Navigating the Wild West: Campaigning with Dial F for Freelancer

Earlier this month I wrote a blog post for the Independent Cinema Office on Dial F for Freelancer’s work and a recent industry event I hosted. Trying to summarise the discussion that was densely packed with specialist detail and impassioned concern for freelancers was a challenge. I hoped to convey the spirit of the event and how high feelings were running amongst attendees, colleagues and speakers alike.

How can we communicate clearly, loudly and persuasively about a situation that is nuanced, niche and ultimately experienced on an unsupported and underrepresented individual basis?

https://www.independentcinemaoffice.org.uk/navigating-the-wild-west-dial-f-for-freelancer-asks-the-industry-what-the-future-holds/

I consider my involvement in Dial F for Freelancer to be campaigning work. It is ongoing, it is voluntary and I consider it vital.

Hebden Bridge Film Festival this weekend

From Friday to Sunday Hebden Bridge Film Festival will be online. I’m delighted to be hosting a panel looking at narrative and care in making documentary films. We had hoped to do this in person last year. The disappointment in cancelling that event at the onset of the pandemic is quelled by looking forward to this weekend and the hope I’ll be there in person in 2022.

‘Because we spoke our secrets to each other’

The Picture House by Clare Shaw

TOGETHER / APART is the theme of this year’s festival. This feeling is beautifully evoked in Clare Shaw’s poem The Picture House read by Maxine Peak below. It conjures the magic of cinema going, the joy of being part of an audience and the irresistible pull of storytelling. I’m really looking forward to the festival’s Virtual Foyers where you can meet other festival goers online. The sessions are on Saturday at 4pm and Sunday at 3pm.

REAL LIFE: The Challenge of Documentary
1:30pm Sunday 21st March 2021

“I’m interested in shy people, telling small stories, quietly… my camera can be a loudhailer”

https://www.jeaniefinlay.com/about

I’m thrilled to be joined by the following speakers for a live discussion about making documentaries. We’re going to talk about how to find narratives and to handle stories and their subjects with respect. The panelists have great skill and sensitivity in common and all understand the responsibility of telling stories with care. We’ll hear more about their work and what matters to them when documentaries are made.

Preparing for BtM Conference

Tomorrow and on Wednesday I’ll be taking part in the Beyond the Multiplex conference. I’ve been preparing for the sessions I’m hosting, rereading the speakers’ papers and becoming acquainted with Padlet, which is new to me. Here’s a preview of the two discussions I am chairing.

Audience choice, programming and digital platforms
14:10, Tuesday 2nd March 2021

  • Paul McEvoy (BFI Research and Statistics Unit) will present ‘Pick and Mix’ – cultural access, screen engagement and film appetites in the UK’s nations and regions
  • Prof. Mattias Frey (University of Kent) will present Film and Series Choice in the Age of Netflix: Results from an Empirical User Study
  • Dr Vejune Zemaityte (Tallinn University), Prof. Deb Verhoeven (University of Alberta) and Dr. Bronwyn Coate (RMIT University) will present Programming foreign films: Analysing cultural diversity in the global exhibition sector

Independent film exhibition support and development
14:40, Wednesday 3rd March 2021

  • Robert Livingston (Regional Screen Scotland) will present Developing diverse audiences in Scotland
  • Yasmin Begum will present Decolonising (D)evolving Film: Notes from Scotland and Wales
  • Monika Rodriguez and Michael Pierce (Cinema Nation) will present Imagining Cinemas as Eco-Systems
  • Rachel Hayward and Andy Willis (HOME, Manchester) will present Celebrating Women in Global Cinema: Curating a year-long programming initiative at HOME, Manchester

At the end of the conference I am joining Prof. Bridgette Wessels to reflect on the Beyond the Multiplex findings and recommendations and reflect on audience response. I intend to follow up here after the busy two days.

The aim of the BtM was to understand how to enable a wider range of audiences to participate in a more diverse film culture that embraces the wealth of films beyond the mainstream; and how to optimise the cultural value of engaging with those less familiar films. It did this by investigating how audiences engage with and form around ‘specialised’ films in four English regions, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West/Greater Manchester and the South West. Here, Audience formation is understood as the processes of engagement with films that generate audience experiences.

https://www.beyondthemultiplex.net

Rachel Pronger’s discovery of Sandra Lahire

The wonderful archive activists Invisible Women bring archive to screen. Their research and writing are beguilingly rich, I’ve learnt so much about missing work in film history from them. Their particularly lovely recent newsletter features Rachel Pronger’s piece in Art Monthly on discovering Sandra Lahire. This essay is fertile in its description of the films during the particular setting of lockdown in March 2020. Rachel draws themes from the collected work with ease and gave me a physical sense of the impact of watching them.

“I felt a hand reach out across the span of dead time, one lone woman to another. A kind of connection in a disconnected moment. Alone, but somehow strangely still together.“

Together, Alone: Watching Sandra Lahire in Lockdown, Rachel Pronger

https://twitter.com/IW_Archives?s=20

https://twitter.com/RachelPronger?s=20

Beyond the Multiplex

I’m working with the project team on the final stages of AHRC funded Beyond the Multiplex: Audiences for Specialised Film in English Regions. This includes a conference on 2nd and 3rd March where I’ll host a closing session exploring the research project’s recommendations in light of the conference discussions.

Find out more about the conference here

The aim of the BtM was to understand how to enable a wider range of audiences to participate in a more diverse film culture that embraces the wealth of films beyond the mainstream; and how to optimise the cultural value of engaging with those less familiar films. It did this by investigating how audiences engage with and form around ‘specialised’ films in four English regions, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West/Greater Manchester and the South West. Here, Audience formation is understood as the processes of engagement with films that generate audience experiences.

https://www.beyondthemultiplex.net

Freelancing in 2020: The State of Play

I’m representing Dial F for Freelancer in a session for This Way Up 2020 with my colleague Jo Taylor and Sonali Joshi for Excluded UK and Christina Lister for Museum Freelance

Some references I hope to include in our discussion are available for follow up here: