Now villagers have access to the stars!

FOR some rural film fans, a trip to a giant multiplex to see the latest blockbuster can be a daunting and expensive prospect.But by bringing the big screen within reach of a small community, a village cinema is attracting impressive audiences - and funding to help the scheme thrive.

FOR some rural film fans, a trip to a giant multiplex to see the latest blockbuster can be a daunting and expensive prospect.

But by bringing the big screen within reach of a small community, a village cinema is attracting impressive audiences - and funding to help the scheme thrive.

The new Cinema in the Creakes venture at North Creake village hall has been awarded �4,774 from the Norfolk Community Foundation to buy its own equipment.

On Tuesday night, almost 100 villagers arrived to experience the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire on the hall's new high-definition projector, four-metre screen and sound system.


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The �5 ticket also included a free drink and a chance to catch up with friends and neighbours - all just a short distance from their own doorsteps.

Peter Phillips, a member of village hall committee, said the social aspect was the main success of the project - especially for elderly people who were unable to go to larger cinemas in towns and cities.

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'It is a social, community event - that is the most important thing,' he said. 'Not many people in this village want to go too far to go to the cinema and there is no public transport at weekends or at night. This is an amenity which is right

on their doorstep.

'People say they just like walking down from their house to the village hall. It is an easy thing to do, and they feel safe. Everybody seems to clap at the end of the film, which is quite funny.'

The cinema made its first test screening - hit Abba musical Mamma Mia - in January using equipment hired from Creative Arts East, who also helped with training and putting the committee in touch with major film distributors.

Village hall secretary Paul Heron said: 'The reaction has been very positive. These are all people who like to watch films. Most of them have lived in the village all their lives and this is giving them something different to do.'

Film fans George and Sylvia Thompson have lived in North Creake since they married 60 years ago and have not yet missed a screening at their village hall.

Mrs Thompson, 84, said: 'I cannot get around very well, so it is easy to come here. If not for this, we would not go out at night. I see lots of people I know and friends from the drama group.'

Mr Thompson, 82, said: 'It gets you away from the TV for a little while - and you don't get the same pleasure going to those big cinemas.'

In future, the committee plans further monthly screenings and to offer the new hi-tech equipment to businesses, schools and other groups for conferences or presentations.

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