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Posted: Tue, 16 May 2017 12:18

ICO Young Audiences Screening Day

ICO Young Audiences Screening Day

Ursula White, Independent Cinema Milton Keynes

I am heading north on the train to Sheffield researching films for our Children's cinema programme Tracks. Venturing out of Milton Keynes is difficult as no one covers my role while I am away.

I work for Independent Cinema Milton Keynes. Our organisation creates memorable encounters with moving image, producing films and film programmes, celebratory events. ICMK also develops the skills and profile of filmmakers in Milton Keynes running networking sessions, screenings and film challenges. The core of our work is programming Friday Night Films at MK Gallery, but we also work right across Milton Keynes producing events with a wide variety of organisations and groups. www.ic-mk.org

So I'm on the train and the day is stunning- not a cloud in the sky, a group of brown cows still drowsy in the green field, it's early and I haven't had coffee yet. The local council elections were yesterday and I am glad not to be listening to the Radio this morning. I am looking forward to watching films today and not writing proposals, reports, and funding applications. It feels like I am actually doing what I want to do when I come to ICO screening days.

And its great to be going to Sheffield, as usual ICO have got some great choices. I am very interested in cinema and film for younger audiences. We started a monthly children's cinema aimed at 7 – 12 year olds last year called Tracks. It was set up with local parents and children who assist with marketing efforts and event management. It has gone well so far but we are limited with our lack of DCP capability, which means for instance that we can't screen Studio Ghibli titles.

Looking forward to catching up with other exhibitors too… signing off now as I approach the first of my train changes.

I arrive and am in straightaway to hear the keynote address from Florine Weibenger, Head of Education at Eye, Amsterdam. The address is about engaging young audiences and a great overview of all their projects with different age ranges. I come out with a sense of envy at the amount of investment there and looking at what we can take from that with the resources we have. Later, luckily for me, there is Engaging Audiences on a Shoestring.

Just got out of screening of The Big Sick, a US indie movie that premiered at Sundance. There was a lot to like about the film – some good humour, exploration of what it means to be a Pakistani Muslim in the US. On the whole the film is a bit long but I was genuinely moved by the story and would probably screen this. It's lunchtime and some quick chats to fellow exhibitors who come from North and South. I manage to catch a bit of the anime Napping Princess before the shoestring session.Beautiful detailed background drawings, but the story a little awkward and the soundtrack a bit generic, but I think my daughter of 12 would enjoy it.

I manage to catch a bit of Into Film: You Tube and then sneak out to see a bit of Rock Dog and then its time to go back. A lot packed in - great ideas and inspiration to take back to Milton Keynes.

Posted: Tue, 02 May 2017 22:23

Broadway and Flatpack Projects in a joint bid for Film Hub Midlands

Broadway and Flatpack Projects in a joint bid for Film Hub Midlands

In late 2016 the BFI announced their 2022 strategy, building on the success of the Film Audience Network and proposing a new Film Hub Midlands, comprising of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Rutland, Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Herefordshire, Sandwell, Shropshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford and Wrekin, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton, and Worcestershire.

The vision of BFI Film Audience Network is to build a wider, more diverse UK cinema audience with a richer appreciation of British and international film.

Broadway, as current Film Hub Lead Organisation for the Central East region and Flatpack Projects, as current strategic partner for the West Midlands, have connected to bid and deliver a newly created Film Hub Midlands against the BFI2022 Strategy.

The BFI's overview does mean the current region of Central East will cease to exist, and the counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk will become part of the South East region currently served by Film Hub South East https://filmhubse.org

We are excited for the opportunity to create a new Film Hub Midlands and want to build on the early successes of FAN, to refine and strengthen its unique role in growing film audiences in the UK and to help it achieve even more – in line with the overarching priorities of BFI2022.

What next?

