After two years away, we’re delighted to welcome back in-person screenings as part of our Senior Selections programme! To celebrate a new chapter in our beloved viewings for the over 60s, we spoke to Allan Irvine (Community Engagement Manager) about the origin of these screenings, and what the future holds for Senior Selections.
1) Hi Allan! Can you tell us a bit about your role here at CMI?
As Community Engagement Manager, my role is to broaden our audience, and identify and remove any barriers that may prevent people from accessing Filmhouse, Belmont and Edinburgh International Film Festival.
I also build connections with community partners and organisations, lead on projects in the cinema, and in communities to engage people with film. Senior Selections is one of my favourite parts of the job!
2) We’re glad! So, what was the motivation behind Senior Selections?
Senior Selections has been running since 2016 at Filmhouse, and was introduced to Belmont in early 2020. It continues to be co-designed and delivered with a group of senior volunteers. The aim of the programme is to bring people together over a shared love of film... Even the pandemic didn’t stop us! We quickly moved online, meeting monthly to watch films together on Filmhouse at Home, and connecting afterwards on Zoom for a cuppa and chat.
It’s brilliant that we are able to do that in person again!
3) Who is eligible to attend and how much is a ticket?
Senior Selections is for anyone aged 60+ and all tickets are £4. Screenings happen on the first Wednesday of the month at 11am. Where possible the films are also shown with captions, or English subtitles.
4) What kind of movies can these ticket holders expect to see from Senior Selections?
Every film is chosen by our Senior volunteers, who are all passionate about cinema. We try to create a varied program with this audience in mind. So, expect to see everything from classic movies, brilliant foreign language films all the way to recent independent releases.
5) Something for everyone then - can you tell us what kind of measures have been taken to ensure senior visitors feel comfortable and safe during these screenings?
Back in November 2021, we did a trial event and used the feedback to shape the post COVID programme. Sadly, the Omicron variant emerged and set us back a few months.
Eventually, we launched again in April with a brilliant screening of Danny Boyle’s Yesterday. 89% of the audience told us they felt safe with our COVID control measures - reduced capacity, socially distanced seating and the encouragement to wear face coverings.
That being said, our visitors weren’t quite ready to mix afterwards at our traditional social gatherings with tea, biscuits and chat. Since then, the confidence of our audiences is growing, so I’m delighted to say that we are now serving these from our kiosk with a few precautionary measures still in place.
6) Thanks Allan, that’s reassuring to hear. One last question before you go, Ron Howard once said "there are creative benefits to getting older” … so what do you think are the main benefits of attending Senior Selections?
We regularly ask our audience what they think of Senior Selections and what they get out of it. To name a few, some of the responses include:
‘’You get to watch great films and meet new people! ‘’
“It’s better than watching on a tablet!”
“Senior Selections has succeeded in screening a wide range of films for appreciative audiences... providing rewarding opportunities for people to engage with each other, and creating and cementing friendships”.
Thanks to Allan for taking the time to speak with us. We’d also like to thank our supporters who make Senior Selections possible, including Foyle Foundation, Nancie Massey Charitable Trust, CRH Trust and all those who wish to remain anonymous.
Tickets are now available to book for our full 2022 Senior Selections programme – see you there!
July 6 // Limbo
August 3 // A Star Is Born
September 7 // Cyrano
October 5 // Belle
November 2 // 1917
December 7 // Little Women