Exclusive: Harrogate Film Society bounces back from Covid year with Odeon screenings and new digital platform

Harrogate Film Society is bouncing back from the problems of this Covid year with a fresh  series of Covid-secure screenings at the Odeon cinema - plus the launch of a brand  new digital platform.

Monday, 7th December 2020, 11:33 am
Updated Monday, 7th December 2020, 3:11 pm
Harrogate Film Society - Flashback to before Covid when members Henry Thompson ,Karen Bridgett and Brian Madden were shooting a short movie. Also pictured is  Marthe Taylor, actor and production assistant.
Harrogate Film Society - Flashback to before Covid when members Henry Thompson ,Karen Bridgett and Brian Madden were shooting a short movie. Also pictured is Marthe Taylor, actor and production assistant.

Like many other parts of the arts world, Harrogate Film Society had to close, its last, very successful season, at Ashville College, early because of COVID.

Since then Ashville has decided not to reopen for film screenings.

But the society, in particular Tim Heaton, has been working successfully behind the scenes with Ant Robinson, Area Manager for the Odeon, to retrieve the situation for Harrogate's movie fans and the HFS.

As a result, HFS is now launching a limited season of screenings at Harrogate Odeon, starting on Monday, Dec 7, as well as providing a more substantial online presence including a new initiative linked to Harrogate Film Festival called Festival Features.

Among the challenges of lockdown Harrogate Film Society has faced this year has been the departure of its chair, Tony Thorndike and projectionist Peter Havas after many years of dedicated service.

New HFS acting chair Paula Stott said: “Despite the challenges provided by COVID HFS is embarking on a new and exciting phase of its development.

"New members are always welcome and we particularly welcome anyone who has ideas or talents they would like to try out and contribute to the committee and the wider society.”

Because of COVID the Society’s normal programme of 14 films will not be offered this season.

Instead, a mini season of six films will be commencing with A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood starring Tom Hanks today, Monday, December 7 at 7.30pm.

Ant Robinson, Area Manager for the Odeon, said: “ We are very excited to be able to welcome the Film Society to the Odeon.

"This is in line with the Odeon’s priority to develop its position as a community cinema and this new initiative with Harrogate Film Society, the first of its kind in the country, is an excellent example of that.”

Paula Stott, HFS's acting chair said: “This iconic building is the perfect venue for our Society, now in its 65th year.

"It provides a full cinematic experience, with the benefit of being in a central location with free parking.

"The COVID precautions are really excellent and the staff are friendly and welcoming. Nothing is too much trouble for them.

"This is demonstrated by the decision by Ant and his team to open specially for us. We can’t thank them enough.

"Nothing can compare with seeing a good film on the big screen with surround sound, in the company of others. “

HFS Festival Features: What it is:

Using the techie talents of Nigel Currie, HFS has now built a modern website, to enable it to host the screening of new independent, feature films from around the world.

New films will be placed on the website, on a weekly basis, so that they can be accessed at a time convenient to the viewer.

Viewing will be free, and viewers will be asked to leave some feedback, which will be used to help select the best three films.

The plan is to screen these three films on a big screen during Harrogate Film Festival in March 2021.

For more details, visit www.harrogatefilmsociety.org

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.