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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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Savoy Theatre, Monmouth
Into Film’s ‘Cinemas That Made Me’: Chris Ryde From Monmouth’s Savoy Theatre
With cinemas closed due to COVID-19, Into Film are celebrating venues and cinema operators across the UK in a new series, Cinemas that Made Me. Here they pay tribute to a Film Hub Wales member, The Savoy Theatre in Monmouth, Wales, and its Director and General Manager Chris Ryde.

The Savoy has a long and fascinating history. It is one of the oldest working theatres in Wales, and is located on the oldest known theatre site in the country. Today it’s a mixed-arts venue, programming films and event cinema alongside live music, comedy and more. Director and General Manager Chris Ryde has been working at the Savoy Theatre in various roles since 2009, and brings a wealth of industry experience with him. Here, he offers some insight into the venue’s significance to South Wales as both a nostalgic link to the past and a much-loved present-day destination that has adapted to many challenges in order to survive. Long may it continue!

What does the Savoy Theatre mean to its local community?

For many, it represents a link to their past and recalls either their movie-going heritage or a link to places they were brought up. It’s a place where films were meant to be seen. It is not a box or a multiplex; it is a purpose-built venue in which films are meant to be enjoyed. Our Art Deco design motif brings back the feel of movie-going in its heyday and gives a holistic experience to customers, as they can read all about the building and put their visit into context. It is a constant joy to see the look on people’s faces as they enter the auditorium from the street and realise they have walked into a piece of history.

Where did your own history with cinema begin? 

I am delighted to say that the cinema that shaped my life is still going. The Ritz in Belper, Derbyshire, which I visited for the first time in 1957, and is still in operation thanks to a husband-and-wife team (the Mundins) who bought it, restored it, and made it operational. I visited them two years ago and it was a magical experience to go back.

What was your first job working with film?

My first job in the film industry was as a trainee producer in the 1970s. I worked with Nic Roeg, Adrian Lyne, and Ridley and Tony Scott. From 1977-2012 I worked for Equity, the union for performers and creative practitioners, which brought me into contact with plenty of filmmakers, and I spent many an hour on film sets.

What initiatives are you most proud of having worked on at the Savoy Theatre?

The most successful by far was re-introducing live entertainment, because it has been a massive success, and is what people most celebrate. Second to that was getting the funds secured for digital exhibition back in 2013. We had no money and there was a real prospect that we would not be able to survive as a first-run cinema, but we got there.

While cinemas are closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown, have you begun any new initiatives to reach audiences at home?

The lockdown has had a big impact on our team, with almost all of our staff furloughed. Sadly this means we do not have the capacity to start any new projects right now, but we are keeping in touch with our audiences through newsletters and social media. We’re running a fundraiser to help the Savoy Theatre through this difficult time, and still welcoming supporters to our Friends of the Savoy scheme.

Once cinemas can reopen which film would be your first choice to see on the big screen?

The film that most exemplifies the spirit of the Savoy: The Smallest Show on Earth with Peter Sellers and Margaret Rutherford, made in 1957. I’d love to play it here.

If you’re a fan of the Savoy Theatre and would like to support them at this difficult time, you can donate to Chris’s fundraiser, Savoy Survival. If you’d like to support other independent cinemas in the UK, consider donating to the UK Cinema Fund. These donations will be added to the BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund and used to offer critical relief and business continuity to exhibitors across the UK.

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BFI Fan Covid-19 Resilience Fund: Emergency funding to help independent exhibitors survive ongoing venue shutdown

BFI FAN Covid-19 Resilience Fund

Emergency Funding To Help Independent Exhibitors Survive Ongoing Venue Shutdown


National Lottery funding through the BFI Film Audience Network supports members of the UK-wide network in critical need and facing closure

 

London, Friday 12 June 2020: The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) has allocated emergency funding to independent exhibitors across the UK through the BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund. £1.3m National Lottery funding, plus a £150,000 contribution from the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund, has been made available to provide grants to those in critical financial need as they continue to face months of closure and uncertainty. BFI FAN – a unique collaboration of eight Film Hubs managed by leading film organisations across the UK – targeted the fund to help small and medium sized audience-facing organisations with a particular focus on venue-based exhibitors.

