By Mike Thatcher
Here’s a tip for you: if you want to travel incognito do not carry a huge silver cup around with you. This is what David Saitch learned after being awarded the prestigious Roebuck Cup at the Film Society of the Year Awards at Sheffield last month. ‘Go on my son, champion’ shouted one taxi driver out of his window. Others honked their horns. Conversations were struck on up the train home and even on a London escalator at the sight of this huge trophy.
The evening before, we were in our seats at the Sheffield Showrooms having been awarded a distinction for marketing earlier in the ceremony. I was very pleased and David looked pleased, although underneath I could tell he was chuntering about what more he had to do to win the darn thing.
“The Roebuck Cup is awarded to those remarkable individuals…” continued Deborah Parker, the chief exec of Cinema for All. My mind was wandering and David was texting Manon, asking what more he had to win the darn marketing award. “…names have been engraved upon the Roebuck Cup since 1979 - men and women who have given that extra something to the film society sector…”
At least we get our photo taken with Danny Leigh and Derek Malcolm for our marketing award, I thought.
It then occurred to me that I was wearing the same dark top I had been at the last two awards. Oh well, no one will notice.
“…known to many for his attendance at this event, year after year, his continual support of groups all over the country…” Well, it’s a man this year, I mused. “… he has been running his own group for many years, bringing great cinema to his community in West Sussex”.
In true sitcom fashion David and I exchanged a glance.
“…several years ago he set up the UK Film Societies Facebook page to bring you all together…”.
“Oh flip”, said David, (I may have misheard), as he realised he would have to go on stage and say something. The tributes continued as he gathered his thoughts: Katie Brandwood of Stanley’s Film Club said: “We are indebted to David for enabling us to get back on our feet after losing access to our equipment, along with our long-term venue. In response to a plea for help on the UK Film Societies group in May, David arranged for the spare projector at his own film society, the Hurst Village Cinema, to be given to us on extended loan, going out of his way to handover the projector in a matter of hours.”
David strode to the stage and modestly accepted the award. “All I did was create a Facebook page, it took 20 minutes.”
[Full story in December 2017 Hurst Life magazine]