On Wed 6 Jun 2012 at: 09:57 Brixtonbelle
Just seen this article in Sussex Express. I think it must have been written by the LC orgnisers themselves. Talk about biased !
Check it out here »
On Wed 6 Jun 2012 at: 12:23 Helper
How fortunate we are to have somebody as unbiased as you Brixtonbelle to maintain balance...
On Wed 6 Jun 2012 at: 12:46 Mr Forks
I am in favour of the 'nationalisation' of Lewes Cinema, can't see the problem with it being run by the town council and the profits going towards the town.
On Wed 6 Jun 2012 at: 13:01 Independent Thinker
Talk about bias, you should read the comments on the online petition and see how many are protesting the council closing down the cinema. Saying how much they love having cinema in Lewes and not wanting to lose it. Now I wonder who's been going around convincing people that's what's being proposed, rather than the debate being about who's going to run it? I agree there should have been consultation first, but don't think Lewes Cinema have done themselves any favours in the way they've been fighting the decision.
On Wed 6 Jun 2012 at: 13:16 Castle Gate
Last time I visited All Saints for a Lewes Cinema presentation (for "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"), the picture was out of focus although the opening BBFC image gave ample opportunity to correct this, the necessary Dolby SR noise reduction for the optical soundtrack wasn't applied, the bass channel distorted terribly, the left and right speakers were wired out-of-phase, and hot drinks were freely allowed inside the darkened auditorium. I am interested to compare what I consider this disrespect to film-makers and audiences with whatever show the Town Council puts on in the near future, and hope it shall be artistically improved. The cup-cakes, however, were excellent, and all staff including those taking the money on the door were unfailingly cheerful and positive: but those qualities alone could not rescue the faulty presentation.
On Wed 6 Jun 2012 at: 14:14 Helper
The presentation is as good as the current setup allows and I can assure you that the picture sharpness was as good as possible under the present circumstances and reflected the sharpness of the 35mm film print the cinema was supplied with (inc the BBFC logo which is part of the same 35mm copy)
As the film club (who will be paid to operate the service in future) will be using less powerful equipment than currently (but still some of the same lenses) you can expect similar or worse after the cinema have left on June 24th.
You are partly correct about the sound - and do you know why? A theatre group had been allowed to tamper with their sound equipment and so setup was far from optimal. Channel assignments had been swapped without their knowledge and so that is how they became out of phase. Had the staff at the centre correctly supervised the theatre group this of course would not have happened as nobody had permission to use the equipment let alone tamper with it. However, as you can appreciate this was completely outside their control.
The Dolby SR unit has already been removed ahead of full equipment removal on 24th and only a basic functional sound system remains until then.
I am sure that if in the future Lewes Cinema are fortunate enough to find a new venue they will most likely benefit from technical improvements which are simply not possible at All Saints for a number of reasons.
However Castle Gate, as many hundreds of people have enjoyed Best Exotic Marigold Hotel apparently without noticing the same defects that you have I do wonder about the motivation for your post? Particularly the ridiculous notion that hot drinks should not be allowed into the auditorium - they have been for well over 10 years and yours is certainly the first complaint about this that I our Lewes Cinema have heard.
In reply to Mr Forks who thinks that profits should be re-invested in the community - well maybe that's an argument that could be pursued under fairer circumstances, but don't forget that Lewes Cinema lost £1200 last year so that's not a great argument for taking over a business that others have built-up.
I guess a lot of people on this forum - who interestingly all went very quiet once legal action was taken against the council by Lewes Cinema - are very sore that they have so much support and have even had publicly expressed support from one of the councillors, Amanda Dean. As soon as her letter is online either me or Lewes Cinema will post a link to it.
On Wed 6 Jun 2012 at: 17:24 Confused
Noyt up to speed with all of this issue but if lewes cinema lost £1200 last year why would they want to keep going ?
On Wed 6 Jun 2012 at: 21:00 Helper
Such is the nature of business and particularly the cinema business. Some years make a loss overall and some years make a profit - in the case of the cinema it's pretty much a break-even situation over the long haul. But as has been well documented here and elsewhere, they don't do it only for the money - if they did they would have given it up years ago.
An independent cinema can and often does swing wildly between extremes, day-by-day, week-by-week and month-by-month. The object is to run a business that makes enough to sustain itself (which Lewes Cinema has done over more than 10 years) and to pay somebody a modest wage. Some years where there has been enough surplus then either projection equipment or seating was purchased.