We are keen to hear from exhibitors who operate within the new Midlands region and encourage you to get in touch with the teams at FHCE and Flatpack Assemble so we can be as responsive as possible to regional contexts and needs. Key contacts are:

Eleanor Thornley - FHCE Manager e.thornley@broadway.org.uk 0115 8507815

Andy Rae - FHCE Coordinator a.rae@broadway.org.uk 0115 8507845

Amy Smart - Flatpack Assemble Project Manager amy@flatpackfestival.org.uk 0121 7711509

Key dates

  • April - 9 June 2017: Preparation and submission of Stage One BFI FAN application. On approval:
    • July - October 2017: Preparation of BFI FAN Stage Two application.
    • September - December 2017: Preparation of Stage Three BFI FAN application.
    • January 2018: Commence delivery of Film Hub Midlands

Posted: Mon, 10 Apr 2017 09:44

Film Hub Central East opens the Programme Progression Scheme for applications

 Film Hub Central East opens the Programme Progression Scheme for applications

We created the Programme Progression Scheme to support film societies, clubs, and community cinemas in our first open call in Spring 2014. We received large interest from societies who felt they could expand their programming, but needed help to do so.

The scheme continues to help all hub members diversify programming, react to opportunities, and engage audiences through special events, guests, and Q&A activity.

Apply Now

Posted: Fri, 31 Mar 2017 10:59

First impressions: the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) Screening days at BFI Southbank

First impressions: the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) Screening days at BFI Southbank

Mariko Francombe, Fisheye Film Festival

ICO Screening weekends are held every few months, are popular and sell out quickly among those who have come to value them as a great way to preview a selection of independent films due for release during the upcoming season.

We found out about them through being members of the BFI Film Audience Network , currently in the Central East Hub and we are grateful for the bursary in support of our attendance.

Fisheye Film Festival is an annual film festival in its infancy, created in 2015 to celebrate film and screen arts in the area in and around High Wycombe, Bucks. We would like it to inspire filmmaking and broaden the range of cinematic experiences in our locality – both by organizing new events and by highlighting the activities of existing film societies and neighbourhood cinemas.

The festival is named after the fisheye wide-angle lens and embodies the idea of putting us at the centre of the all-round view with our eyes wide open to the world, to the new and to the future. International and independent feature films are therefore key ingredients in the mix of our current range of film-related events.

The 2017 Spring Screening Days happened at BFI Southbank, London on 11t h – 13t h March. It was the first time anyone from Fisheye Film Festival had attended. Two of us went to a day each, but we were too late to secure a booking for Saturday, the first and clearly the most popular day. Most films were screened on more than one day so we did not miss out too much on the film programme, which promised various cinematic treats on offer through several different distributors. The idea was to choose from a series of parallel screenings using the National Film Theatre screens 1, 2 and 3.

I went on Monday 13t h . For me, this was a day of delights in prospect. Greg Witek, in charge of our international film programme, had been the day before and we had had a lengthy late night instant messaging conversation about the films he had chosen to watch and what he had thought of them. He also tipped me off on some other films, which had been highly rated by the audiences on Saturday and Sunday. So I made my choices to watch four movies, wall-to-wall with a lunch-time bite-sized seminar about selling cinema experiences by Martin Carr, thrown in to aid the (cerebral) digestion!

My choices were After the Storm (Japan) ; The Other Side of Hope (Finland) ; I am Not Your Negro (USA) and Their Finest (UK film by Danish director, Lone Scherfig). All were quite different but thoroughly absorbing and stimulating, making for a very enjoyable day of watching films. The press embargo does not enable me to comment more specifically but suffice it to say that any one of them could make our shortlist!

The audience at the Screenings I went to were mainly teams of delegates from Film Societies and a few film festivals and independent cinemas from across the country. I noticed many were to be found in between screenings in the Blue Room café sat in eager discussion and debate over coffee or sandwiches or staring at the detailed analysis of audience feedback for all the films, projected large onto one of the walls.

It struck me that the downside of trying to cover the programme between us was to lack common experience and therefore have the debate over a film, which so enhances cinema. I met one person that I knew from BFI but again that was rushing from one screening to the next.

Given the chance to go again, ideally I would go with more of our team, and have a strategy to enable us to cover the screenings and have time for discussion and networking with other people to maximize the benefit from this valuable opportunity.

Posted: Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:14

Film Hub Members Day

Film Hub Members Day

Tuesday 7 March, 10:00am, Broadway Nottingham

Join us for our spring Hub Members Day at Broadway in Nottingham on March 7th.

