Film Quiz began in April 2013 and has been successfully running for a decade – even a global pandemic couldn’t stop them, they simply moved online and continued quizzing!

We sat down with one of the crafty Quizmasters - Kathy Hubbard - to chat about the longevity of Film Quiz, the key elements of a great quiz, and to congratulate them on being one of Mareel's longest running events.

What is Film Quiz?

A monthly get together of film-loving people, organised into teams of no more than six, pitting their wits against each other (and against the Quizmasters) for the chance to win a prize – and glory – (especially glory). It’s a social occasion and played for fun (although SOME teams – who shall be anonymous here – are pretty competitive)! There are other prizes and consolations, in particular The Bringing Up The Rear Prize for whichever team comes last (we try not to use that term…) It’s a celebration of screen culture, as is the Screenplay Film Festival, and we hope it encourages people to attend the cinema to keep their knowledge up to date and because Mareel is such a terrific cinema with a varied and inclusive programme; biased, us? You bet.

How have the quizzes changed from when you started 10 years ago?  

The Quizmasters have become a lot more professional in their approach and are constantly looking for innovation and variety. The first quizzes were necessarily experimental, and we’ve honed our skills over the years with regard to content, presentation and fairness; the latter is hard to achieve when you have teams of widely differing expertise – you can’t just keep making it more difficult, you have to find innovative ways of asking questions that might offer opportunities to less experienced teams whilst tripping up some of the usual front runners.

Why do you think film quiz has lasted so long? 

In all honesty I think it’s down to the dedication of the volunteer Quizmasters and the effort they put in to make it special. We maintain a high standard and that doesn’t happen without a whole lot of attention to preparation and presentation. Each quiz involves over 90 hours of volunteer effort, and the big Screenplay Film Quiz- which is an anarchic riot - involves a lot more.

We’ve also worked hard to create a sense of community and camaraderie. When the Covid-19 lockdowns occurred we were determined to stick together, so we moved online. Whilst this presented us with definite challenges (live marking online is a very tense affair!) and limited us in what we could offer (broadband capacities were very varied) it offered different opportunities for joining in. We gathered new teams- some involved members ‘south’, those who previously struggled for childcare or had travel difficulties. It was crucial to us that the Film Quiz sense of community was retained – and it certainly was a lightsome distraction during that difficult period.

What makes a good film quiz?  

A good mix of teams, a varied programme of rounds that are sensitive to everyone’s knowledge and abilities, and variation and innovation in the way those rounds are presented. But most of all, building a good relationship with the teams and keeping the whole thing fun and light-hearted. Without their regular and repeated commitment there wouldn’t BE a Film Quiz. We usually do nine rounds with a break after the third and sixth round, so that people have plenty of time to socialise. There are traditional question and answer rounds, image rounds, sound and video rounds, specialist and topical rounds and rounds that we try to present in different formats to keep the event fresh and a little unpredictable.

What’s your favourite round/question?  

I love all the video rounds that Adam prepares – he’s such a creative Quizmaster – and I also love things like the “drawing rounds” where teams are given a film title (secretly) and they have to draw something that represents it (we place all kinds of unfair restrictions on them, naturally, just to make it more of a challenge!). Then all the teams have to guess each other’s titles; the results are hilarious, ingenious and occasionally outrageous.

Why should people take part in the film quiz?  

Because it’s FUN. That’s it, really. And we love seeing you.

The 10th anniversary Film Quiz is now sold out, but keep your eyes peeled on the website and get a team together for the next film quiz!

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