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UK’s five biggest festivals of African film team up to present online showcase

The UK’s five biggest festivals of African film – Africa in Motion in Edinburgh/Glasgow, Afrika Eye in Bristol, the Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF), Film Africa in London, and Watch-Africa Cymru (Wales) – are teaming up online for the first time this October to present “We Are Tano”, showcasing ten of the best examples of African cinema from the past decade.

The season, which draws its title from the Swahili word ‘tano’, meaning five, will run online from 1st October to 20th October, as part of Black History Month, giving UK-wide audiences pay-what-you-want access to a choice of 10 stand-out African films.

The initiative is being co-ordinated by Sheila Ruiz, Director of London’s Film Africa and Deputy Director at the Royal African Society, who says:

COVID-19 has presented major challenges to many film festivals this year. But, as with all crises, the current pandemic has also presented an opportunity to do things differently.

All five festivals in the TANO network felt it important to carry on giving UK audiences access to the broad range of films coming out of Africa. Hence the decision to contribute to Black History Month with a jointly curated online showcase, drawing on some of the most popular titles shown by TANO festivals since 2010.

Christine Patterson, the festival producer for Watch-Africa film festival, added:

The purpose of this season is to continue our mission to highlight the vibrancy and rich diversity of African film-making and story-telling.We are passionate about expanding people’s understanding and appreciation of African film and cultures across the UK, and we aim to reach as wide an audience as possible, especially audiences that have not been able to attend our festivals in person.

Among the films chosen for the showcase are:

  1. ‘Un homme qui cri’ (Chad/France, 2010) by Cannes Jury Prize winner Mahomet Saleh Haroun; Alain Gomis’s
  2. ‘Tey/ Aujourd’hui,’ (France/Senegal), voted best international film at Berlin in 2012;
  3. ‘As I open my eyes’ (Tunisia, 2015) , directed by Venice prize-winner Leyla Bouzid, and the mischievously comic docu-drama
  4. ‘Film festival film’ (Namibia, South Africa, 2019).

Full details of the “We Are Tano” selections and streaming calendar will be available shortly from www.wearetano.org.  In return for a pay-what-you-can-afford donation, attendees will have up to 48 hours to view their choices, alone or with family/friends.

Meanwhile, further information about the Tano network and its previous collaborations can be accessed now via https://www.africa-in-motion.org.uk/we-are-tano/.

Other celebrations of African cinema taking place this autumn/winter by TANO network members include:
Africa in Motion (Scotland): www.africa-in-motion.org.uk | 30 October – 29 November 2020 and
Film Africa (London): www.filmafrica.org | 30 October – 8 November 2020

For news about the other TANO network festivals, please visit:

WE ARE TANO is supported by the BFI Audience Fund.

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Kotatsu Festival 10th Anniversary Celebration

Kotatsu Festival 10th Anniversary Celebration

Held virtually on October 24th & 25th in Partnership with The Japan Foundation London.

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival started in 2010 in Cardiff, and has been held every year as a showcase for Japanese animation and culture. Celebrating its 10th anniversary however comes in the midst of a global pandemic and so the decision was taken to hold the festival fully online. One of the goals since the festival’s inception has been to act as a gateway into the diverse world of Japanese animation. To achieve this, they showcase emerging talent and important but overshadowed animators who work in a wide variety of styles, from 2D to stop-motion. The 2020 festival will be the biggest celebration of this talent yet. 

On October 24th and 25th, viewers will be able to participate in the full line-up of screenings and events, all of which will be free to access via their YouTube channel and through various Zoom sessions. In total, they will be screening 40 films, including 30 works from students studying at 5 different Japanese universities, and 10 works from 5 award-winning animators, including Oscar nominated Koji Yamamura. Furthermore, these works will be introduced by the creators themselves as the festival aims to continue in its mission to connect animators with audiences. 

A very exciting series of Zoom workshops will also be hosted by veteran animators who are bringing their very latest works to the festival. The workshops will cover a range of fun activities such as one dedicated to the art of creating the Kotatsu Festival mascot design by Chie Arai, while world famous Fusako Yusaki talks about her career in claymation animation with a Q&A Session. There is also a talk with animator/director Miho Yata and musician Takeshi Yoda. 

People will be able to participate in the full line-up of the screenings and events, all of which will be free, via our YouTube channel and through Zoom sessions. 

This will also be the first time that Kotatsu collaborates with F-Rated, an organisation dedicated to supporting women in film by working with cinemas and film festivals to give moviegoers a way to identify films and events that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera. We have secured an F-Rating for our ongoing campaign to show the works of female film makers and also for this event where more than half of the films were directed by women. 

Here is the full line-up of events: 

Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 10th Anniversary Timetable 

(All times are UK/GMT – Japan +7 hours ahead) 

24th October 

11:00 YouTube Screening – Films by Koji Yamamura, Shin Hosokawa, Miho Yata, Chie Arai, Makiko Sukikara 

13:00 Zoom Event – Miho Yata / Takeshi Yoda – Director & Musician Q&A 

18:00 YouTube Screening – Student Work (Part 1) 

25th October 

12:00 Zoom Event – Chie Arai Animation Workshop 

14:00 Zoom Event – Fusako Yusaki Director Q&A and Clay Animation Workshop 

16:00 YouTube Screening – Student Work (Part 2) 

18:00 YouTube Screening – Films by Koji Yamamura, Shin Hosokawa, Miho Yata, Chie Arai, Makiko Sukikara 

We will reveal the full line-up of the titles and events on the festival’s website soon.

