Leeds Young Film – INDIs Young Programmers Group

Eleanor Hodson - Youth Engagement and Programmes Co-ordinator, Leeds Young Film

INDIs Young Programmers Group have worked to put on monthly screenings, including during and through the pandemic period.


INDIs Young Programmers Group are a group of 16-30 year old film enthusiasts who work to put on film screenings every month. Pre-pandemic, we put on many successful in-person screenings of many independent and British films that managed to draw in large audiences. Once the pandemic hit, the group continued to work hard to put on online virtual watch-parties of films; these were a great way to keep audiences engaged, as well as entertained throughout the very difficult time.

The project brings young film enthusiasts together, and gives people, both programmers and audiences, a place to discuss and celebrate their favourite indie and cult classics that they may otherwise not get the chance to see on a big screen. INDIs Movie Nights are important to the community because not only do they allow so many young people an accessible and affordable opportunity to get to see films on a big screen, but we also give so many young people who aspire to work in the film industry valuable programming and event planning experience, and therefore a way into the industry that is otherwise often very inaccessible.

Sharing more stories to more people, has become especially important as young people are the makers of the future (and now) and people need to see themselves reflected on screen and to create audiences for the future. The power of self-expression is huge, and through the project our young people find their voices through curation and programming as well as the shared opportunity to watch shared content.

The Project Aims

● Inspire young people to come see alternative films to the hollywood block-busters
playing in cinemas by sharing new content but also re-presenting content that might
not have been marketed to this audience for whatever reason, as well as classic and
archive cinema that would have been missed in the cinema due to age.

● Provide a cinema experience for those who may not be able to afford to make
regular visits to the cinema

● Provide experience for young aspiring film talent in working in programming and

● Give people a rare and affordable chance to see and converse with the creatives
behind some of their favourite shows and series, and in some cases even network
with them, and gain valuable industry knowledge for a very low price

● Give people the platform and space to discuss films, and give them the tools to
critically watch films

Project Highlights

● Our sell out Charity Shop Sue screening, with the crew and lead actress Q&A, which
now has 9.5k views on YouTube

● Our Alien screening, with valuable Q&A about women in horror, and the rise of ‘the
final girl’.

● INDIs Movie Nights: Getting Theroux Corona (Our first virtual screening, the Louis
Theroux Most Hated Family in America Documentary), we encouraged audiences to
tweet us their counter-picket signs

● INDIs Movie Nights: Halloween Triple Bill – we hosted a successful horror movie
trivia quiz with a prize, as well as our first screening being for children, where they
also got to decorate their own halloween masks

● INDIs Movie Nights Go Gaming: Cyberpunk 2077 – This was our first “game nights”
stream which we started during lockdown, where we streamed some different video
gamers to discuss their narratives, visuals, and encourage gamers and film fans alike
to discuss the storytelling of video games, which had a great turnout on Twitch

● INDIs Movie Nights: 13th – during the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, we
screened the Netflix documentary 13th, to encourage audiences in conversation on
the topic as well as help get more material on the topic discussed during the
lockdown period.

What worked well?

● The events with a Q&A or guest do much better. For example, our Charity Shop Sue
screening. Not least because we were/are able to share the content outside of the live
screening event. For e.g. we have now had 9.5k views on the video for Charity Shop Sue

● Encouraging students to come directly through their universities is successful, not only are they excited to come to the screenings, but they are often then interested in joining the
programmers’ group and we have gained a number of programmers that way

● Recognising the group as a ‘project’ in its own right, not just a means to a screening.

What was challenging about the project?

● Coming back to physical screenings since COVID has been challenging, as our usual audience have since forgotten about us, so we are, in a way, starting from scratch

● Also, during COVID, we did struggle to keep the same level of engagements from the
programmers’ group, which is also something we have been working hard on post-lockdown

● Tiny budget available. Ideally, we’d do a lot more training and skills development (as well as marketing and outreach). Skills development is required as the young people we work with often have had very little access to independent, non-mainstream cinema and so need
support around access to watching content and critical watching skills for programming and curation.

What you would you do differently if you did it again?

During Lockdown it would have been good to have done more live Q&As etc. over zoom

Audience Quotes

“I had a lovely experience!”

“Very sweet and fun!”

“Really good idea, loved it”

“Great experience”

“Friendly staff”


“Would come again”