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Film Clubs: The new Friday evening pastime

Published by Nigerian Compass on Wed, 29 Feb 2012

Going to a film club may not necessarily be the first way you choose to spend your Friday evening. Nevertheless, around the world, it is a movement that is quickly picking up momentum. I spoke to Sasha Anevsky, an organiser of a film club in Moscow, about why this concept, which has been around for many years, is suddenly increasing in popularity.In a sleepy, underground den at the heart of Moscow lies 'Kinosreda'; a film club which plays international movies with English subtitles every week. Founded by an organisation called 'A Group of People', the initial aim of 'Kinosreda' was to educate the public on cinematography. This later grew to Russian culture and eventually widened to how different countries are depicted through film. Over the years, the club has tackled genres ranging from 'Italian gangster films' to 'silent Japanese movies'I wanted to find out from Sasha what drove people to attend such events.'It is interesting to see the world from different people's perspectives', he explained.It seems that people now more than ever, are curious about the world around them and are ready to explore it. This is evident in the fact that film clubs exist in places across the globe such as Spain and Australia. In 2011, 'Kinosreda' even managed to hold its first ever international conference over the internet with film clubs from different cities.'We want to try and get the best perception of countries as possible' Sasha told me. It is not just the cultural factor that makes film clubs so appealing however. The warm and friendly atmosphere they provide is also a reason to why more people are walking through their doors.'The atmosphere is usually great; otherwise I would never support it,' stated SashaHe also believes that film clubs offer the perfect alternative for those who want to socialise outside of the bar and nightclub scene.'There is nothing like this in Moscow and I have made so many friends here', he commented, in relation to 'Kinosreda'.The proof of this perhaps lies in the fact that two members who met at the club recently got married, something Sasha sees as one of 'Kinosreda's' greatest achievements. When I joked that this meant the club was a good place for finding a partner, he simply gushed.'Well, anyone willing to sit through a whole movie must not be that bad!'If the above so far is not enough for all you readers who are hard to please, then perhaps this next part will sway you. A lot of the time, film clubs are a 100 percent free to enter. This means you do not have to pay for your ticket or the scrumptious snacks that usually come as part of the experience. If right now, your head is spinning whilst trying to calculate the math, then don't worry, I too struggled to understand this logic at first. 'People leave a contribution,' Sasha explained to me.This is a system he adopted for 'Kinosreda' after being inspired by a club in Berlin where a basket was passed around for people to make voluntary donations.As risky as this method may sound, it actually seems to work. Well, for 'Kinosreda' at least. The club has a steady membership of around sixty people each week, 'sometimes it even gets so packed that people are willing to stand and watch the movie,' he added, excitedly.Whilst speaking to Sasha about film clubs, the notion of being government funded also came up. Although 'Kinosreda' is not state endorsed, he believes the club and others like it should receive this support. This is because, in his view, they are the perfect cultural projects that help to depict countries in a positive light.'I love this country (Russia). Usually it is unbearable, but we preach about the things that help to keep us together.'Going back to the beginning of this article, I'll be honest; attending a film club certainly hadn't been high onmylist of ways to spend a Friday evening. Nevertheless, after going to 'Kinosreda', I am starting to see what all the fuss is about. Not only does it allow for socialising in a relaxed and comfortable environment, it is also educational in the process. The fact that it is vast becoming an established concept in not only Moscow, but places all around the world is evidence of its increasing appeal. Nevertheless, does it have a place in Nigeria' Well, with events such as the African Film Festival which was held last year and existing groups such as the 'Reel Life Film Club' already on the ground, it seems this trend does have a market which can only get bigger over time.
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