The Animators and Musician 

Yamamura Koji (山村 浩二

After graduating from Tokyo Zokei University in 1987, he founded Yamamura Animation, Inc. in 1993 and has worked steadily, refining his style while making films for children. His most famous work is the short “Mount Head” (2002) which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short. Other titles include “Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor” (2007) and “Muybridge’s Strings” (2011). His films have been awarded more than 90 prizes including the grand prizes of major international animation festivals such as Annecy, Ottawa and Hiroshima. He has also received the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government in 2019. He is member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a professor of Tokyo University of the Arts. 

Yusaki Fusako (湯崎 夫沙子

Yusaki is an award-winning claymation pioneer who emerged in the 1960s after moving to Milan and establishing her own independent studio, Studio Yusaki. Her works consist of commercials, films, and children’s television programmes which were made for public broadcasters such as RAI and NHK. Yusaki’s famous works include claymation advertisements for the liqueur Fernet-Branca, and “Peo the Blue Dog”, a popular TV character in Switzerland. Yusaki will lead a claymation workshop and do a Q&A with Kotatsu. 

Yata Miho (やた みほ

Born 1974, Yata studied Children’s Literature and Children’s Culture at university. While studying, she was inspired by “Wallace and Gromit” and started to have an interest on stop motion animation. In 1999 she started knit-animation and creating picture books. Since then, she has become famous for “Wool Fairies Knit and Wool”(NHK・NEP)and the picture books “Sakasa mo Sakasa” (Demadosha Co.,Ltd.) “What is This Yan?”(CHILD HONSHA Co.,Ltd.). She is currently a member of the Japan Animation Association and she is teaching at Shirayuri University Department of Children’s Culture. 

Hosokawa Shin (細川 晋

A graduate of Tama Art University’s Master’s Program Design Course, he now works as a writer, director, animator and is an assistant professor at Tokyo Polytechnic University. His latest work, “Dino!”, a stop motion animation, has been programmed by Kotatsu. Arai Chie (荒井 知恵

A graduate from the Department of Fine Arts, Northern Arizona University, after working at an animation studio, Arai has been a freelancer since 2002. Her techniques include hand-drawn animation and illustration and she creates books and animation videos including “Dreams” (2008), which has been programmed by Kotatsu. Since 2006, she has been orchestrating “Flip Book Manga Cafe Exhibition”, a collective of writers and artists who love to make wonderfully varied flip books. Their exhibitions have been held in many places. As well as creating her own art, she guides others and works as an associate professor at Bunka Gakuen University Department of Art and Design. 

Sukikara Makiko (鋤柄真希子

Born in 1982, Sukikara studied at the Film School Zlin in the Czech Republic. Since 2010, she has been animating and has created works by multiplane camera, many of which have been screened at international festivals. She creates stories with animals as the main characters with titles like “While the Crow Weeps” (2013) and “Deep Sea’s Rainbow” (2019). The latter has been programmed for Kotatsu’s forthcoming stream. 

Yoda Takeshi (ヨダタケシ

Yoda is a composer who plays an electronic instrument known as a theremin, a device that makes sound without the musician touching it. He is active across genres and creates music for video works as well as for live events. He will be in a Q&A with Miho Yata during a Kotatsu Zoom session. 

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival relies on sponsors and donors to help us deliver screenings. If you would like to show your support, you can do so with a voluntary contribution at the festival’s Patreon page. Alternatively you can support the festival without paying extra money by signing up to Easyfundrasing and choosing to support Kotatsu. When you shop via Easyfundrasing website, a percentage of your purchase will be automatically donated to the festival. If you are shy, you can choose a setting that allows you to be an anonymous supporter. 

Download the press release here

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IMS Open Now
It’s My Shout: New Voices from Wales – Documentary CALL OUT

It’s My Shout and BBC Cymru Wales are on the lookout for 4 unique and unheard stories from across the country that relate to the rich and diverse culture in Wales. They want New Voices from Wales. Could it be yours?

The 4 successful candidates will be mentored and have their stories produced into 1 of our 4 documentaries, that will be broadcast on BBC Cymru Wales and iPlayer.

Age and experience isn’t a barrier and they are keen to hear voices that are often not heard in the mainstream media. It’s Your Voice. Your Story. Your Way!

If you have an interesting story and would like to apply for this opportunity, visit: www.itsmyshout.co.uk/docs

Current Deadline : Friday 2nd October (Extension may be considered)

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Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 goes global!

Cardiff Animation Festival has been bringing events to global audiences online since March this year, when they were forced to postpone their April festival due to Covid-19. Now they’re taking their festival programme online, bringing some of the best new animation from Wales and around the world to audiences in Cardiff and beyond throughout the rest of 2020. 

Lauren Orme, Festival Director of Cardiff Animation Festival, says:

we were so disappointed to have to postpone the festival back in March, but running online events has really re-energised us, and made it possible to bring our audiences together and keep people entertained while everyone’s been more isolated. We’re so excited to finally be able to bring our Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 events to adults, families, animators, and animation fans online for the rest of this year.