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

“Redirecting National Lottery and Mayor of London funding to make emergency grants to our independent exhibitors has proved to be a lifeline, enabling our fantastic venues, cinemas and festivals across the UK to remain in business in the immediate term. However, it is clear that these vital and unique organisations, which are crucial to the rich cultural fabric of their local communities, are still in crisis. When allowed to reopen, safely implementing social distancing guidance will not only be logistically impossible for some, but many are also unlikely to cover their costs when operating at reduced capacity. Losing these exhibitors would be a huge cultural loss for UK audiences, so I am pleased FAN has been able to help them keep the lights on while we all face the oncoming challenges.”

The Fund has supported 130 FAN Members across the UK with awards ranging from £415 to £23,000 each. These include MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling, Jam Jar Cinema in Whitley Bay, Magic Lantern in Tywyn, and Bounce Cinema in London, supporting exhibitors who often representing the only cultural offer in their local area. Helping to ensure they can survive is crucial, particularly to provide an offer to audiences to support wellbeing after a prolonged period of lockdown and isolation.

The BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund was administered through each of FAN’s regional and national based Film Hubs, working with the BFI, set up to support exhibitors and festivals which have faced unprecedented challenges, with many at risk of making staff redundant and permanent closure. The Independent Cinema Office (ICO) conducted a survey – Reopening Cinemas the Independent Way – to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the independent exhibition industry. It found only 59% of respondents considered they could reopen with social measures in place, with 63% stating they could survive for only three months. Almost half of the 59% believe they will be able to open in September at the earliest.

The Resilience Fund is part of a package of support the BFI has quickly responded with in order to support individuals, productions, organisations and businesses that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.

The BFI also continues to work closely with industry and Government to develop and implement a robust, sector-wide strategy for recovery. Out of its Screen Sector Task Force, a number of working groups are focused on key areas: inward investment; independent film; distribution and exhibition; and television and broadcasting. The BFI has up-to-date industry advice for the sector at www.bfi.org.uk/supporting-uk-film/covid-19-answering-questions-screen-sectors.

The UK Cinema Association and the Film Distributors’ Association have been developing guidance to support cinemas reopen. In the first instance it is likely only multiplexes and larger chains and will be able to open once Government guidance allows, with smaller independent venues hoping to follow later in the year.

Comments from some BFI FAN Covid-19 Resilience Fund recipients:

 Dan Ellis, Managing Director, Jam Jar Cinema, (FAN Hub North member) said: “Jam Jar Cinema has become a hub for our community, a key attraction for our high street and most importantly something that local people love, and are proud of, in the town. The reality is that without BFI Resilience funding all of the hard work, audience development and local buy-in would be lost as we probably wouldn’t survive this crisis. This support gives us a fighting chance to reopen and we’re using this time to figure out what we need to do differently, as well as identifying the important bits – the ones that make us who we are – to keep the same in the future. But it’s not just enough to survive, it’s about coming back and being there for the people who use us, need us and are yet to discover us. It’s about cinema for all. It’s about local people, finding local solutions to local problems. It’s about being the best we can be. With this support we hope we can work together with our audiences so that our organisation, our community and our town can thrive once again.”

Natalie Jode, Executive Director, Creative Arts East (FAN Hub South East member), said: “BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience investment for Creative Arts East will make a significant difference to our survival, both this year and next. This year it will allow us to balance the books, maintain employment for our staff and continue to support our network of 64 community cinema groups with remote training and digital programming.  Crucially, this investment affords us the time and capacity to move out of a financial firefight for 2020-21 and begin looking to and preparing solutions for the medium and longer-term challenges that we are facing alongside our colleagues in the wider arts and cultural sector.”

Jessica Brewster, Director, The Roses Theatre, (Film Hub South West Member) said: “The BFI Resilience Fund is a game changer for The Roses at an incredibly difficult time. As well as ensuring our survival through the next few months, it will give us the staff capacity to innovate our film programme to better serve our communities while the doors are closed, allowing us to reach new audiences and start new conversations around independent film.”

