Films Amongst Friends

Film Society Quiz at Teviot - Kittiphon Boonma

Drawn together by a love of film on the big screen, Edinburgh University’s Film Society is one of the best ways to watch a wide variety of films at an affordable price. Screening three films a week throughout term time, it features a diverse range of new releases,classics and international cinema which can be enjoyed by students and non-students alike.

Since EUFS’ inception over 40 years ago, it has sought to provide a platform for those passionate about film to watch and discuss the relative merits of a production in a friendly and welcoming way. According to vice-president Lauchlan Hall, “it (the society) is not just the appreciation of film, but the appreciation of the art of film itself, and the dialogue that can be shared between films is an experience which surprisingly few people have had.”

Something which the society actively promotes is a sociable outlet for what is often a very isolated hobby. President Mat Seccombe reinforces this by saying “we are a very sociable society, often heading to the pub after screenings to discuss the film just watched and are hoping to bring back our monthly movie quiz which proved to be hugely popular when we ran it a few years ago.” It is those moments, when you are introduced to new films or ideas, that Hall seems keen to emphasise. This is the highlight of an organisation built around a shared passion, where he says “the best part of the society is being able to discuss things you have never even heard of and learn about new and exciting films and directors.”

Yet despite the society’s potential for film snobbery, arguably its best facet is its openness, where it makes anyone who shares a passion for film, no matter how limited their knowledge, or particular their tastes, welcome. As Seccombe notes, “We are not just film buffs expecting people to know everything; as long as you enjoy film then we actively encourage anyone to come along.” He seems quick to point out that “a shared interest in film draws crowds together as people enjoy discussing a mutual passion.”

It is also apparent that EUFS moves far beyond a society that merely watches films, as it requires projectionists, archivists, floor managers and film bookers who have to get around the constraints of copyright laws in order to run with the efficiency it does. Evidently, one of the most difficult features of the society is trying to compile a list of films in advance to be screened that will be enjoyed by all and cater for a huge variety of preferences. “We try to maintain people’s interest by showcasing a variety of films whilst not being elitist,” states Hall. This is done through weekly meetings where all are welcome to voice an opinion on what should be shown regardless of their position in the society. Often, they focus on particular themes or directors, which is similar to the seasons that many independent cinemas hold as part of their programmes.

Their recently updated website  provides information about the society, film reviews and details on how to join. It has never been easier to find out about upcoming events or read an online version of their programme, which features all of the forthcoming screenings.

There also seem to be plans in place to expand the sorts of events they run, with outdoor screenings in Pleasance proving to be particularly popular and talks of running special celluloid screenings to recreate the iconic image of a film currently in process. With a healthy number of their own projectors that is steadily rising, these are just a few of the ideas that illustrate how EUFS is very much a society that is constantly evolving to enable unique ways of enjoying cinema.

Having won the Film Society of the Year award from the British Federation of Film Societies numerous times, it is clear that this is a group that has all the right elements in place. The amount of thought that goes into curating EUFS’ program rather than merely showing a selection of rom-coms and big blockbusters makes this the quintessential society for any film fan.

Yearly membership £15.

Single semester membership £10.

£1.00 screenings for friends of members.

Taken from The Student, published Tue Sep 20th 2011.

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