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The Lois and Lindsay Dilemma and the birth of 'cinemocracy' at HB Arts Festival

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

An unusually democratic cinema screening is likely to take place during the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival on Thursday 2nd July at 7.30pm, when after the talk in the Waterside Hall of the Town Hall, the audience will actually have an opportunity to vote for the film that they most want to see.

The event is a rare opportunity to see and hear 95 year old Lois Smith, local artist and resident of the town, who is going to talk about how in 1948 in Wakefield she produced the very first film made by then unknown director Lindsay Anderson. He would then go on to enjoy a successful career in the cinema and crown it by winning the Palm d'Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival with his film 'If'.

Lois Smith

photo of Lois Smith, taken by Jill Smith Moorhouse in the White Lion
in Hebden Bridge before a Calder Civic Trust meeting

The idea of including this talk in the 2015 Arts Festival came from local filmmaker Nick Wilding, who will be talking to Lois and will screen some of his own film 'Discovering Lindsay, A Personal reminiscence of Lois Smith'. This incorporates extracts from the film she produced with Lindsay, 'Meet the Pioneers'.

Nick will also screen trailers of some of Lindsay's other films and read some of the intriguing cards and letters sent to Lois from Lindsay, whilst he was on location in Maine directing 'The Whales of August', with Bette Davis and Lillian Gish in her last screen performance. Lois suggested screening it on the night, because she felt that not many people had seen it. However, she later had doubts, feeling that it might be more appropriate to screen Lindsay's film 'This Sporting Life', a Yorkshire-based story by Wakefield writer David Storey and a film which many people consider to be Lindsay's finest film.

So the upshot is that Nick has cleared it with the licensee of the films, that he could screen either and pay for whichever is shown on the night. The suggestion is that the audience watch the talk and, on the basis of what they have heard, vote for the film that they would most like to see.

After the intermission, Lois and Nick will screen the film that has had the most votes on the night, possibly a democratic first in the cinematic screening business.

Nick asks, in a pioneering spirit, whether this could even be the birth of 'cinemocracy'!

You can still book tickets for this event from the Arts Festival Booking Office.

More from Nick Wilding, on the HebWeb

HebWeb News: Hebden Bridge, a 700 year story… and how it was nearly lost. April 2015

HebWeb News: Happy Birthday Stoodley Pike. Dec 2014

HebWeb News: Views from two communities on the outbreak of war in 1914 Oct 2015

HebWeb News: Helen of Four Gates: The HebWeb speaks with Nick Wilding and reveals some of the story of how this classic silent film was tracked down to once again enthrall audiences at the Hebden Bridge Picture House. Jan 2011

HebWeb News: Fred Dibnah: The Hebden Bridge Connection Sept 2009