We’re all going on a summer holiday!

As has become customary here at Film at the Folk Hall HQ, we are taking a hard earned break over August. I am using the time wisely and going to the other side of the world for a few weeks! It’s been an incredible 9 months running our amazing little group but I have found myself run ragged a bit so a much needed break couldn’t have come at a better time.

Tegan Pearce

Thanks to everyone who came along for our ‘Life, Animated’ last night. Having one of our very own volunteers get up before the film to share some of her work and experiences of Autism was really something special. This along with incredible news that a film project she has pitched to channel 4 has just been given the green light! How exciting, well done Tegan!

We are nipping off for a month but don’t worry, we will be back with our new season of films starting in September! I’d like to personally thank everyone who joined us for a film during this season. It’s certainly been an emotional one, but I hope you’ll agree an inspiring one too! All three events (‘Still Alice’, ‘Carol’ and ‘Life, Animated’) have dealt with big issues in our society which we felt we could help shed some light on. We feel very proud to be able to bring such motivating guests to speak to us about their work in our community. If we ever touch on a subject which you’d like more information about or you’d like to make contact with any of our guests please do get in touch. By email on filmfolkhall@hotmail.com or by phone on 07891 497463. Or you can check out our Local Links page.

In other news we are very excited to announce some new volunteers who have joined us recently taking us up to 13 currently! We have lots of new ideas we will be working on over the next few months so watch this space! We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the New Earswick Resident’s Forum for assisting us in buying our very own laptop, it’s a bobby dazzler and it will be put to great use.

Following our break in August, our next season of films will take us from the musical to the frightful, from the romantic to the hilarious! Starting in September we will be bringing you the magical ‘La La Land’, winner of dozens of awards and starring the enchanting Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, we can’t wait to experience it with our audience! Then in October we have Hitchock’s classic ‘Pyscho’, which is our first ‘Audience Voted’ Film at the Folk Hall. Then in November… wait for it… ‘DIRTY DANCING!’ That’s right, it’s happening, it’s been requested several times by audience members and is an absolute classic so we know it’s going to be a great night. Get practicing your best lift! Finally, kickstart your Christmas with a matinee showing of the brilliant ‘Elf!’ With games and competitions this will definitely be one for the whole family to enjoy. We can barely wait!


Also, please do grab a new programme from the Folk Hall from the end of July and keep track of what we’re up to on http://www.filmfolkhall.com.

See you soon!

Sam and the team


Bringing us back to ‘Life, Animated’

Before our third and final film of the current season I thought it might be worth putting some facts out there about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). For starters, it affects more than 1 in 100 children. Some studies put it as high as 1 in 68. Boys are nearly 5 times more likely to have it than girls and despite some myths, people do not ‘normally’ grow out of it. Estimates are that 700,000 people in the UK have ASD and there is no medical cure or detection for it.

Life, animated at the Folk Hall

If, like me, you read some of those facts and realised just how little you knew about something which affects so many of the population, then perhaps our next event is for you. In fact, it is in the hope of raising awareness and shaking off some of the taboo around the subject that we felt it was the right time to show this film at the Folk Hall. Not only that, but also the fact it is a beautiful movie which really showcases the power of film and how it can affect people’s lives.

Screenshot of Owen Suskind from Life, animated. 

In this case the person in question is Owen Suskind who, early in his life, went silent. Growing up in a modern age meant much of his life was caught on camera and Academy Award Winning directer, Roger Ross, seamlessly weaves childhood footage from Owen’s life alongside classic Disney sequences and beautiful new animations. These help to give us a unique glimpse into an autistic boy’s world and the magical role that animated film had in allowing him to become the man he was meant to be.

Screenshot of new animation from Life, animated.

The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and won the Critics Choice Documentary Award along with a host of other accolades. We are also proud to welcome along Mary Thompson from the City of York Council again who attended during our Still Alice showing in May. Mary will be making sure relevant help and information is available for anyone wanting to find out more.

Tegan Pearce

We will be starting the evening with a short introduction by one of our very own volunteers, Tegan Pearce to talk to us about her experience of Autism and how it has formed her next film project. We would love to see you along and appreciate you supporting your local community cinema.






Step back to 1950’s New York with us and get swept away with this critically acclaimed, beautifully shot love story.


‘Carol’ is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel, ‘The Price of Salt’ and follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair at a time when convention makes things a challenge for them.

We are excited to welcome back Christine Appleton from the Joseph Rowntree L.G.B.T. plus network after she introduced us to their work at our showing of ‘The Danish Girl’ last summer. Christine will be updating us on her work since we last saw her, introducing the film and her network have kindly offered to help us with funding the event.

