Independent Cinema Office Blog

News and views on the world of independent film

Posts from July 2012

News round-up... 30/07/2012

Posted Monday 30 July 2012 by Sarah Rutterford in News Round-up

Broadway Cinema
The Broadway in Nottingham.

In the news

  • The BFI Statistical Yearbook 2012 has been published. Aggregating useful data from across the industry, the Yearbook provides an excellent overview of current trends in box office, distribution, exhibition, production, employment, the contribution of film to the economy, the performance of British films abroad and more.
  • Applications are now open for ACE, NESTA and the AHRC's new £7 million Digital Research & Development fund for the arts. The fund will be made available over three years (2012/13 - 2014/15) to support R&D projects that use digital technology to enhance arts audience reach and/or explore new business models.
  • Bookings are open for the BFFS' 6th National Conference for Community Cinemas. Taking place on the weekend of 22-23 September at the Institut Francais in London, this year's conference is themed around innovation, inspired by these words from Mark Cousins: "It's the experience rather than what you show. If you can re-enchant your audience... then you have something special."
  • The Yorkshire Calendar displays sixty seconds of archive footage every week, showcasing the rich variety of material available in the YFA. A nice example of using digital technology to make archives more accessible, recent videos in the Calendar have included footage of the Rolling Stones performing at Roundhay Park in 1982 and a clip of Queen Victoria visiting Sheffield in 1897.
  • The Toronto International Film Festival programme is out! The ICO will be blogging from TIFF later in the year, so take a look and if there are any titles you'd particularly like our thoughts on, let us know & we'll report back.


  • There are still places left on our Second Light Exhibition and Distribution Lab. It's a brilliant - and FREE! - opportunity for young aspiring filmmakers to learn from seasoned industry professionals; so if you're aged 16-25 and you're keen to get your foot in the door, check it out.
  • The Cambridge Film Festival's Screen Team 2012 is still looking for applicants - again, it's a really fantastic opportunity for youngsters in the region to be a part of the film festival and gain invaluable experience.
  • Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival have issued a call for festival volunteers. Encounters - the UK's longest running competitive short film and animation festival, running from 18 - 23 Sept - aims to provide the best possible experience for all volunteers. They are looking for enthusiastic individuals ready to get stuck into the buzz of the festival, covering various roles in areas such as guest liaising, marketing, ticketing, ushering, assisting festival staff, office, party and event support and more. Deadline: midnight on Friday 10th August.
  • Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival: Pictures in Motion is set to return from Wednesday 19 - Sunday 23 Sept 2012 and they also need volunteers! They’re currently looking for a team of enthusiastic, dedicated and friendly people to help create the biggest and most successful edition to date. Deadline: Monday 20th August.
  • MediaFish, the young people’s film club run by Leeds Young People’s Film Festival is looking for new members. If you’re 14-19 (or know someone who is) and are passionate about film - whether watching, making or reviewing it - then MediaFish is a fantastic opportunity. You'll get to watch lots of new and unseen films while learning how an international film festival works, and help put on one of the most exciting events for young people in the UK. MediaFish meets weekly and is free to join and attend. Introductory session 4pm on Wed 8 August at Leeds Town Hall. To book a place email Martin Grund or check out
  • For filmmakers: shorts are wanted for the London-based Queer as Film strand, a regular film night celebrating the best in New Queer British Cinema. Films need not be by LGBT filmmakers but must be LGBT themed.
  • One Shot Movie is a nice challenge. Enter your short film - which must consist of one continuous take with no cuts whatsoever - to get your shorts screening in a central London venue and seen industry professionals. Deadline: 31 August 2012.
  • And another one: the Focus Forward Film Challenge is now open for submissions. Offering prizes of up to $100,000, this short film competition is open to applicants worldwide and asks for work about people who've made a meaningful contribution to human progress. Deadline: 23 August 2012.
  • The deadlines for Leeds International Film Festival are approaching - 24th August for features, 14th Sept for shorts.
  • And if you're an artist filmmaker who fancies a residency on Sicily - who doesn't! - you may be interested in this opportunity from that's contemporary. Further details on their website.