Cardiff Animation Festival will be bringing their full shorts programmes online from Saturday 24th October to Sunday 1st November. 118 world-class animated short films in competition will screen across seven themed programmes for adult audiences and two for children. The selection features unique voices and a diverse range of stories told by animated filmmakers from different backgrounds around the world, all eligible for the Cardiff Animation Festival Awards, which will be presented online on Sunday 1st November. The festival will showcase some of the best new Welsh animated shorts in their Welsh Work programme, a collaboration with Chapter Moviemaker. 

Welsh animator Simon Chong will join the festival live from LA on Saturday 24th October, where he now lives and works as a Director on Fox’s Bob’s Burgers after his fan-made Bob’s Burgers and Archer crossover animation got him noticed by show creator Loren Bouchard and landed him a job on one of the most-loved animated series on television around the world. Simon will give insight into his unconventional career path, and join Creative Mornings Cardiff’s Melin Edomwonyi for a live Q+A on what it’s really like to work on your favourite show.

The festival will invite audiences into the magical Moominvalley, with Episode Director Avgousta Zoureldi giving audiences of all ages a chance to learn more about the making of Gutsy Animations’ beautiful TV adaptation of writer-illustrator Tove Jansson’s classic stories about the Moomins. Viewers will be able to step into the Heart of Darkness, the world’s first sand-animated feature film, currently being made in Cardiff, with Director Gerald Conn taking audiences behind the scenes of the upcoming film adapted from Joseph Conrad’s classic novel. 

Industry panels will include Storytelling for Animation, chaired by award-winning animation writer and director Evgenia Golubeva, with a panel of creatives across animation discussing what makes a great animated story. The festival will nurture and platform neurodiverse animation talent, with a workshop programme for new and aspiring neurodiverse animators run in collaboration with Biggerhouse Film, inviting audiences to see brand new work and take part in a discussion on neurodiversity in animation on Friday 30th October. Animators will have a chance to gain professional feedback on their work-in-progress at a special online edition of Animation Grill, reignited by Gareth Cavanagh for Cardiff Animation Festival 2020 online. 

Opening the online shorts programmes will be a festival edition of Cardiff Animation Nights, the festival team’s free monthly independent animation screenings, on Friday 23rd October. Usually held in Cardiff’s Kongs bar, the festival has taken Cardiff Animation Nights online since April, with a total of over 1000 viewers from Cardiff and around the world tuning in to watch independent animated short films together apart and share their viewing experience through live chat and clapping hand emojis.

The festival team have been running events online since April 2020, made possible by funding from the Arts Council of Wales’s National Lottery Fund, Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) and the National Lottery and FilmFeelsConnected, a UK-wide cinema season, supported by the National Lottery and BFI FAN. 

The Cardiff Animation Festival Climate Assembly in April supported by Clwstwr brought industry delegates from around the world together to ask ‘how can we make the animation industry greener?’ The festival partnered up with ScreenSkills for an industry masterclass In conversation with Lorraine Lordan giving insight into a career in animation direction, and an Inclusion in Animation panel discussion on how we can work towards a fairer and more diverse animation industry. Workshops facilitating creativity over the internet have included a Welsh-language introduction to modelmaking and animation with animator Laura Tofarides, and drawing workshops with Welsh artist Kyle Legall in partnership with Cinema Golau. Monthly online Cardiff Animation Nights have brought independent animated short films to existing and new audiences, bringing over 300 new subscribers to the Cardiff Animation YouTube channel, while new Cardiff Animation Kids screenings on Saturday mornings have introduced children to independent animation. 

Cardiff Animation Festival is funded by Arts Council Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), BFI NETWORK Wales, and Ymddiried through the Owen Edwards Scholarship Fund, and sponsored by Cloth Cat Animation, Picl Animation, Creative Europe Desk UK – Wales, the University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Jammy Custard Animation, the British Animation Awards, S4C and by the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund with contributions from UK animation productions.

To keep up to date, follow Cardiff Animation Festival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to our mailing list for more updates and announcements as they are released.

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35 International Shorts Celebrating the Diversity Of LGBT+ Lives Across the World Compete For Prestigious £30,000 Iris Prize 2020

Thirty five international filmmakers are set to compete for £30,000 prize money as the organisers of Cardiff’s International LGBT+ Short Film Prize, Supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation have today announced the shortlisted films in competition for the world’s largest international LGBT+ short film prize. The Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival runs 6th to 11th October. 

Iris Prize has 25 international partner festivals who nominate films each year for the Iris Prize shortlist, with the rest being chosen by a pre-selection jury from a record number of films entered through open submissions.

UK audiences can join in the experience for the first time in the festival’s history, by watching all the nominated shorts for free online, ensuring it reaches a wider audience than ever.

Directors from India, China, Brazil and Macedonia compete with counterparts from the UK and around the world, offering dramatically diverse representations within the global LGBT+ community.   Filmmakers share personal family expectations and the intimacy of relationships alongside the transformative impacts of meeting the right person at the right time. They stand alongside sobering stories of cultural, political or even family restraints that mean fighting for the freedom to be true to self, overcoming fear, hostility and alienation.  We encounter characters who are tentatively exploring their sexuality for the first time or breaking free of their past to embrace unique identities and genders.  Plus, at a time when we need it most, there are reminders that there is plenty to be joyful about, and reason to laugh out loud.

