It's been amazing to see so many women return to the Film Club, a project that everyone holds in such affection.
What I'm reminded of again as we host these screenings is just how important the Film Club is so many of the women who come. Course I take for granted just how easy it is to go the pictures or see cultural stuff that's going on...until that is these Film Club screenings! And then I'm reminded again that cinema is neither affordable nor accessible to so many women.
At the Mandela screening, we had 30 asylum seeking women attending, 17 of those had come with an asylum and refugee support group, Sanctuary Newport, who'd organised a minibus for them to come to Cardiff that day. These are women who can't take part in cultural activity unless we can support that, in the case of the Film Club, with free complimentary tickets to our asylum seeking visitors. In fact it was an amazing day, women from all backgrounds, all ages, and 30 kids in the creche, discussing film, being moved by Mandela's inspiring example, catching up or simply meeting women new people for the first time. Then, really, it's a joy doing the work, because you can see so clearly the value it has for people...
We're now planning a series of pop-up film events taking our screenings into the heart of some of our vibrant faith and cultural communities in the city. For the first one we've invited the Bollywood Brass Band who'll be playing live at the Hindu Samaj Community Centre in Grangetown...it's a change in our usual screenings because we're opening the event up to anyone, that includes the menfolk!! With the Gujarati community hosting us (and cooking for 300 on the night!) it looks set to be a brilliant evening...!
Since the Film Club relaunch in November, women have been commenting on why they love the project so much:
"Extremely important, I feel an emotional film such as this was better to be shared. I feel that the experience was magnified by being with others and experiencing it together"
"Very important and a great way to bring everyone together, and also to make new friends, and eat and converse with different people, cultures"
"How very popular the WOW Film Club is, it's a pity there isn't space for more people!"
"It was a great day, I really enjoyed it today, Excellent, open and homely"