On Thu 7 Jun 2012 at: 12:14 Amanda
It's certainly unfair for the council to go ahead with such an announcement over such an important facility without due consultation with the community. Apologies for not being up on the main arguments for and against, but I would just like to say that personally I have no problem with someone else taking over if they can run it profitably and plow the money back into the cinema. I would like to see more screenings, especially on weekends, and frankly found the woman who runs the show gobsmakingly rude on a number of occasions (without just cause I may add - and yes we all have our off days, but a few too many for my liking).
On Thu 7 Jun 2012 at: 12:21 Mr Forks
To the uninitiated in the full argument it seems a simple decision. One company that shows films but keeps any profit made and one company (LTC) that show films but don't want to keep the profits but use them for the community. Surely a no brainer in any walk of life?!
On Thu 7 Jun 2012 at: 12:55 Clifford
Brixtonbelle wrote: 'Just seen this article in Sussex Express. I think it must have been written by the LC orgnisers themselves.'
It's what passes for reporting at the Sussex Express - reproducing press releases. Lazy desk-bound 'journalism' at its worst. The district council can hardly believe their luck in dealing with such a tame beast.
On Thu 7 Jun 2012 at: 14:38 Independent Thinker
Helper, one of the claims that has annoyed me since the beginning is the one saying Lewes Cinema breaks even or loses money. Lewes Cinema is a limited company, owned by one the couple who run the cinema. A wage is paid to one of them, which as an allowable business expense is deducted from the income generated by the company before a profit or loss is determined. So talk about the profit or loss for the company is completely meaningless without knowing how much that wage is. This has been pointed out over and over again but you keep doing it. Reading the comments on the online petition I can't say how so many were wrongly led to believe the council was shutting down cinema in Lewes, but this kind of spin certainly doesn't help lead to informed debate.
On Thu 7 Jun 2012 at: 15:14 brixtonbelle
helper, thank you for your comment. I do pride myself on being unbiased. You may not like my opinions, but in this case, the article in the Sussex Express was obviously a rehash of a press release that presented statements of opinion as fact.
On Sat 9 Jun 2012 at: 15:17 Helper
To lay this to rest once and for all. The only person paid in Lewes Cinema works an incredible number of hours and for her entire years work receives just £5000, yes Five thousand (there is no zero missing off that sum!). Despite that incredibly modest wage the cinema made small loss last year so as you can see the scope for ploughing 'profits' back into the community is tiny if at all.
Under normal circumstances, those that have accused the director of profiting from Lewes and receiving a vast wage would now get an apology from all those people on here who have spoken badly of her - but I doubt that she will.
On Sat 9 Jun 2012 at: 15:20 Lewes Cinema
Amanda, when was somebody rude to you? - can you tell what the last film you saw was?
On Sat 9 Jun 2012 at: 15:47 lemony snickett
No-one has ever been rude to me at the Lewes Cinema. You queue up, you buy your ticket and maybe a snack and go in and sit down. There's hardly even any opportunity for someone to be rude to you.
On Mon 11 Jun 2012 at: 17:00 Independent Thinker
Helper, I guess it's a bit late now, but thank you for letting us know what the wage paid is/was. Clearly, a roughly £5,000 potential profit for the council (Income generated take away running costs excluding salaries) is lower than some of the numbers that were being thrown around originally. Whether there are ways the outgoings could be reduced, or takings increased under different ownership to boost those potential profits is something we'll just have to wait and see.
Good luck with your new venue. Ideally if you set up to run on opposite weekends to the FC run cinema we can have weekly cinema in Lewes which hopefully won't see box office takings drop for you despite the new competition.
On Tue 12 Jun 2012 at: 04:30 Helper
independent thinker - you have to take account of the income in rent which will be lost first.
That exceeds the amount of the salary currently paid to anybody in Lewes Cinema - but you also have to consider that in addition to the lost rent a fee is to be paid to the film club to run the service.
That fee will have to be paid regardless of whether the cinema makes a profit or not.
And as it fairly frequently does not take enough then losses are likely.
Remember that the council has staked its entire case on being profitable at 'just 50% occupancy' of All Saints on AVERAGE which is ludicrously unrealistic and shows their lack of experience in regular cinema rather than club level.
More typical for a regular cinema service (rather than a club) is the level of admissions we had on this last Sunday of just 25 people or 12% occupancy. Those that want to make the case for inflated profits are ignoring the many screenings like this and only choosing to concentrate on the busy ones.
The real problem is that the wage bill at All Saints is a phenomenal £70k a year and that will be increased by the addition of the fee to be paid to the club.