The one uniting factor in all 35 films is an exhilarating celebration of lives of LGBT+ people across the world.

This year’s shortlisted films in alphabetical order are:

1-1 (Sweden, 2020)   –  directed by Naures Sager
ALL GOOD THINGS  (Australia, 2019)  –  directed by Simon Croker
BABY  (USA, 2019)  –  directed by Jessie Levandov
BATHROOM TROLL (USA, 2018)  –  directed by Aaron Immediato
BLACK LIPS (Australia, 2018)  –  directed by Adrian Chiarella
BLACKN3SS (Brazil , 2018)  –  directed by  Diego Paulino
BOYS (BANIM) (Israel, 2020) –  directed by Lior Soroka
BREAK IN (USA, 2020) –  directed by Alyssa Lerner
CICADA (Czech Republic , 2020)  – Piaoyu Xie
DIRTY (USA, 2020)  –   Matthew Puccini
DOWN DOG (USA, 2020)  – directed by Shae Xu
DRIFTING (China, USA, 2019)  –  directed by Hanxiong Bo
HIS NAME (HANN)  (Iceland, 2018) –  directed by  Runar Thor
OCTOBER (USA, 2019) –  directed by  Mae Mann
ON MY WAY (Belgium, 2020) –  directed by Sonam Larcin
ORVILLE + BOB (USA, 2019) –  directed by Alan Griswold
PEACH (Australia, 2020) –  Rowan Devereux & Sophie Saville
PRETTY GIRL (CAILÍN ÁLAINN) (Ireland, 2019) –  directed by Megan K Fox)
QUEENS (UK, 2020) –  directed by  Nick Bechman
SAVING CHINTU (India, 2020) –  directed by Tushar Tyagi
SELMA AFTER THE RAIN (Brazil, 2019)  –  directed by Loli Menezes
SHEAR AVORY: TO BE CONTINUED  (USA, 2020)  –  directed by Abram Cerda
SHHH! (HYSJ!) (Norway, 2019)  directed by Nini Kjeldner
SHORT CALF MUSCLE (Netherlands, 2019)  –  directed by Victoria Warmerdam
SNAKE (Macedonia, 2020)  –  directed by Andrey Volkashin
THE CYPHER  (USA, 2020)  –  directed by Letia Solomon
THE PASSING (UK,  2020) –  directed by Nichola Wong
THE SHAWL  (USA, 2020) –  directed by Sara Kiener
THE WAY WE ARE (Canada, 2020)  –  directed by Amanda Ann-Min Wong
THRIVE (UK, 2019) –  directed by Jamie Di Spirito
UNTITLED SEQUENCE OF GAPS (Germany, 2020) – directed by  Vika Kirchenbauer
VICTORIA (Spain, 2020 –  directed by Daniel Toledo Saura)
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE RING (Taiwan, 2020) –  directed by Yichi Chen
WHEN IN ROME (PAESE CHE VAI) (Italy, 2020)  –  directed by Luca Padrini
WINGS (UK, 2020)  –  Jamie Weston

Acknowledging the challenges that this year’s event have presented, Andrew Pierce, Iris Prize chair says:

Back in April we watched everything around us change as life here in the UK and the rest of the world became a frightening journey into the unknown. Almost everything that we knew for certain was taken away from us. During the height of the pandemic the entertainment sector became a lifeline, sharing stories to entertain millions during the lockdown. It also became a victim as the need to protect people from Covid-19 meant we had to stop filming.

  He continues,

The Iris Prize could quite easily have become a victim to this unprecedented pandemic. Luckily our dear friend Lord Glendonbrook was determined to offer some hope to the LGBT+ film sector and early on committed the Michael Bishop Foundation to present the 2020 Iris Prize whatever happened. Together with the support of our sponsors and funders team Iris have been working on our most ambitious festival ever, but more about this later.

This is why I’m delighted to share with you the Class of 2020. The 35 short films in competition are the best of the best. They represent excellence in storytelling, taking us the viewer to places that only film can. Pointing a bright spotlight on the lives of lgbt+ people making sure that we are seen in all our colourful diversity.

With Iris making its programme available online, Andrew Pierce says, “2020 is the year we take the Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival online, making it available to everybody in the UK and from 6 – 11 October all screenings will be free. These 35 short films are what I believe to be the perfect way to engage a new audience and keep our traditional audience happy.”

The trailer of the 35 films competing for the 2020 Iris Prize is available here: youtu.be/tmRHc6DtLBg

The organisers have also confirmed the names of the 15 short films competing for the Iris Prize Best British short award, supported by Film4 and Pinewood Studios Group.

The festival opens on Tuesday 6th October and close on Sunday 11th October, with all screenings, talks and events available online for free. There will also be a pay-per-view catch-up service which will run until the end of October.

The main festival sponsors are: The Michael Bishop Foundation, Welsh Government, the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film 4, University of South Wales, Co-op Respect, Bad Wolf, Gorilla Group, Peccadillo Pictures, Pinewood Studios, Attitude Magazine, Diva Magazine and The Ministry of Sound.

The festival also works in partnership with BAFTA Cymru, Pride Cymru and Stonewall Cymru.

