Solihull Film is a not for profit group established in 1958 to promote in Solihull the best of film from around the world and to seek to promote the appreciation of film.
Solihull Film receives no funding assistance and relies entirely on ticket sales. We provide a varied programme designed to bring to Solihull the best of current and classic films from around the world. We often show two films in an evening with an interval during which you can meet up with friends in the foyer or discuss the films while enjoying some refreshments.
Early in January 1958 Mario Bryanston and a small group of film enthusiasts wrote to the local newspaper, The Solihull News, saying they intended to show "Brief Encounter" at the Manor House on 24th January. His letter read "The existing cinemas in the area do not, we feel, cater for those who are interested in seeing films of outstanding merit such as Roberto Rosselini's "Paisa", Jean Cocteau's "Orphee" or Orson Wells' "Citizen Kane".
The newspaper responded with a brief announcement. More than seventy people turned up, far more than could be accommodated, clearly showing that a film society was as necessary as an oasis in a desert. After the film someone suggested donations of half a crown each to help the committee get the film society off the ground. No time was lost "Brief Encounter" proved to be a permanent relationship with a full half season of four films to follow, "Domenica DAgosto" (Sunday in August), Buster Keaton's "The General", "Umberto D" and "M.Hulot's Holiday". The venue was and remained for some years the W.I Hall. The first subscription was one guinea or £1.18s. per couple for a season of eight films.For many years our venue was the 340 seat Library Theatre in the Touchwood Complex but we have recently changed our venue to the state-of-the-art Saint Martin's Arts Complex.
Films are still showing monthly from September to June. In the past there have been many nerve-wracking moments, films that failed to arrive, projectors that broke down and a long succession of committee members, but throughout those years Mario was always at the helm keeping his film society afloat when many others thought it was sinking out of sight. His death on 11th November 2005 was sudden and unexpected, his diary firmly noting the next committee meeting. Mario never hesitated to include the controversial and thought-provoking as well as the best of comedies and classics and included films from every nation from the U.S.A to the Far East. The Solihull Film Society is still a necessary oasis. Long may it continue as Mario Bryanston's legacy to the art of film and to the people of Solihull.