Welcome to anyone who has come here because they are interested in the Cheltenham International Film Festival. This site is a rag-bag of bits and pieces I have ‘spaffed against the wall’ of the internet in the hope that either:
- They will stick
- The wall will fall down.
Anyone who would like to reach me, or join me in my harmless mischief, can find my contact details all over this site. Email, telephone, write me a letter or come round. Preferably not when I’m asleep but — newsflash — if you do I will wake up. Give me warning and I will put the kettle on.
What is CIFF?
I would like to say I understood what is going on with CIFF: the Cheltenham International Film Festival. Why would anyone launch an ‘international film festival’ and then make it fail? As I am tired of pointing out, in a town with a population of about 120,000, why would you only print six posters? Six posters and, initially, 3,000 paper flyers, none of which included any useful information. And having printed those 3,000 flyers, for an event supposedly designed to generate fun, income and employment for the whole population of Cheltenham, why would you leave them in a cardboard box in the office of the secretary to the Chief Executive of Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce? And why would you not tell the person working in that office what they were? And then allow 2/3 of them to be mislaid?
The film festival is run by a charitable trust called the Cheltenham International Film Trust Limited. Previously it was called Cheltenham International Film Festival Trust Limited. The Chief Executive of the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce, Michael Ratcliffe MBE, is a trustee of the festival.
People don’t generally know that charities can be limited companies.
A limited company is a device whereby the owners of businesses limit their personal liability in the event of things going ‘pear-shaped’ or ‘tits-up’. So you can set up a window-cleaning operation, borrow some money to purchase a bucket and a ladder, and then, if you don’t make a go of cleaning windows, close the company and walk away. No-one takes your house. Or, you can set up a multinational bank, a bitcoin mine or a NFT racket, and operate in the same way.
A charity, in the language of Joe Soap, the man on the Clapham Omnibus, is ‘an organization for helping people in need’. That’s from the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary: hence the ‘z’. Oxford, eh? They like their spellings, and their Oxford commas, and they like their alumni to acquire connexions. In law, it means something rather different, and good luck finding out about that. The current law is the Charities Act 2022, which went through in February when we were distracted. To understand it, you have to read the Charities Act 2011, the primary legislation. When you do so, you will find that the definition of a charity is circular.
For the purposes of the law of England and Wales, “charity” means an institution which—
(a) is established for charitable purposes only, and
(b) falls to be subject to the control of the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction with respect to charities.
In other words, a charity is a thing that does charitable things. The list of charitable things is fairly comprehensive.
(a)the prevention or relief of poverty;
(b)the advancement of education;
(c)the advancement of religion;
(d)the advancement of health or the saving of lives;
(e)the advancement of citizenship or community development;
(f)the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science;
(g)the advancement of amateur sport;
(h)the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity;
(i)the advancement of environmental protection or improvement;
(j)the relief of those in need because of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage;
(k)the advancement of animal welfare;
(l)the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown or of the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services;
(m)any other purposes—
(i)that are not within paragraphs (a) to (l) but are recognised as charitable purposes by virtue of section 5 (recreational and similar trusts, etc.) or under the old law,
(ii)that may reasonably be regarded as analogous to, or within the spirit of, any purposes falling within any of paragraphs (a) to (l) or sub-paragraph (i), or
(iii)that may reasonably be regarded as analogous to, or within the spirit of, any purposes which have been recognised, under the law relating to charities in England and Wales, as falling within sub-paragraph (ii) or this sub-paragraph.
Anyway, by virtue of achieving charitable status, charities acquire certain legal benefits and immunities. Basically, it doesn’t pay tax on its trading activities.
A trust is managed by its trustees. Here’s the Cheltenham International Film Trust’s page at the Charity Commission. It makes interesting reading. It includes the charity’s ‘objects clause’: its justification for existing.
Here it is:
TO PROMOTE APPRECIATION OF AND EDUCATION IN THE ARTS AND CRAFTS AND THEIR ASSOCIATED TECHNOLOGIES, ESPECIALLY BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY THOSE OF THE CINEMA AND OTHER FORMS OF MOVING IMAGES, AND INCLUDING THOSE OF MUSIC, DRAMA, DANCING, MIME, GRAPHIC ARTS, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, LITERATURE, POETRY AND ORATORY ARTS. TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC BY ENCOURAGING THE CREATIVE PARTICIPATION IN THE ARTS AND CRAFTS OF CINEMA, VIDEO AND OTHER FORMS OF MOVING IMAGES, INCLUDING DIRECTING, SCRIPT-WRITING, FILM EDITING, CINEMATOGRAPHY, SCORE-WRITING, SET AND MODEL MAKING, LIGHTING, FILM AND VIDEO PROJECTION, AND ALL OTHER FILM AND VIDEO-RELATED ARTS AND SKILLS. TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC IN THE HISTORY, AESTHETICS AND THEORY OF MOVING IMAGES IN ALL THEIR ASPECTS.
I’m not entirely sure how setting up a film festival and failing to publicise it achieves those objects. That’s really a question for the people responsible for complying with the objectives. They’re the Trustees, and here are their names:
|Michael John Anthony Chittenden||Trustee||13 September 2019||None on record|
|Sasha Speed||Trustee||13 September 2019||None on record|
|Simon Keith Sheldon||Trustee||13 September 2019||None on record|
|MICHAEL RATCLIFFE||Trustee||28 November 2018||ROTARY CLUB OF CHELTENHAM CLEEVE VALE TRUST FUNDReceived: On timeTHE CHARLTON KINGS YOUTH AND COMMUNITY CENTREReceived: On time|
|Laurence Marks||Trustee||18 September 2018|
Contact them if you have any questions.
Although I have been given a silly title on the festival’s website (not the title i asked for), I have no formal status in the Trust. I am neither a Trustee, nor an Employee. The Charity Commission profile says the trust has 11 volunteers, but I can’t find their names. Maybe I’m one of those. I have been offered £300 for the months of work I’ve put in, but I will not be invoicing the Trust for it. I am not sure taking money from such an organisation will enhance my reputation.
I will, however, continue to promote the festival because I believe in the things that are in the Trust’s Objects Clause. The Arts. Education. Creative Participation. The History, Aesthetics and Theory of Moving Images. And if I find I am obstructed in that — I’ll do it anyway. For love. Because I’m an amateur.
If you’d like to set up your own charity, the Government makes it easy. Why not? Everybody else seems to be doing it.
Salubritas et Eruditio. The motto of Cheltenham. Virtute et Industria. The motto of my City, just down the road.
The oath I took in 1964.
To do my best,
To do my duty to God and to the Queen.
To keep the Boy Scout Law,
And do a good deed every day.The Wolf Cub Promise (from memory)