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Opening Up the Archives to Young Filmmakers symposium – September 11th

There are two weeks left to register for Opening Up the Archives to Young Filmmakers, a free one-day online symposium on September 11th: www.archivesforeducation.com/symposium

The symposium explores the creative and learning opportunities archive material can offer to young filmmakers, including the launch of the new Make Film History project, funded by AHRC and the Irish Research Council, which makes available archive films from the BFI, BBC Archive, the IFI Irish Film Archive and Northern Ireland Screen for creative reuse by young filmmakers. 

The day will include case studies of working with archive material in education and the community, a session on copyright and creative reuse, and a masterclass with Rubika Shah, director of the acclaimed archive-driven documentary White Riot, which documents the Rock against Racism movement in the 1970s.

Registration is free through Eventbrite and you can follow the project on Twitter.

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Cinema First Invites Everyone to Fall in Love with the Big Screen All Over Again
Cinema First Invites Everyone to Fall in Love with the Big Screen All Over Again

London – August 20, 2020: Cinema First, the industry body charged with the promotion of UK cinemagoing, has today launched #LoveCinema, a nationwide campaign designed to capture the attention of audiences across the country and remind them of the unique experience that only the big screen can offer. 

After months of being closed due to lockdown, cinemas are back, rolling out the red carpet for audiences to experience the sheer joy of escaping for a couple of hours, leaving their everyday lives behind and enjoying a film in all its technicolour glory, asserting that now more than ever, stories need to be seen on the big screen. 

The #LoveCinema campaign celebrates the nation’s love of cinema, a central part of our community and the most accessible and popular form of ticketed cultural entertainment in the UK. 

At the heart of the campaign is a cinematic montage created by Empire Design which celebrates the wonder of cinema, stories that have captured our imaginations, shaped memories, moved us to tears, made us laugh, and opened our eyes to alternative worlds. 

The montage featuring over 50 films pays tribute to some of the most memorable moments from cinema history including the ground-breaking cultural treasure The Wizard of Oz, winner of 11 Oscars Ben Hur, number one on the IMDb poll of greatest films ever made The Shawshank Redemption, the timeless musical classic My Fair Lady and the iconic underdog crowd-pleaser Rocky

It also teases the most anticipated films hitting screens this year, including Christopher Nolan’s espionage thriller Tenet, Daniel Craig in his final outing as James Bond in No Time to Die, Gal Gadot reprising her iconic superhero role in Wonder Woman 1984, Marvel’s Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson and Denis Villeneuve’s hotly awaited adaptation of the evolutionary sci-fi epic Dune starring Timothée Chalamet. 

The music to the montage, ‘This Little Light of Mine’, was chosen for its beauty and the metaphorical connection between light and the cinema projector. Originally penned by Harry Dixon Loes in the 1920’s as a children’s gospel song, there have been many famous versions created. The campaign features three versions; by the Rend Collective, Dionne Warwick and one created specifically for this film. 

The trailer will play out on film distributors’ and cinema operators’ own websites and social channels, as well as being supported by a ‘paid for’ multimedia campaign. 

The campaign follows on from the industry-wide safer cinema initiative, with cinemas following a comprehensive set of government guidelines, produced by the UK Cinema Association in consultation with a range of government agencies and industry partners, to ensure that cinemagoers feel as comfortable and safe as possible. 

In a regular audience survey undertaken on behalf of the industry by MetrixLab, cinemagoing has been repeatedly highlighted as the third most missed out-of-home activity during the lockdown, with audiences favouring the unique big-screen spectacle and wonderfully immersive experience that only cinema can offer. 

A wide slate of films is on offer for film fans of all ages, including new releases, all-time classics, franchise favourites, independent gems, animations and event cinema, plus a broad range of genres such as comedy, documentary, musical, horror, romance and sci-fi from the UK and beyond. 

Iain Jacob, Cinema First Chair explained: 

The #LoveCinema campaign has been launched to encourage audiences to return to the cinema to fall in love all over again with the unparalleled experience that only the big screen can deliver. The global pandemic has had a colossal impact on the film industry, presenting cinemas across the UK with unprecedented challenges. As an industry that employs over 20,000 dedicated people, of which 40% of are under the age of 30, they need our support. Cinemas are ready to welcome audiences back, and we are calling on the great British film-loving public to escape back to the cinema and enjoy a safer big screen experience.

Watch the trailer for #LoveCinema here

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FILM FUND 2
BFI FAN announces new Film Exhibition Fund to bring UK audiences back to communal film experiences

BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund

BFI FAN announces new Film Exhibition Fund to bring UK audiences back to communal film experiences

 

The BFI has announced the BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund is now open, with National Lottery funding available to exhibitors across the UK. The new Fund will support activity to re-engage audiences with collective, big screen film experiences at film festivals, mixed arts venues, and both community and traditional cinemas. As part of a comprehensive package of support for film exhibitors – including the Government’s £30m Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England launched last week – the Film Exhibition Fund will support dynamic cultural programming and activities to engage diverse audiences.

Ben Luxford, BFI’s Head of UK Audiences, said:

“We know the best place to watch film is on the big screen, but the UK’s many indie venues and smaller exhibitors also serve as vital cultural spaces where audiences can connect with their local community, make new and surprising discoveries and be inspired by this most accessible art form in a communal setting. With the generous support of Government and National Lottery, our wealth of film exhibitors are in a position to restart activity, and this funding is there to support them – to continue being brave with their programming choices and to best serve audiences wherever they live in the UK.”

