An Evening With Trent Film Society

trent film society french

Co-written with Troy Bordun.

Trent Film Society (TFS) is a student and community group that showcases international, independent, and forgotten films from cinema’s short but dynamic history. All of our events take place in the downtown core and are free for Trent students and the public. We have a passion for the cinema and want to help foster a vibrant film culture in downtown Peterborough and at Trent.

In the early 1970’s an article was written about a problem Trent Film Society was facing regarding attendance. The then-co-directors of TFS struggled to get more than an audience of 50 to their film screenings. They found this deeply concerning, both for film and for their accumulating debt. As the current co-directors we have witnessed the number of attendees hover around 20 in more recent years. Is this an issue? Should we expect more spectators in a time when reasons deterring the community from attending public screenings are plentiful?

Film has become so widely accessible that there are fewer reasons for people to go out of their way to see one. Our culture follows a tendency towards an individualistic way of life, bringing not only personal cars and computers, but a comfort and ease in watching movies in private. Even while catching a flick at the Cineplex we remain alienated from one another by not generally engaging with the strangers around us (except to tell them to “Shh!”). So we are forced to ask why anyone would bother to come out to Artspace to see an Alfred Hitchcock film when they could more easily find it online or through Netflix.

To this question we answer: we offer an engaging and communal approach to film. Each screening begins with an introduction and is followed by an open discussion that allows the visual art and expressed ideas to become recognized, appreciated, or rejected. And let me put it bluntly, digital copies are no blu-rays, and the Canadian version of Netflix has a penchant for absorbing into its lacklustre collection the worst of the worst.

Last year we organized Trent Film Society’s very first free screening at Galaxy Cinemas as an experiment to see how much space could influence the number of viewers. The comfortable chairs, the big screen, a recently released film (Leos Carax’s Holy Motors [2012]), and free entrance resulted in a packed house.

In addition to our weekly scheduled screenings at Artspace (378 Aylmer Street North), and as a response to this successful evening, we are excited to announce that Trent Film Society will host one free screening per month at Market Hall, located in downtown Peterborough.

This local space is equipped with the comfort and luxury of a Cineplex but also allows us to support a local business.

The ambience at a TFS event is friendly and we are always glad to see new people coming out to appreciate film and keep the cinema alive. You can get more information about upcoming screenings by liking our Facebook page (, sending us an email to get on a mailing list (, keeping your eyes peeled for posters and handbills, and of course, by reading Arthur.