Ipswich Film Society

Ipswich Film Society

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Ipswich Film Society dates back to February 1935 when a small group of people attended a public meeting organised by local film enthusiast Gordon Hales. This led to the formation of a Film Society and its first performance was held in the Lecture Room at the Ipswich Museum on 18 March 1935 - a screening of the German silent film Warning Shadows.

By 1936, the subscription rates set at one guinea, Sunday evening film shows were held at the old Central Cinema in Princes Street, including The Covered Wagon. Screenings were also held at the former Picture House in Tavern Street (the site now occupied by Boots) and distinguished film makers, including Anthony Asquith and Alberto Cavalcanti came to IFS lectures at the High Street Art Gallery.

Central Cinema High Street Art Gallery
Central Cinema High Street Art Gallery

After a break during the 2nd World War, the Film Society returned with record membership. In 1950, disaster struck when the Central Cinema burnt down and the Society was forced into showing films at the Art Gallery and at the old Oriental Café in Westgate Street (in the building now occupied by GAP).

Central Cinema Oriental Café
Central Cinema Oriental Café

After a move to the former YMCA Hall in Norwich Road, the Society’s fortunes declined, echoing a decline in popularity of Cinema generally. In 1971, with a new and younger Committee and a more inclusive approach to programme selection, a move was made to the town centre where the old Arts Theatre on Tower Street (which had been used as a cinema in pre-war times - Poole's Picture Palace) was reincarnated as a movie venue and saw membership levels soar.

Arts Theatre Poole's Picture Palace
Arts Theatre Poole's Picture Palace

In 1975, the opening of the Ipswich Film Theatre in the newly restored Corn Exchange Arts & Entertainment Centre heralded a new era for Art House cinema in Ipswich and the Society was delighted to be able to make its permanent home at the IFT after four decades of temporary venues. In the following 30 years, the Society has shown over 400 feature films at the IFT and is now one of the longest established Film Societies in the country. The Ipswich Film Society looks forward to bringing the Best of World Cinema to Ipswich audiences for many years to come.

Deloitte's Computers for Charity Scheme (2008) The Society received a reconditioned PC under Deloitte's Computers for Charity scheme. The laptop provides the means to maintain the Society's web site and manage desktop publishing tasks and electronic correspondence

Shelley Tiltman of the Community Investment Team presents the PC to our Webmaster, Simon Ashton
Neil Salmon's Retirement (2007) Neil has been a member of the Society for well over 40 years. He was first elected to the Committee in 1967, becoming Secretary in 1970 and elected as Chairman in 1986 – a position he held until his retirement in 2007

Our Secretary, Jean Hill, with our Chairman, David Clare and past Chairman, Neil Salmon – pictured at our end of season social event
Ipswich Film Society's 70th Anniversary (2005) Current and former members of the Committee celebrating 70 years of the Society with a display of posters, programmes and other memorabilia at Ipswich County Library

Bill Serjeant, Neil Salmon, David Clare, Trudi Keeble, Simon Ashton, Susannah Rosenberg, Stephen Crane, Jean Hill, Terry Cloke, Stuart Grimwade and Rod Lay

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