History of Welwyn Garden City Film Society


The Society was founded in 1946 with the express purpose of bringing quality cinema to the then expanding Garden City.

Despite early brushes with the local cinema management, the Society maintained its annual programming, using various local venues, including the Barn Theatre, and, more recently, the College of Further Education.

Since 1978, it has met regularly at Campus West Theatre, successively renamed The Hawthorne Theatre in 2010 and Garden City Cinema in 2013. This has excellent commercial film-showing facilities and a comfortable auditorium. The cinema has recently been converteed to three screens.

In the first few years of its history, the Society also boasted a film-making group, which made several short films, including the award-winning "Opus One" in 1948. In the early 80s the Society played host to a celebration of the work of the Welwyn Film Studios which contributed many films to the history of British cinema from 1928 to 1951. During those years such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Flora Robson, Anna Neagle, Anthony Asquith, Robert Newton and Alec Guinness all worked there.

In more recent times the Society has included children’s film shows on Saturday mornings in its programming, and discussion evenings, welcoming such directors as Paul Hills (Boston Kickout), Udayan Prasad (My Son The Fanatic), Paul Morrison (Solomon & Gaenor and Wondrous Oblivion), Andrea Arnold (Wasp, Red Road, and Fish Tank) and film critics such as Philip Strick—an Ingmar Bergman enthusiast.

Unfortunately, members will be disappointed to learn that the future of the Society after the completion of the 2017-18 season is in jeopardy because costs have risen faster than income from memberships.

A complete history of the Society, "Flashback", written by a former chairman of some twenty years tenure, Fred Aicken, is available from the Society at £2.50.

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