Rhiannon Wyn Hughes, Festival Director & Cinema Co-ordinator, Wicked Wales Film Festival and Cinema, Rhyl (Film Hub Wales member), said: “Having the support and funding from the BFI and Film Hub Wales means a great deal to our team of young volunteers who run the Wicked Pop Up Cinemas at Rhyl Little Theatre in North Wales. With Film Hub Wales support we started our community cinema 3 years ago bringing affordable cinema back to some of the most deprived communities in Wales. This period of lockdown meant losing contact with the audiences we had worked so hard to build up. This funding will enable our volunteers to continue to have a place to work from and an opportunity to reach out to our existing and new audiences ready for when we open the doors again.”

Nerve Centre/ Foyle Film Festival (Film Hub NI Member) said: “BFI Covid 19 Relief Funding will strengthen our resilience to the impact of COVID-19, by helping us to maintain our connection with our strongest supporters our film audiences and the young people who make the Nerve Centre what it is – a hub for youth culture in Derry-Londonderry. We’re a venue that’s open for business, building new ways of reaching out and welcoming new audiences, online and in venue.”

Beth Bate, Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee (Film Hub Scotland Member) said: “DCA is delighted to be a recipient of the BFI FAN Resilience Fund: this vital funding will support our cinema team during a time of immense pressure and change to ensure we can reopen our doors to our audiences as soon as possible, with a programme that’s as diverse and exciting as ever.”

Paul Carr, The Northern Light Cinema, Wirksworth Derbyshire, (Film Hub Midlands Member) said: “We’re a small rural independent cinema tucked away in Derbyshire and although we have a terrific community around us, it’s still easy to feel pretty isolated as far as the cinema is concerned. Independence comes with a price. So the BFI Resilience Fund did more than just throw us a financial lifeline. It connected us back to the big picture, reminded us we weren’t alone and gave us the breathing space, and the confidence, to plan our way back.”

Watermans (Film Hub London Member) said: “We are delighted to have been selected to receive this funding from the Mayor of London, BFI and Film London. Watermans is a small independent cinema facing huge challenges at this difficult time – along with so many others – and this grant will help us to weather the storm. But it isn’t just about keeping a cinema going during hard times; it’s about supporting a place that is at the heart of its community in Hounslow, a place where people meet, make connections, are inspired by talks, festivals and an eclectic selection of film. It’s a place where we welcome people whatever their background and put increasing access to the inspiring world of cinema at the heart of our programming. At a time when life may be difficult for so many in the coming years, places that bind communities in all their diversity will be more important than ever, and this grant recognises the role that a cinema like Watermans can play in that.”

ENDS

Download the Full Press Release here.

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FHW award £100,000 emergency funding to Welsh cinemas in critical need during Covid-19

Media Release: 15th June 2020

Film Hub Wales award £100,000 of emergency funding to support Welsh cinemas in critical need during Covid-19

Learn how the people behind Welsh cinemas are surviving lockdown

Film Hub Wales (FHW) has awarded National Lottery funding totalling £100,000 to 16 Welsh independent cinemas and film festivals that have been severely impacted by Covid-19. Forced to close their doors at the start of UK lockdown, these venues will potentially be some of the last organisations able to reopen as the pandemic eases.

With months of potential closure and uncertainty ahead as a result of the pandemic, these funds will help cinemas in urgent financial need.

To maintain vital income in the short term and keep in contact with audiences, some venues are developing online activities. In Tywyn, the Magic Lantern will run a bilingual digital memory project to explore the cinema’s role in the community. In Barry, the Memo Arts Centre is planning a visceral multi-media project working with vulnerable groups to identify the complexities of re-engaging audiences during and post Covid-19.

They are also seeking further funding to explore business survival plans for the future. Including ideas for socially distanced events, which will be essential in order to avoid permanent closure. From Cellb’s idea of ‘Mwoo’ outdoor cinema, where audiences would social distance at a cow’s length; to Neuadd Ogwen’s ‘Ein Dalgylch’ platform, which aims to take artists of all disciplines out of the venue to perform in the valleys, forests and mountains.

Cinemas and festivals are being driven during this difficult time by dedicated people working behind the scenes, striving to bring communities back together through film. FHW is working closely with the 16 partners to understand how Covid-19 has impacted them, so that the greatest choice of cinema can be brought back to audiences across Wales.

