On Friday 10th October, The Yorker was lucky enough to be invited to York Student Cinema’s launch party in honour of their new digital projector. The non-demise of the long-standing society was partly the reason for celebration, following the fear of closure due to an obsolete projector which was incompatible with many modern films.
There was certainly an atmosphere of excitement at the party as we waited to see the new technology for ourselves, happily sipping on champagne and nibbling canapés. It was an impressive event, and there was a sense that the winners of Society of the Year 2014 were firmly back on their feet after a difficult few months. Before we entered the cinema, a few words were spoken by some members of the society. It was these people who masterminded the operation to rescue the society by fundraising for a digital projector, saving the society from death like a team of less destructive and more financially-minded Godzillas defending their world from the threat of angry MUTO’s.
Speaking of which… we then entered the cinema, seating ourselves comfortably to view the epic sci-fi monster tale, Godzilla. Accompanied by a booming and atmospheric soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat – complimented by the excellent sound system – the film established a level of tension that rarely dropped, and I was surprised by how gripped I was by the (somewhat) ridiculous story. With some impressive acting particularly from Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, the film had slightly more depth to it than I’d expected. That said – spoiler alert – at the end of the day it is essentially about a colossally large dinosaur who protects the citizens of the Earth from less friendly creatures by decimating them with blue fire. But it’s a very entertaining way to spend 123 minutes, if only to marvel at the sheer size of the violent lizard when he eventually makes an appearance. I enjoyed it.
Anyway the film ends, credits roll. Still reeling from the effects of Godzilla’s gigantic final roar, we were ushered into a small room to have a look at the digital projector itself. Kindly but firmly we were told not to touch it – ‘she’s cooling down’ – as we marvelled at the piece of technology that saved the society. I’m certainly glad that York Student Cinema has survived and it won’t be the last time I go there for an inexpensive yet authentic cinematic experience.
We were also fortunate enough to speak to the Chair of YSC, Molly Dennis, who gave us an insight into the struggles faced by the society over the past few months.
– Friday night was a great success, but let’s go back a bit. At what stage did it seem that the society was potentially going to collapse and expire?
Soon on after I joined everyone was saying that we had to go digital because fewer and fewer films were being made on 35mm reels. It was only till maybe the middle of last year that people were saying we were definitely going to close unless we got the new projector. Millie and Martha the old Secretary and Chair started putting a business plan together for YuFund.
– Was the old projector stopping you from getting new films in as often as you’d liked to?
Yeah, last term most of the weeks we didn’t have anything at all and the weeks when we did it was only two or three films.
– So are you going to be able to get things in more quickly now?
We can get them in faster from when they’re made but we still have to order them weeks in advance.
– How exactly do you go about getting films in?
You either go to the studio, contact Disney and say ‘we’d like to show this film’, or you’d go through a distributor, which we go through, and they contact the studio and then someone comes in with a box of reels or a hard-drive.
– So who was it who was involved in getting everything back from the brink? What avenues did you have to go down?
Well, two years ago the old committee had started talking to TFTV about getting help from them, but that was difficult because they’re on another campus and they use their own projector for their own screenings. Then we went to YUSU and they suggested YuStart and YuFund for that and then there was a lot of paperwork done to get funding from them.
– What about the alumni – how did you get in touch with them?
Most of it was them contacting us. After the article that you wrote about us last year quite a lot of them started contacting us directly and said they’d like to make a donation.
– As far as the digital projector is concerned, how future-proof is that?
Well we’ve got some warranty on it which is good! We worked very close with Arts Alliance Media, they help us if something breaks, and that’s where we got the projector from in the end. The projector’s five years old already, but it’s doing ok. Hopefully it’ll last us a while, at least until people start making films in holograms.
You can see this terms YSC film schedule here – http://yorkstudentcinema.org/?page_id=62