by Anna Navas
Well, we are at that time of year when we usually look back on a packed year of screenings, contemplate the highs and the lows and look ahead to a new year and a new programme. 2021 isn’t really that different in those respects, even though it feels like it has certainly been a bit of a challenge at times! We may only have been able to open from June but we have seen an incredible variety of brilliant films, welcomed audiences back with open arms and worked with some lovely partners in the city and beyond. If memory serves me right, we even avoided the rain at our Open Air Cinema weekends too….or am I just looking back through rose-tinted glasses to the warmth of summer?
The whole PAC team of staff and volunteers has done a little poll of film favourites and it shows just how much we have managed to screen. A clear winner at the top is Petite Maman which has had universal praise from everyone but it was closely followed (in no particular order) by Judas and the Black Messiah, Story of a Three Day Pass, I’m Your Man, Gagarine, The Nest and Never Gonna Snow Again. Personal favourites of mine were First Cow, Independent Miss Craigie, screening Bait at Tinside Lido and Another Round. I also loved hearing Martha Tilston’s beautiful voice when she sang a few songs for us after the screening of her film The Tape.
I’m happy to report that the film at the bottom of everyone’s list was No Time to Die! The independent cinema world is a place where we all champion the small films, the bright, shiny treats that can never have as big a marketing budget as the Bonds of this world but which absolutely deserve their place up there on the big screens. I am more than happy that No Time to Die broke all box office records and it pulled people back into cinemas on a grand scale but, for me, to see our audience excited about seeing films like Sound of Metal, Limbo, Nomadland and Minari makes me hopeful for the future of indie cinemas. I’m also pleased to let you know that a whopping 40% of films we have screened this year are F-Rated, demonstrating our commitment to more balanced gender representation on screen and behind the camera.
The biggest and loveliest thing about this year hasn’t been the films though. It has been seeing you all back in the cinema, telling us what you have loved (and hated!). We are incredibly lucky to have you and are so grateful for everything you do to support us and to spread the word about PAC. Sponsors and donors have also continued to help us in a year that has been hard for everyone and we are eternally grateful to all of you. Your continued support keeps us going in more ways than you can know.
None of us knows what lays ahead for 2022 but the whole PAC team hopes we can welcome you all back in January with a total humdinger of a programme and that you all have a peaceful and healthy Christmas break.