How to apply for the BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund

BFI FAN is a unique collaboration of eight Film Hubs managed by leading film organisations across the UK, who will each distribute the funding in their region or nation. 

This BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund will enable FAN Members to deliver a broad range of programming once they restart, ensuring excellent British and international independent cinema is available to audiences all over the UK. Other priorities of the Fund are incentivising exhibitors to embed inclusion and environmental sustainability into their approach to reopening, post shut down.

Key dates:
Applications open: Mon 17 August 2020
Applications close: Wed 30 Sept 2020
Activity window: Mid Oct 20 – March 21

Activity can vary in length, scale and format. Members can apply for up to £10,000 (note that there are slight regional variations on this) and support can cover programming, marketing and associated costs. 

All proposals must also be able to set out how they will address the BFI Diversity Standards and sign up to the BFI Anti-Bullying and Harassment Principles, as well as demonstrate how they will operate safely during Covid-19, reference can be made to the UKCA’s Cinemas – keeping workers and customers safe during Covid-19 Guidelines.    

Due to the limited resources available, and FAN’s commitment to environmental sustainability, drive-ins will not be supported through this fund. Online activity will only be a priority when accompanied by ‘in venue’ work.

Vital support for UK exhibitors impacted by COVID-19

The BFI FAN Film Exhibition is part of a package of support from the UK Government and the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, to enable many independent cinemas to survive the shutdown which hit arts and cultural venues badly and with immediate impact. 

The BFI FAN Resilience Fund opened in April offering £1.3m in emergency funding to exhibitors in critical need as they continued to face months of closure and uncertainty, awarding 130 FAN Members grants ranging from £415 to £23,000 each. The Government’s £30m Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England is now open, providing funding to cover COVID-related health and safety costs, and grants to support independent cinemas operate under the restricted conditions and at limited capacity due to social distancing measures. The UK Government has also provided funding to support cinemas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which will be managed by the devolved Government administrations. Funding available to Film Hub Scotland members includes funding from Screen Scotland.

As part of the industry-wide BFI Screen Sector Task Force, the UK Cinema Association led on publishing guidance on the safe operation of cinemas and mobile cinemas. Working safely during COVID-19 in cinemas, which is regularly updated to meet the latest government guidance, is produced in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

BFI’s support and recovery strategy for the screen industries

The BFI put in place a package of support for individuals, organisations and businesses across the sector that have been most impacted by COVID-19 (including the BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund, Production Continuation Fund, Sales Company Organisational Fund and COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund with The Film & TV Charity for freelancers) and through the BFI Screen Sector Task Force, it continues to work with industry and Government to develop and implement a robust, sector-wide strategy for recovery.

A number of significant initiatives have resulted from the work of the Screen Sector Task Force, including the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England; a Government funded scheme to support independent film and television production struggling to get coronavirus-related insurance; creating guidance for film and television production to restart and cinemas to reopen, both given the green-light by Government and Public Health England; and the quarantine exemption for film and high-end television cast and crew.

Download the full press release here.

 

Film Hub Members can apply for the Film Exhibition Fund here.

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Three Films Festival

Watch The Three Films Festival online Friday 31st July – 2nd August

In this period of challenge and uncertainty for the creative industries, film Festivals in Wales have responded by coming together to promote the importance of Festivals in our communities and provide a new national and international platform to celebrate young talent in Wales. This initiative has been led by the Wicked Wales International Youth Film Festival in Rhyl and supported by Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), made possible by the National Lottery.

First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford MS/AS says:

“At a challenging time for the arts, it is inspiring to see Welsh film festivals coming together to give young film makers this opportunity to share their creativity.

“The creative industries sector is one of the fastest growing in Wales and we are very proud our country is recognised as a centre for film and TV production. Innovative events like this will help to nurture the incredible pool of future talent we have, even in the most difficult circumstances.

“I would like to wish the Three Film Festival the very best of luck and congratulate Wicked Wales and everyone who has brought this to life.”  

Festivals from all corners of Wales have joined together in a new Wales Youth Festival Network WYFN. The WYFN Network is being launched with a new national ‘Three Films Festival’. The Festival will screen up to three films from each of the many established film festivals in Wales and has also welcomed films from S4C, Hijinx and Into Film. The films screened have all been made by or for young audiences aged approximately 15-25. 

The Festival this year will be online and will take place between Friday 31st July and Sunday 2nd August. The programme will include film screenings and an industry programme supported by Film Feels Connected on aspects of filmmaking.

Lorraine Mahoney, WYFN Coordinator says:

“Three Films Festival demonstrates the commitment by film festivals across Wales to want to help support and develop the next generation of cinema goers and filmmakers with this inspiring online showcase of films and events. It is a coming together and a celebration of the work begun by WYFN and its film festival partners, who are all working together to screen a wider range of films to young audiences in Wales.”

Rhiannon Hughes, Director of Wicked Wales Festival adds: 

“Wicked Wales Festival has benefited enormously from belonging to an international youth film festival network ‘Youth Cinema Network’ (YCN) in terms of sharing ideas and best practice, collaborating on projects and raising funds together. It was this experience which we wanted to introduce to Wales to strengthen support for Festivals in Wales. We are grateful for the support of Film Hub Wales who have worked with us for a number of years to develop the new network.”

