Supporting the screen . . . Timaru Film Society co-organisers Jayne Blakemore (left) and Ross Stevenson are looking forward to hosting the society's first screening at Movie Max next month. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

South Canterbury film fans have a new group to join to celebrate the big screen.

The Timaru Film Society, which will host its first screening on October 17, is the creation of Jayne Blakemore and Ross Stevenson.

Ms Blakemore said it was started as a way of offering film lovers a chance to see international films that would not usually be shown at commercial cinemas.

The society is the 15th to come under the umbrella of the New Zealand Film Association, which chooses about 40 films for branches to select from to make up their programme.

Mr Stevenson, who belonged to a film society in Palmerston North before he moved south five years ago, said while bigger societies could offer as many as 30 films a year, the Timaru society would probably begin with a smaller programme until member numbers grew.

Having screenings in a dedicated cinema was preferable to locations previously used by film societies, where a projector and screen often had to be set up to show films.

“Filmgoers have moved past the draughty hall kind of thing.”

Movie Max cinema manager Robert Jeromson had been “very encouraging” regarding the society’s plans, Mr Stevenson said.

Mr Jeromson also envisaged the society would support local cafes as it was planned to have social gatherings either before or after screenings.

The society will screen Crossing Rachmaninoff – about Italian-born Auckland concert pianist Flavio Villani – on October 17. About Elly – which focuses on the relationships between some middle-class families in Iran – will follow on October 31.

New Zealander Pietra Brettkelly’s documentary A Flickering Truth, about Afghani film-makers restoring footage hidden for years during the reign of the Taliban, will be screened on November 14.

Ms Blakemore said she was hoping Crossing Rachmaninoffwould attract a good crowd and get the society off to a good start.

The society was offering a three-film pass for $30, which, if people decided to become members next year, would count as part of the annual membership fee, she said.

The exact cost of membership had not been decided yet. Numbers attending the three films being shown before the end of the year would help organisers to determine the costs involved, she said.

For more information on the Timaru Film Society email or call Ms Blakemore on 022 694-1531.

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