Although not the focus of this report, which is looking at activity for audiences post-19, it is worth noting here that engaging with formal educational organisations such as schools and colleges can be a highly effective way of engaging with your local community. This has the advantage of helping to build your next generation of audiences. By offering special screenings, talks and projects for school groups, teachers become regular attendees, it builds your profile in the community, schools may come back to you to organise Away Days, Christmas meals, conferences etc., and of course, you will be introducing young people - many of whom will be new to your venue - to the magic and wonder of specialised film!
"For many it was the first non-UK / USA film they had seen in a cinema, and for most it was the first independent / specialist cinema they had visited (great first time cultural experiences". (Media Studies teacher - City of Norwich School following an introduced screening of Animal Kingdom).
With support from Norfolk and Norwich Festival Bridge (funded by the Arts Council) Cinema Plus and Cambridgeshire Film Consortium recently worked with a local secondary school and a Sixth Form College to develop young programming teams who worked with the respective venues to select, programme, promote and event manage a season of films with accompanying introductions and special events. Not only did this raise awareness of specialised films and the venues among the students and their peers, it also gave the cinemas a valuable means of researching the viewing habits of this age group.
Students from Cinema Plus' young programmers team
CFC's Young Programmers Project advertising in Arts Picturehouse programme
CFC's Young Programmer's Twitter Account
A participant evaluates the impact of the project:
'I've been a young programmer since October 2014 and it's given me a fascinating insight into cinema programming and marketing as well as introducing me to a promising career option. We're looking forward to building an audience for our first programme of films.' (Thomas Kent, Student, Long Road Sixth Form College.)
There are several national organisations and initiatives that offer support, resources and ways to engage with young people through film screenings and filmmaking activities. More information on these follows:
Into Film runs a UK-wide programme of learning through and about film for 5 – 19 year olds including an annual film festival and year-round programme of cinema-based screenings and events. Into Film is supported by the BFI and a range of other funders. The Cambridgeshire Film Consortium and Cinema Plus support the Festivals. www.intofilm.org
The Cambridgeshire Film Consortium is a delivery partner for the BFI Film Academy. BFI Film Academy- UK Network Programmeoffers regional hands-on filmmaking courses for young people aged 16-19 years aimed at developing knowledge and skills and encouraging their special interests in film. The courses offer the Arts Award which requires a review of a live cinema event so they are a good way of developing a younger demographic for specialised film. There are 40 different courses nationally. www.bfi.org.uk/education-research/5-19-film-education-scheme-2013-2017/bfi-film-academy-scheme/bfi-film
Tip: Arrange a teachers evening and talk to them regarding the current curriculum and their needs. Those schools that offer Media and Film Studies or run film clubs are a good place to start. However, film has many cross-curricular benefits, so do target a wide range of teachers including English, History, Politics and Modern Languages departments.