60 years of the Stroud Film Society

Now in its 61st year, Stroud Film Society continues to champion new films from around the world that you won’t see in the local multiplex. Who else would bring a Nepalese circus documentary to the Slad valleys?

On Thursday 15 March Stroud Film Society presents Even When I Fall, a true story of human trafficking within Indian circuses, preceded by a Q&A with members of the production team. Tim Mugford and Claire Carpenter tell us more about the society's origins and how they brought Even When I Fall to SFF.

"The Stroud and District Film Society was formed in 1958 by the inspiration and enthusiasm of Jack and Grace Allington and Natalie Savage. Films were shown at St Matthews Church Hall in Cainscross. We could seat 200 people and frequently did. In 1996 we changed to the British School Hall, where we still meet. 

"Over these many years we have shown more than 800 main features, together with many short films. Seeing all the titles now, it is difficult to separate those which one considered excellent at the time from others. 

Joy Batchelor at her studio in Cainscross, Stroud c. 1954

Joy Batchelor at her studio in Cainscross, Stroud c. 1954

"Certainly noteworthy was our 25th anniversary show when [Get Carter] director Mike Hodges came and presented excerpts of his films. In 1990 there was the visit of a number of Polish Film Society members after the election of Lech Walesa to Polish government. And our showing of Mugabe and the White African presented by the local producers in 2009.

"Then at last year’s festival Vivien Halas, daughter of John Halas and Joy Batchelor, came and introduced Animal Farm and told us of their several  studios in Stroud, and the local animators Harold Whitaker and Tony Guy.

"That this Society has been so successful over the years is undoubtedly due to all the work put in by the volunteers, from choosing the programmes to booking the films to projecting."

Which brings us to Even When I Fall, which Claire discovered in Manchester at a weekend screening put on by the BFI's Independent Cinema Office.

"It’s always a strange feeling going into a cinema at 9am in the morning... but the weekend was excellent, all really high quality and there was a very diverse selection. Even When I Fall was an unusual and thought-provoking film. I was delighted to hear that it was available for regional previews and with the possibility of a Q&A from the directors! So I was delighted to be able to include it as our film for the Stroud Film Festival."




Even When I Fall - British School, Slad Road, GL5 1QG - Thursday 15 March, 8pm




Andy Freedman