Good reads

  • One of our client cinemas, the Broadway in Nottingham is featured in the Guardian's latest Cine-Files. Choice quote: "What makes the Broadway so special is their obvious dedication and love for film."
  • Catharine discusses her career trajectory and film favourites in this British Council interview; whilst Simon is quoted in this Guardian piece on the history and future of co-operative cinemas.
  • Get acquainted with Kickstarter, the crowdfunding phenomenon that's just lauched in the UK.
  • I loved this photo blog on cinemas in South East Asia - lots of evocative pictures charting the region's colourful, often gorgeously dilapidated venues; with one post about the 'Cinema Row' theatres in Burma's Yangon Province which are sadly facing imminent destruction.
  • Take a look at Fill the Land with Cinemas, the blog from Scala Beyond (covered in our last post). It contains declarations from participating venues, which make for interesting reading. Try writing one - even if you're not participating in the season, it's a useful way of reminding yourself of your venue's key aims.
  • And some inspiration for screenings in the heat (if we get any more of it) - more than 400 people signed up to watch a film from the pool in Bristol last week!

Scala Beyond is set to launch in style!

Posted Wednesday 25 July 2012 by Sarah Rutterford in Pop-up and Event Cinema

Pioneering indie film season Scala Beyond will enjoy its much-anticipated launch tomorrow, Thursday 26th July at the Roxy Bar & Screen in London. A six-week nationwide film season dedicated to all forms of cinema exhibition, it will encompass screenings all over the country by a vast array of independent exhibitors from 18th August to 29th September.

Created by season producer Michael Pierce and director Phil Wood, the season - which has generated considerable national interest and press including coverage in the Guardian and BBC Radio 4's The Film Programme -  was preceded by the London-based seasons Scala Forever in 2011 and Ken Russell Forever in March.

A tribute to the celebrated London cinema in Kings Cross renowned for its anarchic rep programming, Scala Forever saw a range of outré, disruptive events take place across the capital; while Ken Russell Forever comprised screenings from the recently-deceased director’s back catalogue. The runaway success of both allowed Phil and Michael to think bigger this year, expanding ‘beyond’ both in terms of escaping the confines of London, and in broadening their programming ethos - moving away from nostalgia to represent the true scope of the UK's contemporary indie exhibition scene.

Inclusivity is key, as is a demonstrable passion for cinema. Exhibitors can show any film they want, with the emphasis on how, rather than what they screen. As Phil says, “We’re not trying to promote any particular type of film or say you should watch this rather than that. What we’re promoting is the act of watching films in a communal atmosphere and engaging the audience.”

And, whilst the season is centrally organised, it allows participating exhibitors near total freedom and is designed to highlight their individuality and locality, as well as encouraging showmanship and a true sense of event cinema. Phil: “At The Scala it wasn't just about the films, everything else that went into screenings was important - the venue, staff, special guests, audience, decoration, location, music, bar (and even cats!) all helped create the experiences that so many people loved and remember. So this year we're encouraging people to think about making their screenings special.” Another important aim is inspiring newcomers to exhibition, getting people to “take the initiative and start their own film clubs, even if it begins by showing films to friends or family within their own homes.”

The excitement surrounding the season – which has over 150 screenings booked in so far – is further evidence of the growth in event and pop-up cinema we’re seeing at the ICO, with more enquiries around the area coming in than ever before. Michael agrees: “Our ‘I Want To Start A Film Club’ event last year was packed and so it’s clear lots of people also want to initiate their own project. This year we are repeating the event, but also adding ‘I Want To Start A Pop-Up Cinema’ as we’ve noticed a lot more outdoor or alternative cinemas start since last year, no doubt encouraged by the great success of Secret Cinema.”

Phil’s highlights: “The Dark Star re-score by Animat at Roxy on Sunday 26th August. They’ve done four re-scores before at Roxy and they’ve always been magical experiences, and should be fantastic with Carpenter’s Dark Star. Additionally, the all-nighters last year were amazing fun and a real experience, so all of those should be great!”

Michael’s highlights: “I have too many highlights in London to list - simply put, I would go to everything if I could! But across the UK there's some great events including Eyes Without a Face in an old anatomy theatre in Edinburgh, Mad Max 2 in an apocalyptic drive-in in Manchester, a girl gangs season in Newcastle, 90s action all-nighter in Brighton and a recreation of a 1930s picture palace in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. And that's only a small selection!”

The full programme will go live this Friday 27th July on the Scala Beyond website, where you can also sign up for email updates. To read more about participating exhibitors, visit Scala Beyond's blog.

The ICO is teaming up with Scala Beyond to co-host their free workshop events, 'I Want To Start A Film Club' on 15 Sept at the Roxy Bar and Screen, and 'I Want To Start A Pop-Up Cinema' on 24 Sept at the Portobello Pop-Up. 
You can also check out our own guide on How to start a cinema.

See you at the launch!

