Giving Back: The Sir John Hurt Film Trust

The Sir John Hurt Film Trust
By Anwen, Lady Hurt, Trustee, Sir John Hurt Film Trust

As we know, research clearly shows that supporting arts and cultural initiatives has a direct economic benefit and that is something that charity, Cinema City Ltd has been aware of for many years.

The Cinema City buildings were bequeathed to the people of Norwich in 1925 by the Colman sisters as a philanthropic gesture, with the proviso that they were to be used for the advancement of film education in its widest and most comprehensive sense. Since 1966, Cinema City Ltd (formerly known as Norfolk & Norwich Film Theatre Ltd) has ensured Cinema City is more than just a cinema – it has become an iconic institution where film education, appreciation and engagement are encouraged and developed irrespective of age or ability.

The charity is soon to be relaunched as the Sir John Hurt Film Trust with the aim of promoting great cinema in Norfolk.

My husband, Sir John, was Patron of Cinema City Education until his death in 2017 and I am a Trustee of Cinema City Ltd, which as well as being the custodian of the historic buildings which make up Cinema City (the cinema being operated by Picturehouse), provides the cultural framework through which Cinema City Education operates.

The Sir John Hurt Film Trust brings the activities of both Cinema City Ltd and Cinema City Education under one umbrella to actively promote learning for all, delivering a popular and diverse programme of film-related events, courses and activities in Norfolk.

Working with underserved and disadvantaged groups, people living with a disability, young people and the elderly, activities will include filmmaking projects, discussion groups, film theory and scriptwriting courses for lifelong learners. There will also be reminiscence projects and activities like the ‘Moving Memories’ project for people living with dementia, which already provides a unique and valuable service not met by any other organisation in Norfolk.

Led by expert tutors, evening, weekend and day courses will be accessible and affordable, offering anyone the opportunity to engage and learn about the world of cinema.

The Sir John Hurt Film Trust will develop new audiences and encourage them to engage with and explore the diversity and the enjoyment of film, as an aid to enhance health and quality of life and as a powerful learning tool.

In addition, it will continue to improve access to the rich local and regional film heritage, as well as working to raise the profile of local filmmaking, particularly by young people.

John was passionate about many things but none more so than film, education and latterly, Norfolk. He was delighted to be Patron of Cinema City Education, giving his name to the film education spaces at Cinema City and it’s a fitting tribute that the charity is to become the Sir John Hurt Film Trust.

It launches on November 10th with a gala screening of the film ‘Snowpiercer’ in which John starred.

Going forward, we will need support to continue our work and John’s legacy, and I hope that businesses and individuals will get behind us so that the Sir John Hurt Film Trust will be able to continue to engage, educate, enrich and inspire our local communities.

For more information on the Sir John Hurt Film Trust email hello@sirjohnhurtfilmtrust.org.uk or visit sirjohnhurtfilmtrust.org.uk.

Photo of Sir John taken by Ian Derry BAFTA

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