knows. The film follows Toto as he grows up, his life changing beyond all recognition but the magic of celluloid staying at the heart of it. This Academy Award winner is a perennially popular love letter to cinema that never fails to touch the hearts of all who see it.

‘Cinema Paradiso is one of our all-time favourites’ continued Martin ‘and the main reason why our dog (erstwhile Herald columnist and mastermind behind local dog shop Toto’s of Sidmouth) is called Toto. Don’t tell him though – he thinks it’s a Wizard of Oz thing.’

The launch screening will be followed in December by a showing of It’s a Wonderful Life. For more details, contact Kennaway House on 01395 515551, or look for Sidmouth Film Society at Kennaway on Facebook.

Written By
Gesten Van Der Post

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