Ideas & tips from Mobile Culture 2

Posted Tuesday 24 July 2012 by Tilly Walnes in Training & Conferences

Last week I went to Mobile Culture 2, organised by CultureLabel and Camerjam. The conference brought together cultural organisations with digital pioneers and other industries to catch up on the latest trends and future thinking of engaging audiences via mobile.
 Mobile Culture 2 header

There was a distinct lack of film people there, but the rise of mobile engagement is a trend which should not be ignored. The speakers told us that by 2015 mobile web browsing is predicted to overtake desktop web browsing; that smartphones are already outselling PCs; that 50% of the population now own a smartphone and that within three years other types of mobile phones won’t be available; that the aggregate time people have spent playing Crazy Birds is 200,000 years; and that people are becoming more and more comfortable with this platform, as evidenced by the fact that 3 Ferraris were bought through mobile internet last year!

A few other interesting nuggets…

The Guardian explained how mobile has redefined how people use their time engaging with them, stretching the day further than 9 to 5 and the week longer than weekdays only.

There were two schools of thought over whether QR codes were on their way in or out, with some speakers advising waiting until they became more mainstream and others strong in their conviction that they are soon to become obsolete, as devices will recognise objects themselves without the need for intermediary codes.

The Museum of London presented their Street Museum app which allows people to see historic paintings and photos of the place they are in. Their advice to organisations looking to match their 350,000 downloads with their own app was to collaborate with someone who really cares; to be authentic and integrate the app with the rest of your communications strategy; and to make it beautiful.

Museum of London app

Easy Art and others warned, however, that apps require a huge investment and can be short lived, so should not be approached lightly. Marketing is key – as a delegate from an app development agency put it, “Our clients often think they’re putting an app out into a bookshop, when really they’re putting it into a warehouse”.

The Science Museum urged organisations to experiment and to learn from the things that don’t work as much as the things that succeed.

The Royal Opera House outlined how they had jettisoned their web content management system in favour of a new site which aggregates data from other platforms on which they have a presence (Twitter, Flickr, YouTube…).

Tips from YouTube themselves included to “eat your own dog food” – ie. everyone in your organisation should try out your product or service before you make it public; to focus on quality content; and to optimise for the long term rather than seeking or expecting instant success. There were murmurs of approval when the speaker asserted that “the best screen is the one you have with you”, that people have learnt to have immersive experiences on whatever platform they have. Is this an opportunity or a threat to cinemas? Discuss.

Looking to increase visits to your site? The “dark art” of SEO meta data trickery is out, keeping your site constantly updated with news, blog posts, tweets is in, since Google changed the way search rankings operate.

TripAdvisor shared the concept of the “Travel Cycle”, an idea that people can be thinking about travel all the time using different platforms: I dream (iPad) > I plan and book (PC) > I’m there (mobile) > I’m back (Facebook). A compelling way of thinking about continuous engagement which could be transferrable for cultural events too.

FourSquare recommended using their platform for breaking down the demographics of visitors; for monitoring superfans who check into your venue the most; and for offering incentives to first-time and returning visitors.

There was a feeling that the cultural sector as a whole need to become more comfortable partnering with commercial organisations, and the line up of speakers at the conference – including Unilever, EventBrite and digital agencies – clearly reflected that sentiment.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey popped in too, with a few things of his own to say. He’s keen to encourage more collaboration in the cultural sector, so organisations don’t reinvent the wheel but seek advice from people who are at a more developed stage than they are. He also stressed the importance of talking to young people about how they’re using mobiles and to slot into that world – don’t get left behind.

News round-up... 09/07/2012

Posted Monday 9 July 2012 by Sarah Rutterford in News Round-up

Margaret by Kenneth Lonergan
An image from Margaret by Kenneth Lonergan

In the news...

  • Find time to complete Creative Skillset's online census if you haven't already. The census data will help inform policy, funding and training provisions for the creative industries, so make sure your organisation is counted.
  • The Audience Agency is now open for business. The result of a pairing between All About Audiences (based in Manchester) and Audiences London Plus, it's the new national audience development agency and will provide practical advice, intelligence and inspiration for any cultural organisation aiming to grow and engage their audience. From September onwards a launch roadshow will tour the country to find out what your most pressing needs are - be they generating more income, engaging your local community or planning for 2013. Email or follow  @AudienceAgents on Twitter to find out more.
  • Creative England has awarded £150,000 of funding to support and promote regional filmmaking activity in the Film Network Fund's latest round... More details and the full list of awards.
  • More from Creative England: they're hosting a workshop in Manchester on Thursday 12 July, Supporting Creative and Digital Businesses - if you're based nearby, join the discussion to get your priorities on the agenda and help shape their services.
  • And, calling all film producers, directors and writer/directors: have you heard about their Elevator skills programme yet? Created to nurture and promote the brightest talent from across the regions, it will give up to 15 short filmmakers support to make the leap to features.

