An 'astounding' rise in the number of new members joining Budleigh Film Society is puzzling its committee.

Since the summer 92 new people have joined up for the  2023/24 season, September to April - the usual number of members is 30 to 40.

The Film Society aims to bring the best of international cinema to audiences who might otherwise not get the chance to see them. The films are screened at Budleigh Salterton Public Hall - which was originally built for that purpose - and the quality of the projector and very large screen offer an experience not far short of a cinema. 

But the steep rise in membership numbers - which has brought the total to 400 - has still come as a surprise to the committee. They think it may have been a result of bringing out the society's publicity material in June, nearly a month early. Or word may have spread after the first two films of the season, which had exceptionally high approval ratings: The Outfit, a thriller starring Mark Rylance, was followed by Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, a beautiful, poignant film set in the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan. Or perhaps people were looking for a distraction from the national mood of disillusion with politics, war and the weather.

Whatever the reason, the society is pleased - and is now offering a discount to new members joining for the second half of the season.

Chairman Paul Abbott said:  "We are of course delighted by this sudden rise in membership applications."

Membership secretary Stephen Huyshe Shires added: "There's something about round numbers, and the offer to join at half price for the remaining half season is still open. You can find us at, or via the programme leaflets in the Public Library, Brook Gallery or other outlets in the town."