Nottingham Alternative Film Network and Cinema For All Conference
Posted: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:28
This October the Nottingham Alternative Film Network (NAFN) had the pleasure of attending Cinema For All's 2015 Film Society of the Year Awards, because we were shortlisted as one of six of the most promising film societies that had emerged in the UK in recent years. As we are Cinema For All members, we also had the added good fortune of being able to attend their AGM and vote on this year's pressing issues.
We would definitely advise all other Central East FAN members to attend these events if they get the chance – no matter what their role is in their society – because these events really are so much more than an awards ceremony. Each year, Cinema For All curates a programme of panel discussions around a particular theme, and this in 2015 they followed the ICO's lead and put a strong emphasis on diversity and how societies can make diversity a core part of the work they do.
This really helped us re-evaluate the strategies we have used in the past to attract people to our screenings. In short the event made us a much better club really, because it made us think a lot more about how important it is to invest in the people who do come to our screenings and make them feel like an enfranchised part of our goals.
Even if a particular year's theme doesn't quite appeal to your society, we would still really advise you to attend, as it is so seldom in life that you can actually spend time in a room full of people who are as passionate about films and sharing them with others. Even outside the panel discussions, the people you meet at the awards were full of creative suggestions and they really left us feeling incredibly enthused upon our departure from Sheffield.
Some of our inspirational highlights involved ideas about: how we can use ping-pong balls to create an ingenious visual voting system; how we can theme our events and bribe our viewers with hot-dog cakes; and how we can create funky little passport season passes to keep people coming back. Now we constantly try to think of ways which, as a relatively new club, we can think outside the box and incorporate added extra into our all events to keep winning over new audiences.
The awards do also have something for the out-and-out film fanatics too, as alongside them there also runs a selection of movies which are soon to be made available to societies through people like Filmbank Media. We did feel that the films could have been a little more adventurously programmed, and ironically enough even a bit more diverse, but nevertheless we did find a number of films which would be of interest us and which we wouldn't have seen otherwise.
Part of us equally feels that our being shortlisted for these awards also made people like our local FAN Network, and other institutions like the New Art Exchange in Nottingham take us more seriously and has made them more open to our ideas. Even beyond that, though, the awards were a great opportunity to network and form ties with groups like Scalarama, Free Film Festivals and of course the now multi-award-winning Minicine. These are ties which we really valued forming, and that we definitely hope to put to further use in future.
So if that wasn't already enough of an argument for attending, well let's just say that there's even a party with all of the cakes; and even a delicious craft Cinema Beer to wash it down with too!