Last festival Ian Hays ran an inaugural LMFF COMMUNITY EVENT for Belper Harriers in Derbyshire, UK. This year they're back and he's going even bigger - here's how and why!
Q: How did it go last time?
"First things first, it was a massive success. My original plan was to hire a small room, maybe get 20-30 people for a nice evening as a test run for holding a bigger event in the future. But I shifted 60 tickets from club members and families alone and had to use the main hall of the venue without advertising at all. We set a nominal fee with the hope of covering expenses but accidentally made £300 (plus the volunteer run community venue were delighted with the bar take) which we are going to split between the venue, Derby Mountain Rescue and Free To Run. I haven't had anything but positive feedback for the films we showed with everyone loving them."
Q: Have you tried hosting film nights before?
"I have held several ‘Motivational Film Nights’ in our spare room over the years for a small group of my running friends which generally involved watching something like Unbreakable about the western states 100 or Kilian Jornet’s latest challenge with crisps and beer, and had always wanted to expand to make it a club or even community event. However, the issue of sourcing suitable films and sorting licenses meant it has always been a pipe dream. The Community Pass removed those barriers and it was as simple as picking films and showing them. It was really easy to turn our small social film night into a successful event."
Q: Can you tell us more about the donation to Free to Run?
"I hadn’t really anticipated having a surplus from the event and so hadn’t planned what to do with any money left over beyond thinking I could give it to a suitable charity. As ticket sales continued apace, I soon realised we were going to have a sizeable chunk of money left. I happened to watch Free to Run at that time, whilst shortlisting for the event. It really affected me – as it did many of the audience at our event - and when the charity’s details came on screen at the end of the film it seemed the obvious choice. We all agreed that as a group of people who love running and are fortunate to have the freedom to be able to do it pretty much wherever we like, whenever we like, we couldn’t in all conscience not support a cause such as free to run if we are able."
Q: How do you choose the films for your audience?
"It was a difficult but enjoyable process that involved many winter nights with the family and lunch breaks with my phone propped up against my water bottle trawling through all the brilliant films, writing lists and changing lists. My first ‘final’ running order was over seven hours long. The plan was to have a programme made up of two hour-long sessions of three or four films and a longer headline film with ample intervals between for chatting and drinks. We wanted to have a main spine of running films running through the schedule, but surrounded by films from other disciplines that had parallel themes of excitement, endeavour and fun that the audience could identify with."
Q: What will you do this year that you didn’t do last year?
"We could run the event exactly the same as we did last year and it would be a success again, with the possible exception of getting there slightly earlier to set the chairs up! However, we have considered having two rooms showing different programmes or maybe having a longer event or possibly incorporating other elements like speeches or map reading or bike maintenance classes. It's still in the planning process at the moment."
Q: What key piece of advice would you give a new Community Host?
"I worried too much about what films to show. There are so many great films and they are all very different but crucially they are all relatively short. You are not asking someone to commit to an hour and a half of the same thing. Pick a varied programme with a wide selection of films and it will go down really well. When I introduced the programme I said not all of these films will be for all of you but all of you will absolutely love some of them. So just pick the films you think are the best and show them and the audience will have a great time."
Q: And finally.. what can you tell us about Belper Harriers?
"We are a relatively small local running club established 30 years ago based on the edge of the peak district. We are an inclusive club with an ethos of community and fun, we are not especially unusual but, although we are welcoming to runners of all abilities, we have always had many runners over the years with a spirit of adventure. We have always had members who have undertaken big challenges such as Bob Grahams, The Spine, The UTMB and many, many others and even now we have a member who is somewhere on the way to Turkey on his bike."
Ian Hays is one of the clubs longest serving members at 18 years, group leader on training nights and self-appointed entertainment co-ordinator.