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager of Film Hub Wales, explains:

“Cinemas do so much for us; they’re there when we want to escape, they bring us together and connect us to the world. We’ve been amazed by the capacity of cinema staff to care for their audiences, from delivering local supplies, to meeting their financial commitments. We wanted to take the opportunity to share their stories.

“As a result of lockdown, income from ticket sales and concessions stopped overnight, putting many independent organisations and their teams at immediate risk. There’s a long journey ahead and cinemas will need ongoing support. We hope that the BFI FAN resilience fund can start the journey to reopening.”

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

“Redirecting National Lottery and Mayor of London funding to make emergency grants to our independent exhibitors has proved to be a lifeline, enabling our fantastic venues, cinemas and festivals across the UK to remain in business in the immediate term. However, it is clear that these vital and unique organisations, which are crucial to the rich cultural fabric of their local communities, are still in crisis. When allowed to reopen, safely implementing social distancing guidance will not only be logistically impossible for some, but many are also unlikely to cover their costs when operating at reduced capacity. Losing these exhibitors would be a huge cultural loss for UK audiences, so I am pleased FAN has been able to help them keep the lights on while we all face the oncoming challenges.”

Rhys Roberts, Cinema Coordinator at CellB, adds:

“Past events at Blaenau Ffestiniog’s CellB cinema have at times rivalled the drama usually seen on our cinema screen. We’ve seen our community and Hollywood stars lining up to support a bright future for this most precious of our shared community assets.

“Recently, we’ve faced the surreal threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, and thanks to Film Hub Wales and BFI FAN support, we see this plucky independent cinema fighting back once more, stepping into a new and different world driven by our young creatives, who we call ‘The Quaran-teens’. We are ready for the next chapter in our drama.”

Lauren Orme, Director of Cardiff Animation Festival adds:

“Covid-19 has had a massive impact on Cardiff Animation Festival, as it has on so many arts organisations. Having to make the decision to postpone our festival just three weeks from our scheduled dates could have meant the end for us as an organisation.

“Film Hub Wales have been massively supportive throughout this time. This new relief funding is a lifeline that will enable us to support freelancers and contractors, to develop new and exciting work to serve the community that has built around our activity over the past five and a half years, and to help our audiences feel connected through independent animation while we’re all apart.”

The resilience fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding, repurposed by the British Film Institute (BFI) via its Film Audience Network (FAN). The fund offers critical relief and business continuity to exhibitors across the whole of the UK.

Funds in Wales are administered by FHW via Chapter as the Film Hub Lead Organisation. They will be used towards irrecoverable costs, to deliver creative online activities during closure, and staff time to plan towards safe reopening.

Ends

Download the Full Press Release.

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Montage
Meet the people behind Welsh cinemas during lockdown

Film Hub Wales (FHW) has awarded National Lottery funding totalling £100,000 to 16 Welsh independent cinemas and film festivals that have been severely impacted by Covid-19. Forced to close their doors at the start of UK lockdown, these venues will potentially be some of the last organisations able to reopen as the pandemic eases.

Read the full press release here.

Meet the dedicated people working behind the scenes of local cinemas and festivals, who are striving to bring communities back together through film:

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Cheltenham International Film Festival Virtual Screening Partnership and discounted tickets offer

Cheltenham International Film Festival invites you to partner with us to promote our online programme of new films to your audiences a discounted rate. In return, we will pay you a commission of 10% on ticket sales resulting from referrals from your website.

When the government introduced lockdown measures in March, CIFF took the decision to upload the entire festival onto a streaming platform. The programme underwent some changes, but they are happy to announce that the festival will open on 8th June with Lost Transmissions starring Simon Pegg, and close on the 14th with White Riot. Simon, who is our Honorary Patron, will take part in a live streamed Q&A after the screening of Lost Transmissions, while White Riot director Rubika Shah will close the Festival with a Q&A on the 14th June.