As a community organisation we want everyone to feel welcome and accepted when they walk through our doors. By inviting various groups and speakers to join us for our events and chatting to our audience, we hope to add an extra level to our events that leaves people talking about more than just the movie! We are also lucky enough to have the beautiful setting of the Folk Hall, a licensed bar and ice cream at the the interval!

We are also taking votes for our Halloween film this year. Pick between four amazing films spanning four amazing decades! ‘Psycho’, ‘Jaws’, ‘Ghostbusters’ or ‘Get Out!’. Email filmfolkhall@hotmail.com with your selection to be in with a chance to win 1 of 5 pairs of tickets to the event on Friday 27th October 2017!Halloween options.jpg

Following this event we will have ‘Life, Animated’ in July. We hope to see you at an event soon!


Feature on Film Curiosity website

Sam Watling, the Chair of Film at the Folk Hall, is an impassioned man to bring the best that he can to the community of New Earswick, York.  Watling’s journey began with a ten-day focus on positivity in January 2016 to bite those winter blues.  Taking him through giving food parcels to those caught by the York floods and giving blood for the first time, he branched out to volunteering in a local group.  Discovering the film group was a “five-minute walk from my house, it’s a film club in need of someone, it was a no-brainer for me I’ll be honest.”

Supporting the group initially, he was invited to step up to the leadership role after only six months and took the lead without question.  Having never done a leadership role before, he’s been running the group of ten volunteers for the last year and has taken the group from strength to strength.  “We’ve built something with some serious potential, so even though it was a bit daunting, and I work full-time you know…It was a big thing, extra thing to take on but it’s become a passion project very very quickly.”

The group started back in December 2014 as an offshoot from the New Earswick Less Lonely Initative (NELLI).  Later, bringing Watling on board, they rebranded the group to Film at the Folk Hall and they were lucky enough to get good support.  The Independent Cinema Office provided advice and they’re now a member of Cinema for All.  The BFI Fund gave them their first projector, the John Lewis Community Fund gave them their screen and they were up and running.

As an alternative to the Multiplex Cinema and a firm community favourite to build connections in the area, Film at the Folk Hall runs film screenings and events to bring to the people the cinema they want to see.  They survey their event attendees to plan the best screening schedule they can.  Their recent Disney Pixar events, funded by York City Council, were designed especially for children where they could colour and craft through the screening: an inspired way to appease those bouncing bottoms on the cinema seat.  Watling has found these events inspiring for the future of the group.  “It’s all been about give it a try.  If it works, try and make sure that we make a song and dance about it.”

Joseph Rowntree was a manufacturer in the area in the 20th Century and a natural philanthropist.  Believing his staff should share in the wealth of the company, he built social housing for his employees, as well as the Folk Hall, which opened in October 1907.  The film group aims to continue his legacy where running the group is as much about serving the needs of the community as it is about serving film.

This year has seen the group reach new heights.  “For me personally, I, Daniel Blake was the biggest achievement.”  The group were lucky enough for Dave Johns, the lead actor, to come along and give a Q&A session before their screening.  He was a welcome visitor who chatted to group participants before the session started.  “For us, the type of film that it is, the fact that it has a social impact, the fact that we were absolutely sold out, and all of our volunteers got together…it kind of showed us that we can be more than just a film group.  We can really kind of open people’s minds to new ideas.  We raised nearly £100 for the York Food Bank.  For us, it consolidated everything that we’d been trying to do.”  The group has posted the recording of Dave Johns speaking in the Q&A session here if you would like to watch.

Coming up soon is an evening of Dementia Awareness to partner their screening of Still, Alice starring Julianne Moore: tickets to all of their events are available here.  With speakers coming in to talk about the illness and give advice, and a selection of short films, this will be a thought-provoking event.

The group is purposely inclusive.  They’re looking for more volunteers to assist them on the team.  Watling has so many ideas including social impact screenings, engaging local business and filmmaking workshops.  They’re also seeking to reach more quarters of the community including families, people who are socially isolated or the disabled to encourage them to join the group.  There is more information about the group available on their website here.

If you’re in the York area, this group really has something to offer.    In the words of Watling himself, “we have got a 16-foot high definition projection, we’ve got great sound, we’ve got a bar, we’ve got parking.”  What’s not to like?

Dementia Action with ‘Still Alice’ (12a) and special guests – Friday 26th May @ 7pm

Julianne Moore’s emotional portrayal of a professor facing up to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease won her an Oscar and a BAFTA. We are proud to be showing this incredible film as part of a special event where we will get an insight into local projects and inspiring people living with dementia.

Special Guests

As well as the award winning feature film we will be welcoming speakers from:

  • Inspired Youth – A York based film production company introducing some of their short films.
  • Minds in motion – A student volunteer group working with people living with dementia.
  • City of York Council – To offer advice and insight into relevant work going on in this field.

