On 27 Jan 2012 at 5:58pm lewes wrote:
What's going on here then? Lewes Cinema has been asked to leave I see from the Sussex Express. What a shame I have been going to their films for years and have always been made to feel very welcome.
I for one will be very sad to see them go. The council has some big boots to fill!
On 27 Jan 2012 at 6:15pm Dave wrote:
Leave the All Saints? Or leave town/county/country?
On 27 Jan 2012 at 7:56pm jayseeargh wrote:
It makes economic sense for Lewes Town Council to reap the benefits from mainstream filmgoers rather than a private concern as has been happening. The wonderful Lewes Film Club are well able to deliver films of all genres, and have done for years at All Saints, now it will be to the benefit of All Saints which we might otherwise lose as a community centre if the money is going elsewhere?
Check it out here »
On 28 Jan 2012 at 1:40am Dave wrote:
Why have they been asked to leave and what is the difference between Lewes Film Club ans Lewes Cinema?
On 28 Jan 2012 at 8:29am DrDumpling wrote:
"It makes economic sense for Lewes Town Council to reap the benefits from mainstream filmgoers rather than a private concern as has been happening" Oh no , not another council run disaster! The Lewes cinema was well run, it worked and it showed good films. The council are a disaster at most thing but epsecially organisation, please don't let them have anything to do with orgaising the films we watch.
On 28 Jan 2012 at 9:37am bastian wrote:
will you still be able to buy home made cake and have tea out of a china cup?
If not I will start hiring from the library so I can fullfill my dreams.
On 28 Jan 2012 at 3:10pm Lewes Cinema wrote:
Just seen this thread - will respond more later.
But for now:
The councils assumptions about admissions are incorrect - there are minuscule profits from screening honestly-booked films to 'invest back into the community'. Don't forget that straight away they have to make-up the lost rent from Lewes Cinema before they start to make a 'profit'.
Lewes film club use DVD and are therefore not able to screen the latest films.
On 28 Jan 2012 at 10:52pm Lewes wrote:
Looks like the council could have done their sums wrong.By the time they have paid up for the films, seating and someone to clear up the pop corn, not forgetting the lost rent. It looks like it could be a long time before Lewes sees a profit. Thank goodness for econmic sense!
On 29 Jan 2012 at 12:17am Anniebee wrote:
I'm sure what ever has been decided must have been thoroughly thought through by the council with a view to making the All Saints an asset to our community purse. Surely the ticket and popcorn sales make more than the room & film hire and turn a profit or why would "Lewes Cinema", a commercial, profit making business bother? At least with only 'miniscule profits' involved here in Lewes it won't hurt "Lewes Cinema"s wallet too much by being replaced by a community run scheme. I hope they will be able to make up this minisule profit shortfall with more screenings at the dozen or so other venues they show at both in their West Sussex base and here in East Sussex. Lets just see what happens. Give this change a chance.
On 29 Jan 2012 at 2:39am Lewes Cinema wrote:
Lewes Cinema operates exclusively in Lewes - the clue is in the name! Lewes Cinema is a labour-of-love. And no Lewes Town Council did not thoroughly research this otherwise they would have checked to see what ACTUALLY happens rather than what somebody THINKS happens.
Lewes Cinema actually made a small loss last year so I'd really like to see how THAT will be 're-invested' in the community.
The real problem is as I said above - the cinema is a labour-of-love and some cynical people think if profits are small we wouldn't do it - wrong!
We do it because we like doing it - the public likes it and the council, who are supposed to represent the public forgot to do what the public wants.
This does not end here - we are being practically begged by people to tell them where they can write or protest.
As I've said before (and there is a big clue here) HONESTLY booked films do not make a huge profit at All Saints or any small independent cinema.
Countless (and I really mean countless) people have told us they like us the way we are - so why change it?
Where was the consultation? There was none! Despite providing the service at no cost to the town (in fact we pay 1000's a year in rent) for over 10 years the council did not even have the decency to tell us about this decision before announcing it to the press - they told us at the same time in fact. If 'excessive profits' were a concern then why didn't somebody consult with us - we could have shown them the books, shown them how an honest real cinema works and they would have seen how hard it is to turn ANY profit let alone the vast sums they have predicted.