CIFF recognise that cinemas throughout the country are struggling without audiences during lockdown, and in a small way, they may be able to support you by inviting you to promote their festival to your audiences as a ‘Virtual Screening Partner’. They are offing you the opportunity to offer tickets to your audience at a discounted rate, and in return they will pay you a commission of 10% on all tickets purchased through your referrals. As a Virtual Screening Partner, they will provide you with a unique coupon code for your audience to enter at checkout, giving them a 20% discount. You will only need to share a link to the Festival programme page and their back office analytics will track all ticket purchases sold through your referrals.

The programme includes over 30 feature films and documentaries, which have been selected to screen at prestigious films festivals around the world, plus shorts. Almost all the films have not yet been released in the UK and will be unavailable on any other streaming platform during the festival. They have lined up several Q&As after screenings to try to retain some of the spirit of a live festival.

Tickets go on sale to the public on Monday 1st June

To become a Cheltenham International Film Festival Virtual Screening Partner please contact: patrick.bliss@gmail.com

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COVID-19: an update from the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force

BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts sets out how the task force is working to secure screen sector recovery.

There is a huge amount of work being done across the sector in response to the COVID-19 crisis and it’s been brilliant to see the way everyone has come together. I just wanted to express my own thanks for the support I have had and also to give you an update on the progress of the Screen Sector Task Force and our work with Government as we turn attention to the recovery phase. The Task Force is convened by the BFI and brings together organisations from across the full breadth of the UK”s screen industries, to develop a co-ordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis and shape how to get the sector back up and running quickly and safely.

The Task Force has been split into five sub groups (inward investmentindependent film productionTV production and broadcastingdistribution and exhibition and video games) where immediate priority has been given to the following three cross-cutting issues – health and safety codes of practiceinsurance; and the knock on impact on the cost of production. The drafting and evidence gathering work on each of these strands is being led by a specialist group and then shared with the other Task Force groups and beyond. We are working to ensure that recommendations from the Task Force to Government are well evidenced and scalable to meet the needs of different parts of the screen eco-system, and also work together to ensure that no part of the sector or its workforce is left behind and that all specificities are considered.

1. Codes of Practice

With a focus on health and safety, the sub groups have been developing codes of best practice that are endorsed by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to ensure that film and TV productions of all sizes and cinemas can get back up and running as quickly and as safely as possible.

The inward investment group led by the British Film Commission (BFC) has drafted a set of codes of practice for film and high-end television drama production. These have been out to consultation and shared with Government and the hope is to have them completed and rolled out for productions by the end of May and provide detailed and comprehensive guidance for returning to work and resuming production as safely as possible. They have been developed to meet the needs of both studio and independent production, although productions will still need to make sure they satisfy any requirements put in place by insurers, financiers or completion bonders. The codes of practice are designed to act as a resource for productions based in each nation of the UK as lockdown is eased in each of them respectively. They will also read across to the guidelines developed for television produced and published by the broadcasters and Pact today and which you can read here.

The UKCA and FDA have led a working group for Distribution and Exhibition to develop plans for the reopening of cinemas. The Government’s recovery strategy states that cinemas in England will potentially be able to open on 4 July at the earliest and the Task Force is working with the DCMS to ensure this change to lockdown rules is introduced at the best possible time for all venues. At the same time it is gathering evidence to propose what additional support might be needed specifically for the exhibition sector.

2. Insurance

Cover for COVID-19 is an issue for both film and TV productions and could be a barrier to the Government’s return to work plans. A specialist insurance sub-group is looking at potential solutions to this problem (led by Pact as part of the TV and broadcasting group). The Task Force is working hard to ensure that the scale of the problem is evidenced for Government and that the sector is represented on any wider insurance conversations across Whitehall. Insurance is also an issue to be considered with regard to Distribution and Exhibition.

3. Cost of Production

The working groups are calculating how much it could cost to implement codes of practice for returning to work in their respective areas. Different budget production levels are being costed out and in the case of exhibition, the anticipated reduced audience capacity as well as unknown levels of audience anxiety are being factored in. This will allow us to understand the financial viability of a return to work for productions and exhibitors of all sizes and will inform Task Force discussions with Government regarding support for this process.

The BFI are updating information regularly on our website about working in the industry during COVID-19, support packages and further sources of information can be found here.

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Cardiff Animation Festival brings new animation events online during lockdown.