Calls for applications / submissions

  • The Cambridge Film Festival has launched The Screen Team 2012, an excellent opportunity for young people who are interested in careers in film exhibition and want to get a foot in the door. If you're aged 18-25, are based in the East, want work experience in cinema and outdoor screenings and are - crucially - at a loose end this summer, apply soon! The deadline for applications is Friday 13th July.
  • Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival 2012 is running a New Filmmakers Market in collaboration with BAFTA this Sunday 15 July. An all day event, it will bring new filmmakers into contact with established pros, and offers sessions on topics such as 'The Perfect Pitch' and 'What's the international market for low-budget British films?'.
  • Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival in partnership with the University of the West of England & Aardman Animations have launched a new producing course, The Creative Business of Producing Animation. A five-day residential course, it will develop participants' business, entrepreneurial and creative skills in animation production. Deadline for applications: midnight on Sunday 15 July.
  • Northern Film & Media has launched The Digital Bridge, a cross-media development opportunity for creative practitioners in the regions. A series of ideas labs, one-to-one mentoring and master classes, The Digital Bridge aims to develop a network of digital filmmakers. The deadline for the submission of ideas is noon, Monday 23 July
  • The Women in Film & TV Mentoring Scheme 2012/13 is now open for applications. Designed for women with over 5 years' experience in TV, film or digital production or business roles (e.g. writing, directing, producing, vision mixing, cinematography... ) in any genre, the scheme offers selected candidates six hours of mentoring with an experienced industry figure, as well as an intensive programme of seminars, training workshops and networking opportunities. Deadline: midnight Tuesday 31 July.
  • Another one for the youth! First Light & The Script Factory have teamed up to offer two new Screenwriting Labs in Liverpool & Cardiff, again for 18-25 year olds. Deadline for applications: noon on Friday 17th August.
  • Are you an emerging regional producer or director looking to develop a short or feature film project? If yes, check out FilmWorks - managed by Watershed in Bristol & co-produced by ShowroomWorkstation in Sheffield and the Broadway in Nottingham, this scheme will give successful applicants the chance to join their peers in a series of workshops, mentoring sessions, masterclasses and networking events, giving them the insider's view of the international film industry. Deadline for applications: Monday 20 August.
  • More opportunities for producers - The Production Guild has a new list of short courses open for booking. Tailored for film & TV industry practitioners, the topics covered range from Leadership & Advanced Management Techniques to Copyright & Clearances.

And a flurry of opportunities for artist filmmakers...

  • Shape Arts are calling for submissions of new or existing art exploring the theme 'Perceptions of Balance'. All visual art forms including video are welcomed. Submissions must be made by artists who consider themselves disabled. Deadline: 5pm on Sunday 22  July.
  • This unique project calls for a film or series of films responding to a quote by John Ruskin, to be used as part of a study collection at the new Ruskin Studio and Polytechnic in Sheffield. It's a paid commission with a fee of £200, plus a free screening at a location of the artist's choosing. Deadline for proposals: Wednesday 1 August.
  • The first artists' moving image festival in Cardiff, Outcasting: Fourth Wall Festival (O:4W) aims to take artists' moving image to a wider audience through a number of different platforms. Following the first round of submissions, they're placing a final deadline for commissioning new work of 31 July and for screening existing work the deadline is 31 August.
  • Reading Experimental Film Festival 2012 have issued a call for entries. Set up in 2008 to show diverse and innovative work by artist filmmakers, they're looking for short experimental films / videos under 15 minutes dealing loosely with the theme 'Performance'. The deadilne for entries is Friday 7 September.

Good reads

  • IdeasTap ask Michael Winterbottom what he's learned about filmmaking throughout his famously prolific, inspirational career.
  • In Sight & Sound, Michael Brooke discusses the extended-cut DVD release of Kenneth Lonergan's critically adored Margaret, brought about by a vociferous online campaign.
  • And a good listen! Sylvia Syms and Melanie Williams discuss 50s and 60s cinema with a focus on J. Lee Thompson's Woman in a Dressing Gown, our upcoming re-release, on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves (the discussion starts at 0:25:45).


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