Their 'thouroughly thought through' plans assume large profits based on 'just 50% occupancy of All Saints'. Well that would be remarkable as the national average cinema occupancy is 20-30% and so-far this weekend we have been at around 30% occupancy. So no, the councils figures are not realistic but then AnnieBee I guess you have vested interest in proving a bad decision is in fact a good one.
Baah! I'm off to bed!
On 29 Jan 2012 at 6:59pm cmt wrote:
I like Lewes Cinema as it is - please don't change either the surroundings or
the operators. Works wonderfully well and so what if you have to bring a
On 29 Jan 2012 at 11:00pm DrDumpling wrote:
I love the film clubs and their movies, but we should not support a monopoly of option. Art is about diversity and the lewes cinema added its own element to giving lewes a diverse choice of movies to watch. This diversity will be lost if the council (oh god no!) or the film club take over the complete running of the films seen in the centre.
And what about future companies that try to make a business out of the All Saints - will they constantly be under threat because they make too much money. Surely the deficit of the centre is due to the incompetence of the management and not the lewes cinema. Now the competent people who were making money are removed and the incompetent ones run the whole show. This to me is the death nail for a centre like the All Saints - the removal of private enterprise because of artistic differences or jealously of the incomes involved. Popular art is popular and more importantly it makes money.
On 30 Jan 2012 at 12:40pm middleclassandabitsmug wrote:
It states on the lewes cinema website that they are seeking advice and considering their possible actions. Time for action instead of words Lewes folks. Plenty we can do to stop this.
On 30 Jan 2012 at 3:48pm Onthefence wrote:
Maybe, we should wait for a little more information.
The one thing that really sticks out is that the council voted 16 to 2 in favour, that means there was virtually politcal unity among the Lib Dems, Greens and Independents - that's very unusual.
It's rare from the times i've town council minutes for their to be complete unity amony all the Lib Dems and even the Greens when they vote, so the fact they have all nearly combined on this one issue is very surprising - especially as it could be considered a contentious issue, where cllrs could be more easily aligned on political grounds.
It seems to me that they all must think that it will be a positive move for the centre and I'm willing to here more.
On 30 Jan 2012 at 7:12pm Jude wrote:
Interesting. I used to run an arts centre in Aldershot. We had three staff all paid by the local council - not very much I hasten to add. We had a small budget and every week would promote two gig nights, a theatre or comedy night and a film night. We also put on exhibitions and other arts/cultural events. All the events had to cover their own costs and our salaries - and the budget always balanced. It was a great little venue, about the size of the All Saints, and showed it's perfectly possible to run an arts venue efficiently without it being profit making, without costing the local council a huge amount, and without relying on the private sector. There were very few events were revenues were low and those that came in under budget were compensated for by those that came in over budget. My point being that a local authority can run a good community arts resource, including cinema. Additionally, this small town also had a publically funded theatre hall/ dance venue, and two cinemas, despite not being known for being culturally highbrow.
I do hope this is the direction the All Saints is going in. I do hope there might be some investment in some decent retractable theatre seats at the All Saints. I feel sorry for Lewes cinema, but I'm sure they could find alternative venues in town. Maybe the Lewes little Theatre ? Maybe St John sub Castro ? Maybe link up with Zu studios/ Cafe des Artistes ??? Or maybe South Downs college ?
On 30 Jan 2012 at 9:36pm Clive wrote:
Lewes cinema is a well established provider of entertainment within our community that has been working efficiently for the past ten years or more. Showing films that are accessible to the whole society and a wider audience ranging from foreign to main stream films and even children's films. Consequently catering to the wide range of residents that inhabit Lewes, and in doing so provide a very valued and appreciated service. Providing something that enables it's inhabitants to go at leisure to see a wide variety of films fortnightly. Unlike Lewes Film club, who seems to target a more closed demographic, and doesn't even attempt to get in the latest releases let alone bow so low as putting on something seemingly mainstream. In doing this even seeming to cut out people and make them feel excluded from such a self proclaimed elitist group that lacks the charm and bubbliness that Lewes Cinema contains. To see such a valued part of our community dissapear really will be a shame, and to see the All Saints lose such a valued customer and usage would be a shame to see...
