Kim Hopkins (director)
11 November 2022 (released)
09 November 2022
Since 1932, every Monday, the Bradford Movie Makers film club has met. It’s the oldest film club in the country and a combination of age, finances and community disinterest are beginning to take its toll.
What Kim Hopkins has done is not anything terribly new in this documentary as he tries to get to the core of how the club ticks and the passions it arouses. The passions are palpable from those that are looking to make films to present to members. We are taken on set as a horror film is developed, this is serious fun, emphasis on the serious.
The passion keeps them going with the finances in terrible state, and the building, in poor condition, and a target for vandalism and fly-tipping. This adversity though has the members quickly pulling together to clear it up, and then pooling ideas to raise money.
On the more eccentric side there’s a chap who wants to be filmed singing ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’’ from Oklahoma, white horse, green field and all, in Bradford.
However, taking away all that what Hopkins gets to is the heart of the club and the spirit of the members. Even when they are let down by their own community: a well-advertised fund-raising event fails due to lack of interest, and the constant attacks on the club’s premises. The club members too are beset by tragedy as loved ones pass on, and they themselves suffer illness and injury.
As they didn’t have enough to contend with, Covid hits, forcing the club to close and the members into lockdown. They make do as best they can under the circumstances. Then luck combined with some research sees the club able to resume its activities, and then some.
This is a wonderful, uplifting, touching film that puts the very best of humanity to the fore, even as the members squabble over technical filming issues, acting and money. These things however never upset the balance of the club that has its soul in the community with the members willing to work hard for each other. As we see when the member gets his wish (made possible by no end of assistance from club members and friends) to recreate that classic sequence from Oklahoma.