News & Events

Posted: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:28

Nottingham Alternative Film Network and Cinema For All Conference

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!


Posted: Thu, 24 Sep 2015 10:13

Cinema Engagement Launches

We're delighted to launch our Cinema Lifelong Learners initiative, allowing all our members and audiences across the region access to engagement programmes.

We believe that engaging an audience is not just about watching films, and we really want to help our members have easy access to a great range of film courses, with the expertise of people who have been making them successful for years not far away.

You can use our new online database to find engagement specialists to deliver courses, introduce screenings, and run workshops for your audience.

You can browse for tutors or speakers, whether they are in your region, and their expertise in film as well.

You can receive a grant from the hub to kickstart your own engagement programmes.

We know that trying new things can be an adventure, this is why we're offering grants to all hub members for engagement programmes to help remove any risks, see

Make sure to read Broadening Cinema, a report on the role of education in audience development from industry specialists Cinema Plus and Cambridgeshire Film Consortium.

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:42

Norwich Hub Meeting

Tuesday 29 September 14:00, Cinema City, Norwich

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!

Our first is held at the amazing Cinema City in Norwich, so if you're a member in Norfolk / Suffolk (or further away!) please come along.

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

To RSVP, please email Andy at, see you there!

Posted: Fri, 07 Aug 2015 12:38

Ipswich Film Theatre go to the ICO Screening Days

Independent Cinema Office Summer Screening Days

My name is Mafe Valen and I am currently employed at the Ipswich Film Theatre as a projectionist and assistant film programmer. The head programmer for the IFT thought it would be a valuable experience and part of my apprenticeship with him to go to the Independent Cinema Office Summer Screening Days 25 – 27 July, 2015, at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield.

Over the course of these three intensive days, the attendees were able to pick and choose from 21 film previews. These were all films to be released during late summer and into the autumn. As I had begun programming at the IFT, it was thought that the opportunity to view a range of films at such an event would help in making decisions and understanding which films might appeal to the IFT audience. I also need to write the brochure copy and explain the film choices to the board, and having a viewing really helps in being able to assist others understand what a film is about and why it might appeal to our audience.

Due to the scheduling and use of multiple screens it wasn't possible to watch all of the films, so I did my best to fit in as many as I could. I was able to see four films per day, which sounds like a film-goer's dream, but it proved to be an intense experience on some days. Among the films I watched were some quite thought provoking or emotion stirring offerings.

Every film had corresponding information (e.g. how to book the film) available. At the end of each session all the attendees were asked to answer a basic questionnaire about their liking of the film, and the overall results were displayed daily on a board so we were able to appreciate at a quick glance which of the films were potential crowd pleasers.

The highlight for me, besides watching some amazing films, was the opportunity to exchange views with exhibitors and programmers from around the country, including some people I knew from previous events and places of work.

There were also talks and other networking opportunities, often running concurrently with film screenings, so there was a lot of variety and choice of which sessions to attend. They offered advice on a range of topics, for example, distribution, programming, cinema & audience development, marketing, and fund raising. The organisation Cinema For All also had a stall in the foyer, and this provided an insight into their work: providing support nationally for community-led cinema. Film Bank Media supported the event and also provided advice on licensing requirements and booking films. Representatives from organisations, e.g. Film Hubs (part of BFI Film Audience Network) and Scalarama, also attended and were on hand to give advice and feedback.

I would recommend these days to exhibitors and marketing people who perhaps do not have the chance to go to film festivals to see cutting edge or new movies. The choice of films avoided typical blockbuster examples, but spanned a nice range of thrillers, documentaries, avant garde films and dramas for a broad audience (although aimed more at a mature demographic).

Link to the films shown:

All of the films shown at the event were pre-release titles and a strict press embargo prevented external communications to social networking sites and film forums.

Looking back at the experience, now from the middle of December, it has proved to be very helpful not just in terms of writing about the films, but also in being able to talk to customers from an informed position about the films we will be screening, encouraging them to come if appropriate.


Posted: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:48

ICO Autumn Screening Days 2015

Come to Autumn Screening Days in Nottingham, the industry screenings event for programming, marketing and education staff of cinemas, film festivals, and film societies.
Get first-hand knowledge of upcoming film releases so you can select, market and get strong audiences in your venue. Our focus is on key art house and independent titles, and the autumn event will showcase titles scheduled for release in November 2015 – January 2016.
See films that will help your programme stand out, meet and exchange ideas with colleagues and hear from industry experts on important developments.

Hub members can apply for bursaries.

Sat 14 Nov 2015 to Mon 16 Nov 2015
Broadway Cinema, Nottingham

Tickets will be available soon the ICO website

Posted: Tue, 14 Jul 2015 11:53

Technical Support for Venues

  • Would you like to be able to show more screenings of National Theatre Live but worry your staff aren't sure how it'll go on the night?
  • Would you like to host outdoor screenings this summer but want to get the right kit?
  • Would a second screen make your venue more profitable and diverse but don't know how it'll work in your space?
  • Would you like to show local archive material but need advice on creating a DCP?
  • Do you just want to be sure you're making the best value choices when it comes to updating any element of your equipment? Sound, projection, internet, servers?

Technical Skills for Digital Exhibition provides bespoke advice and assistance for independent exhibitors of all shapes and sizes across the UK. A technical expert will visit your venue and give you the tailored advice you need, with recommendations you can apply instantly.

Click here to see some examples of the difference this scheme has made to film societies, small venues, mixed arts venues, film festivals and community cinemas.

To deliver this service we have the expertise of 20 Technical Ambassadors (TAs) - a fleet of highly skilled and experienced projectionists, technicians and engineers from across the UK who are based in your region to help assist with whatever your non-emergency technical issue.

The Central East region is covered by three highly experienced and skilled Technical Ambassadors:

Leigh Heathcote is Assistant Chief Projectionist at Broadway Cinema. He has worked as a projectionist for various organizations for almost a decade and believes his knowledge and enthusiasm can help others achieve a high standard in film presentation.

Joe Delaney is Technical Manager and Assistant Manager at the Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge. Working for an arts cinema with a varied programme and a busy film festival, alongside working with the Cambridge Film Trust, has given Joe a very good understanding of all aspects of film presentation.

Paul Willmott is Technical Manager at Saffron Screen. He is committed to the highest standards of projection and welcomes this opportunity of using his experience to raise standards across the many types of cinema now appearing across the country.


A half-day (3hr) session is £100 (+VAT = £120). Up to 10 individuals can attend the training and organisations can group together if requiring assistance for a similar issue.
A limited number of bursaries are available for organisations who would otherwise be unable to benefit from this service. Please click here for more information.


Please read through all the information on the ICO website before completing an Application Form and send to
If you are applying for a busary, please complete the Bursary Form and return alongside your Application Form.

This training programme is supported by Creative Skillset's Film Skills Fund, which is funded by the BFI with Lottery funding and by the industry.