Richard Fort died last week and his funeral was on Monday. If you were involved in Cinema for All [previously the Federation of British Film Societies] in Yorkshire, you would have come across Richard. He was a key member on the Yorkshire Federation of Film Societies. The Federation and the Societies are an important gateway to film for Yorkshire people: and in many cases they provide films that otherwise would have not be available. Richard was a regular organiser of the YFFS screening days, for a number of years held at the National Media Museum. He was also involved in the Bradford Playhouse when it offered both theatre and film screenings: sadly both are now no longer on offer.
Two friends and colleagues from the YFFS offered the following eulogy for the funeral.
Much of Richard’s time was devoted to his love of films. As a youngster he was a regular visitor to his local cinema in Silsden, and as an adult he came to know the picturehouses of Yorkshire like the back of his hand. It was said by more than one person that he appeared to have seen nearly every film ever made. His taste encompassed films from all eras & all parts of the world, though he disliked on-screen violence and films that were “a bit slow!”
He was a member of Ilkley Film Society from its earliest years & served as its secretary from 1977 until his death. He was superbly organised & efficient in this role, and his knowledgeable and level-headed contributions to committee meetings were greatly valued. While he was recovering from serious illness in 2012, he decided to write a short history of the Film Society, and produced a lively & fascinating account, preserving information & anecdotes which would otherwise have been lost for ever.
Also in the 1970s, he became secretary of the Yorkshire Regional Group of Film Societies, another role in which he continued to the end of his life. Perhaps as a result of his training as a scientist, he was particularly effective in conducting research into film titles and availability, sources of DVDs and the like. He applied his organisational skills to the wide variety of events which the Yorkshire Group put on around the county over the decades and ensured that the Group enjoyed a good relationship with individual film societies and arts organisations.
For a while he was also Company Secretary at Bradford Playhouse, theatre being another of his interests. As a result, he gained both an invaluable understanding of the operation of charities, and experience of the idiosyncrasies of volunteers.
His dry sense of humour ensured that he kept his feet firmly on the ground and he could be relied on to take a thoughtful and measured approach when chaos threatened. In his last few years his health prevented him from doing as much as before, but he continued to make an important contribution behind the scenes and both Ilkley Film Society and the Yorkshire Group will miss him greatly.
Sympathy to his friends. Thanks to Alan and David.