Lockdown might have put a stop to Cardiff Animation Festival’s physical 2020 edition, but it hasn’t stopped the Cardiff Animation Festival team. Since restrictions on gathering were introduced, Cardiff Animation Festival have sprung into action, taking events to online platforms like YouTube Live, Slack and Zoom to keep audiences and animators connected during social distancing. Now Cardiff Animation Festival have four new online events to bring animation fans from around the world together – an online masterclass with Cartoon Saloon Animation Director Lorraine Lordan, an online workshop with Welsh animator Kyle Legall, and curated online screenings of some of the best independent animation from around the world for families and adult audiences.

Cardiff Animation Nights, the CAF team’s free bi-monthly independent animation screenings, takes to YouTube Live for a second time on Thursday 30th of April at 8:15pm, with 12 brilliant new animated short films. The team took Cardiff Animation Nights online for the first time earlier this month, reaching nearly three times their usual audience numbers – over 500 people from around the world tuned in to watch independent animated short films together apart.

On Saturday morning, young animation fans can swap the usual cartoons for an hour of family-friendly independent animation. Cardiff Animation Kids will stream live on Saturday 2nd of May at 10:30am, including the world premiere of stop-motion animated short film Sum of its Parts directed by Alisa Stern.

On Saturday 2nd of May at 4pm, Animation Director Lorraine Lordan joins Cardiff Animation Festival live online from Ireland for a masterclass sharing insight from her varied and international career in animation, presented in collaboration with ScreenSkills. For much of her career Lorraine has worked at renowned Irish studio Cartoon Saloon, including as Animation Supervisor on the Annie-nominated TV Series Puffin Rock, Sequence Animation Supervisor on Oscar-nominated The Breadwinner and Assistant Director on the new Puffin Rock feature film; her work in animation has taken her around the world, to studios in the Czech Republic, Germany, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Cambodia and the UK. Lorraine talks life in lockdown, how she’s been able to balance making a short film with lead roles on features, and shares what she’s learned along her impressive career journey.

Aspiring animators and those looking to brush up on their skills can join an online character design workshop with Welsh animator and multi-disciplinary artist Kyle Legall on Tuesday 5th of May at 6pm, presented in collaboration with Cinema Golau. Kyle began his career making animated films about black history and his community in Butetown, Cardiff, writing, directing, designing and animating short films for Channel 4 and S4C. Having since worked extensively across numerous different art forms, including spoken word, live music, performance art, graffiti and clothing design, Kyle is now bringing his eclectic skills back to animation. Emerging and aspiring animators can draw along with Kyle as he shares tips on evoking emotion through character design.

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 their mailing list for more updates and announcements as they are released.

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Cineworld: Event Working and Social Media Scheduling by Emily

As well as continuing to learn all about the programming at Cineworld, and even creating the schedule for a film myself, I was also given the opportunity to encounter other aspects of the exhibition sector. Something I was especially looking forward to discovering more about was social media scheduling/marketing as this is an area I could picture myself working in in the future.Screenshot 2020-03-26 at 11.28.51.png

After meeting the member of staff who runs the social media, I was briefed about his role each week which involves scheduling the Facebook posts for the following week and putting up posters throughout the building. As this doesn’t tend to take him more than a day to complete, and similarly to the staff working on programming, he also works on front of house on the other days serving customers at the tills and checking tickets before customers enter the screening room.

I never quite realised how much thought had to go into the planning process of the social media. Because of the Facebook algorithm, for example, they aim to only post 3 statuses at peak times (between 10:00am and 2:00pm) throughout the week to ensure as many people as possible are seeing the posts.

If any events are coming up or a new film release, he tries to make sure these feature on their social media. And sometimes head office make specific requests about what should be promoted that week. Together we undertook the careful research task to discover which film poster was the most appropriate to use, being an official poster instead of a fan-made one, for example. Precision and an eye for detail were required when ensuring that we attached the correct link to take customers straight onto Cardiff Cineworld when booking tickets.

The layout of the post tends to include: the film/event title, a brief synopsis of the film/event, the link to book tickets and the film/event poster. 

