News & Events

Posted: Sat, 16 Jan 2016 11:54

Register now for the Luton Hub Meeting - Tuesday 26 January

Tuesday 26 January, 2pm, The Hat Factory, Luton

We've opened up registration to all members for our first hub meeting in Luton, so RSVP to Andy at

Last year we started running smaller collaborative meetings all across our hub region, so far they've been really successful in allowing us to meet more members and having an open conversation.

Posted: Mon, 14 Dec 2015 12:31

Saffron Screen and This Way Up 2015

This Way Up Conference 2015

Rebecca del Tufo, Programming Manager, Saffron Screen

I attended This Way Up Conference 2015, or #TWU15 as we were encouraged to use in our tweets, looking for ideas for the future development of our cinema, inspiration to refresh me at the end of a long year, and thoughts I could use right now to improve what we do. I met all these aspirations and more in an intense and highly enjoyable two days of talks, panels, discussions and networking at the film exhibition innovation conference organised by three northern Film Hubs and hosted at Manchester's beautiful new HOME.

Ideas came from discussions about the flow of traffic through your cinema (make sure customers go through your bar to increase spend per visit!), talks about what others are doing with event and participatory cinema, and the whacky Choose Your Own Documentary where the audience's votes at key junctures shaped the way the film and story flowed.

Inspiration came from the ever-brilliant Carol Morley, director of Dreams of a Life and The Falling, who makes films for people, not for any particular audience, is bored witless about being asked what it is like to be a female filmmaker, and loves seeing films on the big screen, enjoying the noise (and smell!) of the people around her. Cinephilia and what it means to share our passion in film with others was also a stimulating session – with a list of out-of-the-ordinary films I now need to go and watch.

Practical ideas to improve our cinema right now included realising that everyone finds it hard to do things for the first time and we should make their journey, and their approach to the cinema, as easy and welcoming as possible. We are thinking of adapting the online story we developed for our autism-friendly screenings into something generally available so that people know what to expect when they visit us. Oh, and I checked our Trip Advisor ratings, and was thrilled!

Having recently added the Bath Film Festival F-Ratings to our website (for any film where a woman has directed or written the film or a woman features prominently on screen), the panel about such information endorsed my view that this is information that could interest and educate audiences and might lead to a change in the industry. And I'm already trying to ask the first question in any Q&A of a woman (possibly encouraging them in advance).

I was delighted by the response of Madeleine Probst of Watershed to the squeeze on cinematic release windows and the rise of VoD: build more cinemas to make sure people everywhere can see a broad range of releases, and encourage distributors to use individual cinema's own audience engagement to promote a film.

My biggest disappointment was not getting into the panel discussion about empathy and our neuropathic responses to different films, and how we can use research to curate and then encourage audiences to watch more diverse films. Maybe next time …

And finally, the people. There were networking opportunities and we were frequently encouraged in different panels and sessions to talk to the people around us to find out more about them and discuss our reactions or views of different topics. Meeting everyone from the BFI to tiny film collectives via a fabulous-sounding cinema in Poland added connections, insights and new friends in a vibrant film world. I've already put in my request to go to This Way Up 2016 which will be hosted at the Glasgow Film Theatre.


Posted: Mon, 07 Dec 2015 12:30

Broadway and This Way Up

Knowing what the latest breakthroughs in best practice surrounding your industry is key to ensuring you stay ahead of the curve and provide better overall experience for your audiences, as part of my role as Audience Development Co-ordinator at Broadway this is one of many fundamental principles that we look to build upon .

Conferences and seminars usually introduce new ways of working that have been tried and tested to a degree of success, so the overall objectives for attending This Way Up was to evaluate at how my organisation was approaching the set themes being explored and also to try and vindicate or question decisions made within my role over the past few years, as well as discussing related topics arising from these objectives with my peers.

Establishing top of mind awareness is critical in any strategy, but make no mistake about it, attending seminars ,networking events or conferences can be key to informing strategy if done properly. One of the most important elements—and one of the most overlooked to getting the most out of such events is to make sure your face and your message get in front of the same -and the right people .

A certain motivation for attending This Way Up was how I could learn a whole lot more from watching and interacting with industry leaders face to face. Attending a conference where these figures are speaking allows you to ask them all the burning questions you have. You can ask or impart some advice and possibly make a connection you can take advantage of in the future. And as I found out, attending a conference can help you on your way to becoming an expert yourself.

One of the most insightful and inspiring keynotes I have attended for a long while was Cross the Streams: Risk and Reward in Audience-centred Approaches by Anna Higgs, which was absolutely on the mark for me. Anna really found a way to engage with the delegates in the screen with her use of well-known 80's blockbusters, but she demonstrated a wealth of knowledge of film audiences, new practices and what insights can be gained from the work she has been undertaking, actually sharing the data gained from practice, which is rare in this instance and certainly set the bar for the other speakers at the event. She also highlighted those not just exhibitors, but what film makers and even distributors can learn from audience data and informed decisions when marketing and creating product.

I love data, it has had such positive impact for our organisation and has enabled us to do wonderful things, so I was really looking forward to Data is Beautiful, Honest. The room was asked about the use of data and it became increasingly apparent that everyone had access to data sets, but no one really had the understanding or time to analyse their data.

Instead of tackling this valuable insight head on, the conversation drifted from pricing structures to how organisations should be sharing data, which was the common theme throughout the event. The disappointing aspects of this seminar was the complete failure to address the common need for training in data collection and analysis, as well as the lack of example in how data is used in practice, successfully, in an exhibitor. I may also add that leading industry figures failed to share any sorts of credible data with the delegates, something which I think completely contradicts their rhetoric when it comes to openly sharing data.