Mark Williams, Iris Prize Outreach and Education Manager:

“We’re delighted to be sharing some of the films we have made with young people. We’ve been inspired by the creative talent we have here in Wales, as our next generation of filmmakers begin their journey. We hope people enjoy watching these films as much as we’ve enjoyed making them.”


The full festival programme is available on the www.wickedwales.com website and WYFN Facebook page.

Follow twitter @wales_youth for regular updates and subscribe to the YouTube festival channel to watch the free online film festival. And visit their facebook Wales Youth Festival Network or Wicked Cinema

Read/download the full Press Release here

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Film Feels – Connecting film fans with online cinema
UK-wide film programme, Film Feels Connected, brings a whole new dimension to lockdown for film fans

Streaming services added 4.6 million subscribers in the first eight weeks of UK lockdown. As we’ve acclimatised to COVID-19 restrictions, a major season of film from the BFI Film Audience Network has been giving film fans a whole new world of film to explore.

Bringing together more than 50 programmes from UK cinemas, festivals and film societies, the season offers UK film fans new ways to connect with unique, bespoke and diverse film screenings and special events, beyond the tried and tested streaming platforms.

Upcoming highlights include:

  • Africa in Motion: Looking Back, Reaching Forward, August 2020. Screenings of classic and contemporary African films, plus discussion to explore and critique, representations of Blackness on-screen.
  • Doc‘n Roll Film Festival: We Out Here Festival x Doc‘n Roll, 19-22 August. This partnership between Doc n Roll and Gilles Peterson’s We Out here Festival will present Music docs + Q&As exploring Black excellence and anti-racism in British music history
  • Kino Klassika: Klassiki – Cinema on the Hop, May-August 2020. An online weekly curated selection of Soviet, Russian, Caucasian and East European cinema from early silent cinema, to masterpieces of animation, from post-war classics to contemporary Cannes winners. Coming up in August is Tashkent Film Encounters: a season of rare gems from Central Asia.
  • Matchbox Cineclub: Tales from Winnipeg 28-31 August. Matchbox present a limited season in collaboration with the Winnipeg Film Group, including rare and exclusive work from John Paizs, Guy Maddin, Kevin Nikkel & Dave Barber. The season and all additional content will feature brand-new SDH/captions for D/deaf audiences.
  • Pilot Light TV Fest: Season 5, the Digital Special, 15-16 August. Presenting 23 brand new TV Pilots and web series for audiences to obsess over, as well as meeting the talent behind them with a selection of Q&A’s and video introductions.
  • Slapstick Festival: Laughter Out of Lockdown, April-August 2020. All your classic comedy needs from silent short films to Comedy quizzes and Q&As featuring comedy legends Robin Ince, Lucy Porter and Rob Brydon

Film Feels is a National Lottery funded project designed to bring new, off-the-beaten track, films to those who have spent lockdown completing Netflix, searching every corner of Amazon Prime for something a bit different or have had all the Disney+ they can handle.

This summer, Film Feels Connected invites audiences to join in with over fifty online film events; ranging from watch-alongs to live conversations with directors, filmmakers and critics, to film festivals, workshops and at-home creative activities.

We’re spending almost three hours a day watching TV and films during lockdown2,” said Annabel Grundy, Film Feels Connected project lead, “so Film Feels Connected adds a whole new dimension to the kinds of things readily available. From Russian cinema to Japanese animation, award-winning short films, queer cinema and much needed comedic relief, we’re working with organisations and cinemas all over the UK who are selecting films they love, to share with audiences online.

Although cinemas were given the green light to open in England on 4 July, many smaller independent cinemas in the UK, unable to open at reduced capacity, are making plans to reopen later in Summer and the early Autumn.

Greg Walker, Festival Director at Pilot Light, one of the Film Feels Connected participating organisations, says:

COVID-19 has thrown many organisations a curveball with their physical festival delivery, so we’re very excited for the opportunity to connect with new and existing audiences online with our eclectic selection of TV Pilots and Web Series. We hope this format keeps our loyal audiences coming back and, also reaches new people around the country hungry to discover fresh, diverse & talented voices working in and breaking through Indie TV.”

The team behind Film Feels Connected hope that while the cinemas are dark over the summer, curious film fans will visit the Film Feels website and take a risk on some true cinematic gems. All chosen by respected cinema programmers, film festivals and cinephiles who want to share their passion for cinema.

Independent venues and festivals really care about their audiences, and so many organisations have quickly pivoted to an online programme, to connect with people and try new ways of working even in the face of challenge and uncertainty. From community film club watch-alongs to experimental programmes of new work from arts collectives, the opportunity for audiences to discover and share new films and experiences is alive and well,” says Annabel, “plus, the chance to get closer to the directors and writers behind the films with online discussions and interviews, is greater than ever before; particularly for those who are isolated or unable to access physical venues at this time. Film still has the power to connect us all.

Visit filmfeels.co.uk to find out about the all the films and events you can join in with over the summer.

Download the full press release here

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Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival to celebrate their 10th anniversary online

On July 25, at 11am/6pm, a special edition of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival will be held in honour of its 10th anniversary on YouTube. The festival will present a free online screening of shorts from an all-female line-up of directors ranging from university students to the current crop of animators working today and an animation industry legend who we are celebrating with a centrepiece presentation featuring an interview we have recorded with her.