Learning about the attention to detail and thought that has to go into each and every Facebook post as well as how to use Facebook as a marketing tool was interesting. Although I did get to help with this role and learnt a new side of marketing, I believe I already had some pre-existing knowledge on the subject.

What I really developed from this experience on social media was my professionalism in terms of language skills when marketing online to customers and attempting to entice them into booking tickets and why Cineworld should be the place they choose to go to.

Once the social media posts had all been scheduled, myself and the social media programmer went for a walk around the building to see what posters needed to be taken down and if any new ones had arrived to be put up. He explained how Cineworld’s policy was to take down the posters as soon as the film has been released so a new poster promoting an upcoming film could go in that space. The staff are then allowed to take posters that are no longer in use. I even got to take a Little Women (Gerwig, 2019) poster home for my flat..

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Cinema & KO! My Final Placement by Sam

The last month of my placement at Cinema & Co. was unfortunately cut short due to the current climate (hope everyone’s keeping safe!) but the good news is that, following on from my previous blog (which you can read here) myself and the team managed to launch Cinema & KO. to great success. In this final blog, I’ll be discussing how Johan and I made final preparations for the event, the successes and failures of the event itself, and also reflecting on my time as a whole.

The first day back after uploading the last blog consisted of improving on skills I’d gained previously. To begin, I helped once again edit an updated trailer reel, removing old events and trailers that had already been, and replacing them with new ones. This editing proved to be a lot quicker than the last (a sign of my skills improving I’m sure) and I still felt as though I’d managed to further improve my editing skills even more. This would prove incredibly useful for university assessments like video essays, but also for personal projects like making short films and more. After this, Johan and I moved onto making sure everything was in place for the main event: Cinema & KO.

The event itself was to be split into two main parts. Both taking place on a Saturday, the first half would be open to everyone. We planned on having Nintendo Switches set up in the main cinema room, and a backup in the entrance area for when the main tournaments weren’t on. This event would run until 5, at which point we’d close up, and begin swapping out the switches for an Xbox one, for our main tournament event (that was for over 18’s only, since the game Mortal Kombat 11 was rated 18). This tournament would run until 9pm, with the bar being open for the entire event.

In order to make sure we were fully prepared; we did several things. First of all, I made contact with Game once again, ensuring we had consoles and games ready for both halves of the event. Having this contact before starting the event proved crucial, as without Game, the first half would more than likely have not existed, as Game provided both the switches and games we used for the mini tournaments (The Xbox and copy of Mortal Kombat 11 belonged to the cinema).

The second half of the preparation revolved around creating a tournament bracket for the second and main half of the event, as professionalism was key. Though our main goal was to ensure everyone had fun and enjoyed themselves, it was also crucial to ensure the tournament itself was fair and done professionally, as this would ensure satisfaction from everyone, and (hopefully) ensure they would return to the next event, and bring more people too.

We experimented with a few different ideas, from creating the bracket in different formats such as Microsoft excel, to using an automatic generator. Though I developed my technical skills here, by beginning to create a working bracket on my laptop, eventually we opted for an online one that would generate the brackets randomly and uniquely. This was to ensure the bracket itself looked professional and that there would be no problems in functionality, that could cause delays in the event.

After this, we decided to review the overall plan, before agreeing to meet next on the Saturday of the event. This would be the accumulation of all our hard work over the past few weeks, and so we were both excited and nervous to see how the event would proceed.

The Saturday of the event arrived, and would also mark the end of my time on placement at Cinema & Co. The first half of the event, where we opened it up for everyone to play Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. proved to be very successful. Though not our target audience (and not our main event) it was certainly exciting to see how popular it was, with many families and some adults coming in to have a look and get involved. I developed a few skills during this first half, mainly to do with communication and management. As a sort of co-host, I was helping to ensure everything was running smoothly. This meant juggling tasks such as monitoring one of the two Nintendo Switches we had at the time and answering any questions in regard to how to play the games, how long we were running it for, and if the event would be held again.

After this, I felt a lot more confident in my management ability, and though I’ve always felt my communication skills are fairly good, I still thought that hosting the first half had improved them even more.

After swapping out the consoles and getting the tournament bracket ready, it was almost time to re-open for our second and main event. Unfortunately, this event proved to be less popular than the opening one, which we thought could be down to many factors.

