Society shines a light on projectionist’s 40 years

George Bannerman with a coveted BFFS award
George Bannerman with a coveted BFFS award
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A PROJECTIONIST has been honoured by the British Federation of Film Societies for nearly 40 years of dedicated service.

George Bannerman has always been the man behind the scenes, but has now found himself thrust into the spotlight.

The 66-year-old, who has been the projectionist for Linlithgow Film Society for nearly 40 years, became involved simply as a member of the auidence following the closure of the original cinema building on the High Street.

But four decades on, the accountant’s unwavering commitment to the fortnightly film showings has earned him the outstanding contribution award from the prestigious film group.

He says: “Initially, I went a lot as a member to see the films.

“After the first season was over the chap that did the projection work said he was moving away.

“They were looking for a volunteer to take on the projection duties so I put my hand up and said ‘I could do that’.

“It was just one of those things. I got involved in something and then you like to make sure there is continuity and people can rely on you doing the necessary.”

George, who now lives near Falkirk, remembers that the first film he played was a western at Linlithgow Town Hall. He used a 16mm projector which had to be loaded manually, with audiences being expected to chat amongst themselves while the reels were changed.

He recalls: “It was just me behind a glass panel in the door. We graduated to proper full size screens and so forth.

“The town hall became unavailable while it was being renovated so the group moved to Linlithgow Academy Theatre about eight years ago. I would say on average we get around 100 people turning up to each film. At our peak we had about 200 members and we could accommodate about 180 people comfortably to the sort of film that attracts a full house.”

The theatre has been given the rights to show big films including The Artist, War Horse and The Hunger Games, but the screenings are not always blockbusters, with this week’s being an Iranian film with subtitles called A Separation.

George says: “It was one of those films that came highly recommended. It’s something a bit different.”