The Animators

Fusako Yusaki (湯崎夫沙子)

Fusako Yusaki (湯崎夫沙子)

Yusaki is an award-winning claymation pioneer who emerged in the 1960s after moving to Milan and establishing her own independent studio, Studio Yusaki. Her works consist of commercials, films, and children’s television programmes which were made for public broadcasters such as RAI and NHK. Yusaki’s famous works include clay animation advertisements for the liqueur Fernet-Branca, and popular TV character Peo the blue dog. We have programmed four of her works and have an interview with her where she talks about her career.

Miho Yata (やたみほ)

The King of Amechau Country

Tokyo-based Miho Yata is a graduate of Shirayuri Women’s University, and is currently a part-time lecturer there. Since 1999, he has produced many animations and content, producing for TV commercials, teaching materials, picture books and illustrations, as well as holding workshops on animation, and visual toys. Her works are based on the art of knitting and her most famous work is Knit & Wool, which airs on NHK E-TV for kids early in the morning. We have programmed Amechu to show what she can do.

Arisa Wakami (若見ありさ)
The story of Toto-chan in Mom’s belly, followed by little Takuta being born.

Birth-the dance of life.

Arisa Wakami is a professor at Tokyo Zokei University and a lecturer at Joshibi University of Art and Design. More importantly, she is an animator and works with both hand-drawn and stop motion animation who has utilised a range of “materials” from people to sand on glass boards. Her works cover films, TV programmes and workshops and they feature poetic imagery and have been screened at famous festivals around the world. We have programmed, three films including “Blessing,” which is a stop motion animation of a baby and its birthday presents.

Mone Kurita (栗田 百嶺)

A day when became a Asparagus man

Kurita represents the next generation of animation talent. A recent graduate of Tokyo Polytechnic University, she combines colourful hand-drawn images with computer manipulation. Her work, A day when became a Asparagus man, has been selected for the Tokyo Anime Award Festival. We have selected her film Brassiere Cat as the title we will screen.

We will also have a selection of graduate works from some of the students at the Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts (film titles will be confirmed shortly).

This screening is free to watch. This has been made possible with supported from Film Feels Connected and is supported by Film Hub Wales as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), made possible by the National Lottery.

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival relies on sponsors and donors to help us deliver screenings. If you would like to show your support, you can do so with a voluntary contribution at the festival’s Patreon page. Alternatively you can support the festival without paying extra money by signing up to Easyfundrasing and choosing to support Kotatsu. When you shop via Easyfundrasing website, a percentage of your purchase will be automatically donated to the festival. If you are shy, you can choose a setting that allows you to be an anonymous supporter.

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COVID-19 Screen Sector Taskforce announced

There is a huge amount of work being done across the sector in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The Screen Sector Taskforce, coordinated by the BFI, is a group of the UK’s leading film, TV and moving image bodies and organisations working together to identify challenges and develop policy recommendations for Government  in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  

Originally brought together in response to the Brexit referendum, the Taskforce membership has grown from 30 to more than 100 senior representatives from film, TV, animation, VFX and video games. It currently operates through five sub-groups focusing on different aspects of the screen sector value chain, which are chaired by leading bodies in this area – distribution and exhibition (chaired by UKCA and FDA) inward investment (British Film Commission), independent film production (BFI), TV production and broadcasting (Pact), and video games (Ukie).  Each working group will develop policy interventions designed to get the sector back up and running as quickly as possible, with these presented to Government as a single package of measures designed to help right across the sector.

Quantifying the cost of re-opening cinemas in line with social distancing and the impact on consumer demand have been priority workstreams for the distribution and exhibition sub-group. This will inform asks to Government designed to mitigate this cost and keep the exhibition sector sustainable in the aftermath of lockdown. This work complements that by the UKCA to develop guidance and safety protocols for cinemas on how to reopen in line with social distancing, which is with UK and devolved governments for consideration.

Here is a list of those involved in the Distribution and Exhibition subgroup:

  • Andy Leyshon – Film Distributors’ Association (co-chair)
  • Phil Clapp – UK Cinema Association (co-chair)
  • Hamish Moseley – Altitude Films
  • Shaun Jones – Cineworld Cinemas
  • Sambrooke Scott – Creative Scotland
  • Justin Ribbons – Empire Cinemas
  • Kezia Williams – EOne Entertainment
  • Crispin Lilly – Everyman Cinemas
  • Pauline Burt – Ffilm Cymru
  • Catharine Des Forges – Independent Cinema Office
  • Matt Smith – Lionsgate UK
  • Kevin Markwick – The Picture House, Uckfield
  • Joan Parsons – Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast
  • Ian George – Sony Pictures
  • Rob Huber – Universal Pictures
  • Craig Jones – Walt Disney
  • Mark Cosgrove – Watershed, Bristol
  • Ben Luxford – BFI
  • Stuart Brown – BFI
  • Julia Lamaison – BFI
  • Tricia Tuttle/ Anu Giri – BFI
  • Jennifer Kimber – BFI
  • Jack Powell – BFI
  • Elizabeth Mitchell – DCMS
  • James Butler – DCMS
  • Olivia Coxhead – DCMS

If you have a COVID-19 related enquiry, please contact covid-19.queries@bfi.org.uk which acts as a centralised point for all COVID-19 enquiries, and from where BFI can also signpost you to the most relevant advice if necessary.

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