The event was planned to take place on the first Saturday of every month, so obviously we had to kick this off on a Saturday. The bad news was that this particular Saturday was a perfect storm of problems (or at least, problems that we thought would’ve had some significant effect on the turnout).

First of all, the weather in the night became extremely bad, potentially putting people off travelling the distance for a few hours of gaming. Secondly, this was towards the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK, so understandably we thought that many would be hesitant to come hang out in a potentially busy public cinema. Finally, the timing (being more towards the night-time) and fact that the game being played was rated 18 meant that we were cutting out a major crowd, as anyone who was in town passing time would already be gone, and anyone under the age of 18 would be unable to attend.

Despite all this, the event was not completely unsuccessful. We had a turnout of around 15 people, who seemed to really enjoy their time and expressed interest in returning to the next one. This allowed us also to run the tournament smoothly, without having to substitute any plans due to low numbers. Once again, I felt as though my managing skills were improving, as I was a lot more confident in the plans and layout this time around. As previously stated, though my communication skills were already fairly good, this once again did help, as I was letting people know about future plans for the event and more.

After the event concluded, Johan and I decided to brainstorm quickly on how we could increase its popularity, and also took onboard some feedback from those we attended. What we concluded was that for the next event, we’d create some sort of poll in which attendees could vote for what games and specific activities they want to see, therefore ensuring that they would definitely be interested. Obviously, as was the case with this particular event, sometimes other factors such as weather and illness can have serious effects, but we decided that if we tried our best to control all other factors, then things should run even more smoothly for the next time.

As I said earlier, this unfortunately turned out to be the last time I would be working at Cinema & Co. due to current circumstances. As of right now, there has yet to be a follow up event (due to not enough time passing too) so I can’t comment on if the next event proved to be more popular. However, I have no doubt that it will continue to improve, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Overall, my time at Cinema & Co. has been a rewarding experience, and I feel as though I’ve certainly learnt new things and improved on skills I’d picked up previously. Seeing how an independent cinema is run and maintained was very intriguing, and how they decide on what to show and when was especially interesting. However, the most rewarding element was improving my editing and managing skills.

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MUBI launches fundraising campaign to support cinemas in the UK through BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund

Curated streaming service and theatrical distributor MUBI has created a UK Cinema Fund to help support the exhibition sector across the UK impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

A united front: London’s Genesis Cinema joins MUBI and other cinemas in raising awareness of the new UK Cinema Fund.

The fund has been started with a £10,000 donation from MUBI, and the campaign aims to raise £100,000. The total raised will be donated to the BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund, which was set up this month by the BFI and its UK-wide BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) to offer critical relief and business continuity to exhibitors across the UK.

Donations will be used to support independent cinemas, film festivals and other organisations whose mission to bring fantastic cinema to audiences across the UK is now impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these small and medium sized businesses are now facing permanent closure. These organisations will range in scale and type but they all share a passion for the best and broadest in UK and world cinema.

To raise awareness of the initiative and drive further support, MUBI has collaborated with cinemas across London to hire their marquees to display a defiant message of solidarity. Cinema partners include the Phoenix Cinema, which was built in 1910, the family-run Genesis Cinema, which has been central to the arts community since the mid-nineteenth century, the Grade II listed Rio Cinema and Catford Mews, which only opened seven months ago and quickly established itself as a key community cinema.

Efe Cakarel, Founder and CEO of MUBI said:

Cinemas and their staff are our partners, friends and colleagues. We have been working closely with UK festivals and cinemas for years and have been deeply saddened seeing the impact of the closures. We want to support them in any way we can during this incredibly difficult time, because we can’t imagine a world without them. We hope this fund gives them some of the support they need to reopen as soon as it’s possible.

Ian Wild, CEO of Showroom Workstation said:

In these unprecedented circumstances it is heartening to see MUBI support the independent exhibition sector with this initiative. We hope that the fund reaches its target to help us provide more vital support through the BFI FAN Resilience Fund.

The fundraising campaign runs until Monday 25 May 2020 and the webpage for the fund is now open to donations from anyone that wants to contribute here: gofundme.com/dearvirus

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