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Difficult topics . . . German actress Julia Jentsch starred in 24 Weeks, one of the two most-popular films in the 2018 Timaru Film Society programme. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Greta Yeoman

The Timaru Film Society is set to switch to Monday screenings next year – as well as increasing the number of films on offer.

Ross Stevenson, who established the Timaru society with Jayne Blakemore last year, said the society would return in March with 18 films on offer for the 2019 season.

The society ran its first full-year programme this year on Tuesday evenings. An average of 72 members turned up at each of the semi-regular screenings.

Documentary discussions . . . Listen to Me Marlon, about Marlon Brando, was one of the Timaru Film Society’s highest-voted film screenings. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Mr Stevenson said the group, which holds its screenings at Movie Max, would shift its fortnightly events to Monday evenings, at the request of cinema management.

While it would potentially decrease audience numbers if people could not make the new dates, Mr Stevenson expected the society would pick up some new members who had previously been unable to attend the Tuesday screenings.

The first film in the 2019 programme would screen in March, he said.

Membership fees would remain at $100 for the year, but the number of films shown would increase from 15 to 18.

“[We are] aiming for two films a month.”

The programme is compiled from a list of 40 films offered by the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies.

Timaru Film Society co-founder Ross Stevenson. PHOTO: COURIER FILES

Mr Stevenson said each society had to put together a “wish list” ranking the films it wanted to screen, which would then be worked out by the national body, based on when and how many times particular films were able to be screened.

“They put the puzzle together.”

There were 15 film societies across New Zealand and even after just one full year of the group, the Timaru Film Society was now the fifth-largest in the country, he said.

There are about 146 members in the group at present.

While the 2019 programme was not yet public, Mr Stevenson hoped there would be a good mix of film styles, topics and countries of origin.

“We will have quite a wide range.”

He said the variety of people in the society was demonstrated through the rating system the society ran where audience members were given a slip with one to five stars, to rate each film. Some films got a one-star reaction from some viewers, while others rated it five stars.

“People also like talking about the films afterwards.”

This was demonstrated by the two most-popular films, Listen to Me Marlon about Marlon Brando and 24 Weeks, a drama about a woman deciding whether to have a late-term abortion, which both scored 85%.

“Some types of film can cause a strong reaction.”

For more information about the Timaru Film Society or to inquire about joining, email timarufilmsociety@gmail.com or visit www.nzfilmsociety.org.nz/timaru.