On 30 Jan 2012 at 11:42pm Lewes Cinema wrote:
Some very nice comments here - thankyou Clive and others for those.
Why did the council vote for this? I would imagine it has something to do with a vested interest providing totally unrealistic financial projections.
People may have an opinion either way on the sense or stupidity of the decision but what unites practically everybody is that this should not have been done without consultation.
For those reading this for the first time - we were only told about this decision at the same time as the local press and that is absolutely unforgivable regardless of what you think of the actual decision itself.
Lewes people, don't be fooled (I see most of you aren't anyway) by the cynically-timed proposal to install retractable seating - that's to sweeten the bitter pill. They could have installed retractable seating without throwing Lewes Cinema on the scrapheap.
Without consultation, with no opportunity to make any representation at all a popular local service that has provided entertainment for thousands of people for decade - is put out of business at a stroke. That can't be right.
Finally, the saddest part of all - we didn't do it for the money, we did it because we liked doing it. However, it does mean that the bubbly Marilu that you all know will now lose her (admittedly modest) income. She doesn't deserve that and neither does her husband Kevin.
The people behind this decision would not understand why somebody might want to do something for the sheer love of it - that's their loss and ultimately the towns loss..
On 31 Jan 2012 at 2:58pm onewhoknows wrote:
I am given to understand that the Town Council wrote Lewqes Cinema on 20th January, the day after the Council Meeting. One knows the Lewes Cinema started tweeting about this on Tuesday 24th. I am given to understand that Lewes Cinema has yet to make a formal response to the Town Council's letter yet is happy to blather on about this site. Labour of Love? Lewes Cinema is only one operation run by the Orman family. As "small" companies, theirs are not obliged to post profit and loss accounts at Companies House, only balance sheets. Any-one can call in to the Town Hall and ask for information on this - do it and get the other side of the story.
On 31 Jan 2012 at 7:59pm Lewes Cinema wrote:
The letter was received in our Lewes office on Tuesday 24th Jan. The info appeared later the same week in Sussex Express and Viva Lewes.
Ok, 'onewhoknows' where is the excuse for zero consultation? We have not been asked to produce any accounts but if we had been then this preposterous nonsense about large profits could have put to bed a long time ago.
How do YOU know we have not made a formal response? Are you really suggesting that having been treated in a most underhand way that we should keep quiet about it?
Lewes Cinema is operated solely in Lewes and without a place to screen will presumably cease trading at some point. Lewes Cinema is run by Marilu Orman who will lose her modest income. The programming is all done by her husband Kevin. He does not get paid and can only offer his time for free because he earns his money elsewhere.
Very nasty stuff - but I dare say everything will come out in the end.
On 31 Jan 2012 at 11:09pm bonzodog wrote:
You say he earns his money elsewhere. Where else? Running cinema in other locations perhaps?
On 31 Jan 2012 at 11:15pm onewhoknows wrote:
Perhaps I ought to call myself onewhothinksheknows because from what you say, Lewes Cinema, I don't know it all. But I can think. And I think that had you made a formal response you, with your talent for self publicity denying all others, would have published it, and the Town Council would have had to acknowledge it. And then you could impress us with that. Folk allege that Mr and Mrs Orman run cinema in lots of locations, under different names, are you able to tell us if these allegations are false? I was prompted to write this having read what bonzodog said above. That's all
On 31 Jan 2012 at 11:17pm onewhoknows wrote:
Sorry, this has just occurred to me: if you do not publish your profit and loss accounts at Companies House (which records anyone can see on payment of the appropriate fee) why would you show them to Lewes Town Council?
On 31 Jan 2012 at 11:50pm bonzodog wrote:
Lewes Cinema, you say above "received in our Lewes Office". Err, how many offices do you have?
On 1 Feb 2012 at 2:30am Lewes Cinema wrote:
Marilu Orman runs Lewes Cinema - in Lewes. We have an office - in Lewes.
Kevin earns his money elsewhere and that has nothing to with Lewes Cinema - in fact as stated before the ONLY reason Kevin can give his time to Lewes Cinema for free is precisely because he earns his money elsewhere. Now, where does your husband/wife/partner earn their money 'one who knows'?