Our group aims to be more than just a cinema. We want to find award winning films that shed light on subjects that affect our society. We want to bring you exciting and thought provoking events on these subjects and we want to offer somewhere safe, inclusive and supportive to enjoy such events with like minded people.

Most of all we want everyone to feel welcome through our doors. As another step toward that aim we are proud to be pledging our support to York’s Dementia Action Alliance and working towards becoming dementia friendly. We hope you can support us by sharing this event with your friends

We expect this event to be well attended and so please book tickets early to avoid disappointment. They can be purchased from New Earswick Folk Hall or online our tickets section.

We look forward to seeing you!

Kids at the Folk Hall 2017

Well what a fabulous start to the year it has been. Our season of kids films was funded by the City of York Council so it allowed us to provide an amazing Disney Pixar movie, crafting, prizes and refreshments all for only £1 per ticket. Altogether we have had 266 people join us for our events where we enjoyed ‘The Jungle Book’ in December, a series of ‘Pixar Short films’ in February, ‘Inside Out’ in March and then ‘Finding Dory’ in April.

Families settle down to watch the film!

One of our volunteers did a bit of filming at our recent event so we made it into a little video to show you how much fun we all had!

As well as lots of great fun being had there was also lots of beautiful artwork created too. We had music before the films and during the interval and left the lights up throughout so that people could move around and carry on crafting during the films. Running the events like this gave everyone a proper chance to talk and make friends and allowed for any restless little ones to stretch their legs.

Crafts for the underwater ‘stop-motion’ animation workshop

These events definitely helped us address some of the things our organisation hopes to achieve such as giving local people an opportunity to meet like minded folk in their community and to offer them a much cheaper and more interactive alternative to the big cinemas in York. Our aims as a community cinema compliment the priorities of the Huntington and New Earswick Ward too, helping to reduce social isolation and to give opportunities to young people in the area. This is one reason why your local councillors agreed to fund this project and, we hope they agree it has been a great success. We thank them for their support! More information about your ward and it’s councillors can be found on the council website.

Lots of incredible crafting took place and prizes were awarded for best effort!

During one of the events our resident film maker, Steve and his equally talented son, Finlay joined us to run a stop-motion animation workshop. It went down a storm and lots of kids got involved and learned the basics of making an animated film. Here’s a short clip from one of the workshops:

The crafting at all the events was organised by the Friends of New Earswick School and all the box office money went to their fundraising efforts for school play equipment. They were also instrumental in making sure New Earswick Primary School kids and parents were informed about our events and even got the kids to help choose our final two films so we thank all their volunteers for helping us with this project! We are very proud to say we have made some great friends there and will certainly look to work with FONES again in the future, including attending their summer fair later this year. Check out their Facebook page to find out what they are getting up to.

A great place for families to meet and kids to play in a relaxed atmosphere

Finally, a big thanks to our own volunteers who give their free time on a Sunday to come along and help set up, get involved and make these things fun and enjoyable for everyone!

Watch this space for more kids events early next year!


Springtime at the Folk Hall

The weather starts improving, the days get longer and Film at the Folk Hall continues to get more exciting! We have continued to see a nice rise in our average audience numbers so thank you to all those out there supporting what we do!

Following on from the incredible I, Daniel Blake event in January and our second successful kids event with Pixar Short films in Feb, we are looking to the future and to bringing you more amazing films to enjoy with us.

Bridget Jones’s Baby was the first romantic comedy we have played and lots of you turned up to help us make it a great event! We opened with a brief mention of our constitution and how, as well as great films at cheap prices, we are committed to bringing people together, fostering friendships and trying to reduce isolation in our community. To help get us in the mood we had some lovely videos from TV2 Denmark and Mentos. Mentos even sent us some yummy sweets to enjoy during the main feature.

Here’s the beautiful ‘All That We Share’ video from TV2 Denmark, reminding us that there is more that brings us together than sets us apart –

And here’s the brilliant ‘Mentos Mentors’ video about connecting people –

At the interval we even tried ‘Speed Friending’. We rang a bell every few minutes and asked the audience to chat to someone they didn’t know. It was, of course, completely optional but it was lovely to see people having a go! We like the idea that people would feel comfortable coming to visit us even if they were on their own. With a licensed bar and lots of lovely people, there’s always new friends to be made. Hopefully this helped reinforce that message and I’m sure it won’t be the last time we do it!

Next up is Inside Out on Sunday 12th March @ 2pm and Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Friday 31st March @ 7pm. Don’t forget our AGM from 6pm too! Come and hear about the year we have had and what we hope for the future.

We hope to see you all soon!