With the new year in sight it's a great time to reflect and set intentions for the year ahead. Revisiting or watching a selection of "the Greatest of All Time" is a reminder of where we are now and what is considered "great" an opportunity to look to the stars for their guidance or to forge our own choices. We have taken a moment to reflect on one of our successful funding opportunities.
This year Film Hub Midlands supported Shrewsbury Film Society with a Pitch Pot to help fund their idea to programme films from the Sight and Sound Directors' "100 Greatest Films of All Time" list, into the season "Six of the Best" building on from their previous film seasons, such as, "Five at 50" in 2020 which showed five classical films from the 1970s.
Every decade since 1992, Sight and Sound has complemented its celebrated critics’ poll by formally sounding out the world’s leading directors on the ten films they believe to be the greatest of all time. It's a major talking point amongst cinephiles, it could be described as the super bowl of cinema, where we tick off the films we have seen, add new films to our watchlist, put the gauntlet down on the judges choices. Or simply, dismiss the canon.
Of course, the list raises many questions. What does ‘greatest’ mean? Can we objectively judge and order cinema history, and if so, why? Does the canon exclude and thus, oppress underrepresented voices? With a younger generation of critics that have grown up curating their own film access and an increase in independence one shouldn’t be surprised that the 2022 list presented a cultural shift.
Here are the 2022, 100 greatest films of all time, as voted for by many of today’s greatest living filmmakers.
The films that made it onto Shrewsbury Film Society’s the "Six of the Best" season were chosen with their local audiences in mind. Narrowed down from the top 50 and selected based on a variety of genres, ages and countries.
Shrewsbury Film Society went ahead with "Six of the Best" successfully screening on alternate Wednesdays at The Hive in Shropshire. Showing select films from the Sight and Sound list; The Leopard (1963), Cleo From 5 to 7 (1961), Late Spring (1949), Daisies (1966), La Jetee (1963) and Mirror (1974).
Shrewsbury Film Society are now continuing with another season subsidised by their Friday night shows. We caught up with Peter Pack, film programmer at Shrewsbury Film Society, at our Film Hub Midlands Members Meetup where they expressed;
"In picking our six films, we aimed to be as diverse as possible, so we chose the six features to come from six different countries as well as being from a range of genres and covering nearly 50 years of cinema history; we also decided not to show anything we had screened previously; we tried to focus on films that are rarely shown on the big screen; and to avoid any films that were too long (over three hours).
“Running the season with support from the Film Hub was very useful as it gave us an idea of the size of the audience we could attract and what they were interested in seeing. Our average audience size was over 50, which delighted us. We were also pleased that we had encouraging turnouts for our silent film and the challenging work of Andrei Tarkovsky. Overall, the experience made us realise that we could run another season using our own funds, subsidised by our Friday night shows, without the need for a grant.
“We therefore decided to be ambitious and are now part-way through a season of another ten films from the Sight & Sound Top 100; pleasingly, audience sizes are very similar so far.
In this new season, we are again screening films from a wide variety of countries, genres and ages: Bicycle Thieves (1948), Beau Travail (1998) & Meshes Of The Afternoon (1943) as a double bill, Do The Right thing (1989), Pather Panchali (1957), Ordet (1955), The Piano (1993), Chungking Express (1994), Tropical Malady (2004), Metropolis (1927) and A Matter Of Life And Death (1946).”
We're thrilled to hear that the Film Hub Midlands Pitch Pot was useful to Shrewsbury Film Society and that they will now be continuing their expanded season sustainably. Find their new season of films on the Hive website.
Our Pitch Pots are available to help support a risk and try something new. Whether you are new to film exhibition and want to put on your first screening or an established cinema or community screen who wants to trial a new type of programming.
Our Pitch Pots are open for applications. You must be a member of Film Hub Midlands to receive our support, you can register now.