As well as valuable insights gained talks giving by industry leading figures / organisations, a real benefit was felt from open discussions and networking after events, this was supported by the grand scale of employees from different areas of the attending exhibitor, meaning the conversation was ever changing, informative and provided a great platform for future collaborative work.


Posted: Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:25

Christina Newland and London Film Festival

As a representative of Nottingham-based film society Watergate Cinematek, I received a bursary in order to attend this year's London Film Festival and November's ICO Screening Days based at Broadway Cinema. Since we received seed funding to programme and organise a pilot showcase, attending both events allowed me access to screenings that, as a programmer, it was enormously helpful to see. Our planned event - 'Gypsies, Roma, and Travellers on Film' - didn't always have a direct correlation onscreen, but the networking element of both events proved very important. Our organization is young, grassroots, and regional, and we're taking the step into our first funded programming event. At this stage, learning as much as we can from groups like ICO and Cinema for All is important — as is making contact with writers, distributors, and other programmers.

ICO Screening Days was a wonderfully organised and curated weekend event, with a genuinely excellent selection of film screenings. The ICO and Film Hub representatives were helpful and friendly throughout, and the provided list of delegates also helped in terms of getting to know people. Highlights from the weekend included Todd Haynes' Carol and Thomas McCarthy's Spotlight. I highly recommend it for programmers and film societies of all kinds and sizes.

London Film Festival, of course, is a sprawling event attracting most of those involved in the UK film industry, so was an excellent place to start to spread the word about the event, share ideas, and make contacts. I specifically pursued any films regarding Roma subjects and found only one - a quirky and poignant Swedish debut feature called The Garbage Helicopter. Borrowing from Jim Jarmusch and Roy Andersson in equal measure, it's helped to expand our awareness, as programmers, of foreign-language cinema featuring Romany Gypsy characters.

As mentioned, a really vital element with both events was the ability to meet with like-minded programmers and make contacts ahead of the showcase. At ICO Screening Days, specifically, I met with the head programmers of Borderlines Film Festival, who have also received some funding for a traveller-related strand of screenings at next year's fest. We're collaborating on multiple parts of our events, from putting our heads together on research and development to sharing special guests and making programming selections. At London Film Festival, I was able to get the word out more generally to fellow film critics and colleagues, and was able to reach out to Film4 and others in regard to marketing the event and sharing on social media once it's publicly announced. I can only recommend that any other ambitious film programmers seek out these types of bursaries — it can expand your horizons and teach you a lot to attend industry events like these. They both really helped Watergate Cinematek to get the ball rolling on our pilot event.



Posted: Fri, 23 Oct 2015 14:20

Lincoln Hub Meeting

Tuesday 24 November 2pm, Lincoln Drill Hall, Lincoln

We've opened up registration to all members for our first hub meeting at Lincoln Drill Hall, so RSVP to Andy at

Over the next few months Film Hub Central East will be running a chain of meetings with our hub members across the Central East region, the meetings will be a little smaller than our big events, but give us the chance to meet more members!

So keep an eye out as we'll be holding more meetings across the region, and get in touch if you'd like to host one.

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2015 12:34

Reel Equality go to Cinema For All Conference

A bursary from Film Hub Central East allowed us to send a volunteer from the Reel Equality Film Club Committee to the Cinema For All 2015 Community Cinema Conference (2-4 Oct 2015). The conference is a chance for community cinema and film clubs from around the UK to gather, network and learn about issues relevant to running successful community cinema – from programming to marketing, audience development and accessing and inspiring communities. It was all geared at meeting the needs of film clubs and societies so we were really thrilled to be able to attend and use the learning opportunity.

The conference was also a precursor to the 2015 Cinema For All Film Society of the Year Awards, for which Reel Equality Film Club was shortlisted to win the prize of Best New Film Society. We were excited to be able to attend the award ceremony and enjoy the motivational experience of being recognised for all the hard work we've put into the past 2 years of screening events in Nottingham.

It was a great day to meet film societies from all around the country and learn tips and ideas from them about audience development, programming and accessing diverse communities. The conference was particularly relevant to us because the theme was "diverse people, diverse stories." Reel Equality is a campaigning film club focused on ending media sexism, so it was helpful and inspiring to be able to meet film clubs and societies interested in achieving similar goals. We were particularly happy to be able to meet the organisers of the Bechdel Test Fest ( in London and the New Black Film Collective (, who have aims completely aligned with ours and are doing great work. Reel Equality coordinator Chloe Cheeseman took part on a panel about programming diverse films with them, which was a great opportunity to share our learning with other film clubs. After the panel it was really useful to be able to brainstorm collaboration ideas and swap contact details.

The highlight of the event for us had to be the evening, when we were crowned Best New Film Society of the Year. It was great that we were able to use our acceptance speech to reiterate our campaign messages; to speak out for the importance of film programmers acting to increase non-sexist representation of women in cinema, as a crucial means of working against sexist media messaging and the gender inequality that underpins domestic violence and abuse. That we were able to share this with an audience of 200 people from film societies and clubs throughout the UK was priceless. We were really proud and very appreciative of the recognition.

We would definitely recommend that film societies are members of Cinema For All and take advantage of the many support and networking opportunities they provide, such as this conference; we've found it invaluable to our development as a successful film club.

Chloe Cheeseman, Reel Equality as part of Equation