I recently attended Cultivate - a three-day course run by Film London at Hackney Picturehouse. The course was focusing on creating an effective strategy within your cinema or society, improving skills in marketing and funding, while also improving film education and literacy within audiences.
We heard from a wide range of industry professionals and my fellow attendees were from an array of backgrounds. Each of the three days were filled to capacity with speakers, panel discussions, case studies and evaluation tutorials. So much so that this post would be considerably longer if I included everything. So here are my highlights over the three days.
Cathy Poole - Curzon Community Cinema - I was really excited by their ideas on engaging the older members of the community. They run from a building with great heritage so surveyed local people creating audio recordings of their memories of cinemas and film in the past. They used these in a special event recreating the experience of going to a cinema in the 1930's, using archive footage of the local area, classic films, live accompaniment and ushers etc. Also using this event to engage schools, making it part of a wider local history project.
We were given lots of advice on creative ways of evaluating our progress, what questions to ask ourselves and what questions to ask the audiences. Also the most effective ways to collect this information from various demographics.
One idea I liked especially was analogue tweets, cards for people to leave a short line of feedback on that can then be uploaded to twitter. A great way to include comments from those who don't use social media.
Robin Baker - Head Curator at the BFI - This was the final talk on the course. The example that Robin used was his work on restoring the seven silent films Hitchcock made in England before finding fame in America. The budget he had far exceeded our own and the scale of his marketing and promotion was spectacular and international. However within those events there were some very simple and effective tips we can use in our own work. For example- at the launch of one of the films in London everyone attending was given an a card mask of Alfred Hitchcock’s face. The photo taken of 2,000 people with Hitchcocks face was great! And this is something we could easily recreate at our events.
Overall I found the course a terrific way to meet and talk to experts and professionals in the industry in a very friendly and inclusive environment. I met some lovely people doing similar work to us from all over the country and learnt so much from their experiences. I am very excited to start using all I have learnt with the Rochester Film Society!
Head of Marketing
Rochester Film Society