It is noted that although a new job is effectively being created of a 'manager of film' at All Saints the usual processes have not been followed according to Cllr Amanda Dean. The position of 'manager' of the cinema was not advertised and no entity other than the club (who proposed the idea) was given a chance to bid for the service or make a proposal.
Doesn't that sound just a little strange to you?
On Tue 12 Jun 2012 at: 14:01 Independent Thinker
Helper, no they don't need to take account of the lost rental income first, because that is also an allowable business expense and would be deducted from the income Lewes Cinema receives before a profit or loss is declared. In other words, while they won't receive it from Lewes Cinema, equally, they won't have to pay it out of whatever income the cinema receives. Also, you just said the council's 50% occupancy estimate is flawed because they focus on the full screenings, and not the times when only 25 people show up. But you're doing the same thing in the other direction, suggesting that the norm is 25 people and ignoring the times it's full. The only relevant stat is what is the average attendance for all screenings held over the course of the year, not cherry picking good or bad weekends, popular films vs arthouse etc to suit. And that's true for both yourselves and the council. I also have no idea what the point about the wage bill at the All Saints is which presumably covers all events and use of the facilities year round by anyone, not just the cinema? Finally, again you've brought up the supposed fee to the Film Club. I've yet to hear exactly what it's for and what it's meant to cover. How much, if any, of that fee is to cover outgoings that Lewes Cinema also incurs and currently claims as legitimate expenses before determining their profit or loss at the end of the year? Is it meant to cover things like the costs of hiring films, insurance, admin, maintenance, advertising etc? If you don't know the answer to that question, why do you keep publicly claiming it's the same as a salary? Maybe it is, I don't know, but if you're going to campaign on public forums, I feel we should be presented with hard evidence to make our own minds up.
On Tue 12 Jun 2012 at: 14:33 Helper
No, not cherry picking at all - you are precisely correct about the AVERAGE occupancy rate being the relevant one.
The Lewes Cinema's average occupancy rate throughout the year is 28-30% which is actually quite good by national standards. The national average occupancy rate for cinemas is around 25%.
The council will pay all the expenses of running the cinema in future including film hire fees. On top of that they will also pay the film club a fee. That is in addition to the regular expenses, not included within them.
The person responsible for this new work is calling herself "The new manager and programmer of film at All Saints" - you judge if that sounds as though a job has been created for somebody, I think it's pretty clear.
In terms of what expenses are allowable to be deducted from profits - don't forget you have to have enough turnover in the first place.
Lewes Cinema turned-over an amount last year which was not hugely more than the councils forecast profits. A huge proportion of the turnover is paid out in film hire fees. If you take into account the true cost of the councils future operation you also have to factor-in the cost of the seating estimated at £30,000.
As I've said before, it's all very well claiming that is a legitimate business expense but you can only do that with adequate turnover.
Although you are doing your best to not understand this it really is very simple.
The turnover of a cinema at All Saints is relatively small in business terms. The scope for profit is also small and currently depends on some people working for free. The council will find themselves in exactly the same position as us regarding turnover except that they will be paying a fee, rather than receiving a rent. The scope for investing profits is virtually non-existent and there is in fact considerable risk of loss - at the moment that risk of loss is borne by Lewes Cinema, in future it will be borne by the council tax payers.
One final thing - Lewes Cinema is not using 'estimates' or 'forecasts' - their statements are based on actual accounts and 10 years trading and the council should listen to them.
It's great to finally have some actual numbers being presented, which has been missing from the debate before now. So to be clear, regarding the "fee" are there any restrictions on what that fee is to be used for? You are implying it's a salary to the new "manager and programmer of film at the All Saints". Is that in fact what it is? How high is the fee? I thought I'd read the plan for the Film Club was to run it as volunteers. Has that changed? My point about the rent is based purely on your statement that the salary paid was £5,000 and Lewes Cinema ltd broke even or made a slight loss (which I assume means not running into the thousands). So at the moment the council are paid rent by you, which comes out of the income you receive. Now they won't receive the rent, but equally, they won't need to deduct it from the income the cinema gets either so that should be a revenue neutral change, if people still go to the cinema. Regarding the seating, that could be one area where it would need to be a council run service. The fact it could look long term in a way a private business needing to pay even a modest salary could not. And there's no denying new seating would hugely improve the customer experience. And by the way, I am actually doing my best to understand the situation, as I want cinema in Lewes to succeed. And I genuinely appreciate that we're now getting some more information to help determine how likely it will be a success. 0 2
On Tue 12 Jun 2012 at: 23:07 Independent Thinker