The small-mindedness that caused all this is now coming to the fore via the above posters. It's very simple - Lewes Cinema operates in Lewes, not Uckfield (it would be called Uckfield cinema), not Brighton (it would be called Brighton Cinema) and so-on. Lewes does not, and unfortunately never has made large profits as it books all of its films on honest commercial terms where there are not large profits to be made for small independent operators.
This can't be so hard to understand surely?
On 1 Feb 2012 at 8:54am ben morgenstern wrote:
Please forgive me as a new poster on here, but there are things I do not understand. Firstly it seems to me that Lewes Cinema is not answering all the questions, merely re-iterating the same points. But , and this is really what I do not understand, why was Lewes Cinema's first response to the Town Council's letter to Twitter and post on here instead of ringing the town hall or calling in there to see what it was all about? I would have gone like Daniel in to the Lion's Den to see what the fuss was about, not snipe from behind the cover of a handy rock and let others do my fighting for me.
On 1 Feb 2012 at 11:32am Independent Thinker wrote:
The worry I have about this is that a major decision about cinema in Lewes may have been made for personal rather than purely objective reasons. About a year ago there was a very public dispute on this forum between Lewes Cinema and the Town Council over trying to keep the cinema open on the weekend we had that snow. And I remember other fallings out over management of the All Saints including arguments about who moved what chairs. Seemed very petty at the time (not taking sides here) but I'm worried that this has been a factor in the decision.
The fact is, Lewes Cinema books a great range of first run movies. It's easy to book tickets or buy on the door. And the screenings run smoothly. So other than new seating, which could be put in regardless of who is running the cinema, what do cinema-goers stand to gain from this? The council says they won't raise ticket prices, so presumably they won't be lowering them either. They may successfully manage to continue booking the same range of films, but equally they might get that completely wrong. The film club targets a very specialised cinephile audience, which is great, but they'll need to appeal to a significantly wider proportion of the population of Lewes to be financially successful. Will they want to turn it into an art house cinema, or are they prepared to programme films they personally feel are rubbish but audiences want to see? Lewes Cinema have had 10 years to get to know the audiences in Lewes and what they want. In terms of the business case, if it's true that Lewes Cinema as a company doesn't make profits, then the only additional money the council stands to make is whatever Lewes Cinema pays themselves in salary or expenses that the council wouldn't incur. I doubt that figure comes to £20,000 but without seeing the books I couldn't say for sure. Has the council seen their accounts?
I'm not outright opposed to the new plan, and Lewes Cinema certainly hasn't made things easy for themselves by taking grievances public, but I want to be sure the decision was made for the right reasons, has been properly thought through in detail, and the lack of consultation beforehand is definitely a worry.
On 1 Feb 2012 at 3:59pm Lewes Cinema wrote:
We were not given enough time to respond to the council before it was made public.
We received the letter on Tues 24-Jan (even though it was dated 20-Jan) and facebook/tweeted on Wed 25-Jan that there was 'some troubling news..' nothing more.
We assumed that the council would give us sufficient time to respond to their letter and that's what we intended to do. But we were shocked when it became public the next day in Viva Lewes and the day after in Sussex Express.
Ever since then we have been responding to questions or comments by the public. Not really our fault as we didn't make it public. We have formally responded to Lewes Town Council but because they went 'public' before we had a chance to absorb the info we've been put in a reactive position ever since.
No the council did not see our accounts or ask to see them - as we've said we were not consulted, which the council has admitted in its latest statement.
Also you need to consider the tone of the statement in the Sussex Express where many people had been led to believe that we were somehow informed and 'okay' with the decision when in fact we knew nothing about it.
Our loyal customers are far more important to us than the sensibilities of a Town Council that does not play fair.
On 5 Feb 2012 at 3:23pm Chris Winterflood wrote:
I am very sad to hear the news about Lewes Cinema being taken over by the council. 'Why?' is the obvious question. I have been seeing films at Lewes Cinema for eight years. I work in London and so I also see many films at various London cinemas, including the BFI Southbank. Despite access to all these other venues without hesitation i would say that the Lewes Cinema is my favourite place to watch films, no contest. Everything about it is good: friendly staff, good programming.tea and cakes and NO POPCORN!
I hope the council reconsider their decision.