It's your chance to talk to us about the upcoming months and the focus areas of the Film Audience Network as part of the BFI's 2022 strategy.

Look forward to hearing more about:

  • Presenting our Diversity Toolkit
  • Young Programmers Network
  • New Release Strategy

We'll be covering any travel costs to ensure you can make it along.

You can register at the link below, we're looking forward to seeing you there!

Register Now

Posted: Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:35

REACH: Strategic Audience Development

REACH: Strategic Audience Development

Maria Fe Valen, Ipswich Film Theatre

REACH: Strategic Audience Development is a six month course delivered by the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network and supported by Creative Skillset.

They define it as a 'workshop driven, project-based training programme for independent film exhibitors who wish to learn how to expand their audiences in a strategic manner, best utilising available resources of money, expertise and time'

I work at the Ipswich Film theatre, a community-based two screen cinema located underneath the Ipswich Council building, right in the centre of town. Despite this central location the IFT doesn't have a regular cinema façade, being shadowed by the more prominent Corn exchange venue above us. Last year it was announced that a new multiplex cinema would be built at a shopping mall very near us. The nature of the films that we programme is very different to that of a multiplex, and therefore the arrival of such a venue doesn't necessarily present a direct threat to our business. Nevertheless, we felt that we should use this occasion to do something to identify our strengths and weaknesses as a venue and those of our programming, to explore our status and identity for the community of Ipswich, and find room for improvement. So when this course came along I felt that it was a great opportunity for us to have a close and critical look at our organization and figure out how we can improve our visibility and our existing audience's experiences.

The course started in London at the end of May 2016 with three days of talks by film industry experts and case studies by film exhibitors. It was complemented by practical workshops and peer- to-peer discussions. I arrived there with a loosely written project and a lot of excitement.

We were a total of 18 people, from all parts of Great Britain. This diversity was great, as it provided the opportunity to share experiences and different perspectives with similar organizations from all over the UK. The atmosphere was very friendly, the talks very inspiring. We had lovely lunches and one evening we were taken out for dinner, and we all bonded over delicious food! The range of subjects was fantastic, from data analysis to marketing and programming. All speakers were fabulous and incredibly knowledgeable. One talk I remember in particular. On the last day we were given a talk by Caglar Kimyoncu about accessibility for audiences, which I felt was very enlightening and pertinent. Beyond business and the need to have an audience in the first place, this talk highlighted the human experience of visiting a movie theatre, and how we so often ignore people's basic needs in relation to handicaps that are not immediately obvious to most of us. Wheelchair accessibility has become an obvious handicap that has been widely accommodated, yet there are other handicaps such as hearing impairment, sensitivity to noise or dyslexia, or even mental health difficulties and psychological difficulties, that have an impact on a visit to a cinema.

The course modules were very well structured. The first helped me to devise a clear and realistic plan. I was assigned a mentor to help me with the project. I went back to Ipswich and started

planning the next steps. I organized a series of focus group surveys at the same time as implementing some changes around the cinema, mainly intended to improve communication between us and the customers.

My mentor was great in guiding me through the process and participants could attend a meeting half way through the course in London in September where we could all share our experiences so far.

I kept working on the project through September and October, the main focus being a qualitative survey which we held at the cinema, asking questions to our regular customers and also non- customers. Results were encouraging, as people mostly asked for us not to change our identity, and they didn't mind the lack of venue visibility at all, though there were some suggestions that better marketing could help reach a greater audience. They did however ask for minor box office improvements, better access to programming information and, above all, a place to sit and enjoy a drink and snacks, which we don't have at the moment.

At the end of November we met again for a last time in Glasgow, where we all presented our projects and shared our experiences and ideas.

All in all the course was great in helping me to get a good picture of where the IFT stands in the context of the UK industry, and also of its potential and of the hindrances it faces. Beyond my personal interest in the venue that I represent, I found the whole experience very inspirational. I went away with lots of new ideas and many new friends. I would recommend this course to anyone working within the film exhibition industry wanting to expand their horizons and wanting to gain skills and ideas that help reaching potential audiences anywhere.

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