In 2019, This Way Up took to Nottingham for the event’s sixth edition, which kicked off with opening sessions reflecting the key themes of the overall conference: Celebration, Resilience and The Future.

The conference featured more talks around inclusion than ever before, and we at Inclusive Cinema captured four of our favourite talks so those who couldn’t make the event could still get the benefit of case studies and insights shared.

The talks below are provided by the following speakers:

Rabab Ghazoul, the Founder & Director of Welsh cultural organisation platform Gentle/Radical, shared her vision of what the future of working with audiences could be. What does ‘outreach’ look like now, and what could it become?

Karena Johnson, Artistic Director and CEO, Hoxton Hall, shared her experience of re-launching Hoxton Hall, a Victorian music hall, and tackling the sometimes uncomfortable issue of diversity. She led a workshop session where delegates were invited to explore their own approach. She spoke about shifting organisational culture, bringing a team with you on a journey and how to manage expectations.

Rico Johnson-Sinclair, Director and Programmer of CineQ Birmingham discussed campaigning for queer, trans, and intersex people of colour’s stories on screen and how he reaches audiences.

Nikki Stratton, Co-Founder & Director, Deaffest looked at the best ways to market to D/deaf audiences. Catherine Downes (Co-Founder, usheru) discussed their work aiming to reach those that start the ticket-buying process but don’t complete the all-important checkout process. With tips and tricks to maximise the potential of your marketing output.

Outreach: Decoloniality & Revolution - Rabab Ghazoul

Diversifying the cultural landscape - Karena Johnson

Marketing: Reaching your target audience - Rico Johnson-Sinclair

The best way to market to Deaf audiences - Nikki Stratton

Learn how to plan and run an online workshop

An online workshop, as well as lectures and courses, is a great way for trained professionals to share their knowledge. At the same time, the audience has the opportunity to deepen their studies on some specific topic.

Opening Our Doors was a day of workshops and talks developed by Film Hub Wales, aimed at highlighting inclusivity and equality in film exhibition. The event was aimed at exhibitors seeking to capacity build within their own cinemas. It was a tailor-made day of workshops, case studies and discussions by experts and FAN members for FAN members aimed to boost exhibitor confidence in being more inclusive.

Working closely with Film Hub Scotland, and forming part of their Amplify programme, an Opening our Doors day was delivered in January 2019 to support members of the network in understanding and engaging with diverse communities including low-income, BAME, and disabled groups. The event also referenced programming, and marketing for diverse audiences.

The BFI diversity standards task exhibitors with supporting better inclusion in cinema, such as inclusion for those with additional needs and for those who might feel culturally excluded.

Many of us know about the barriers that are in front of us when we talk about building diverse audiences. We don’t really get the time to consider and talk about our options, our fears, talk to our peers and come up with solutions to improve what we offer.

Diversity and Inclusion: an overview - Myriam Mouflih

Race and unconcious bias in film - Umulkhayr Mohamed

How to welcome lower income communities into your cinema - Helen Wright

Jo attended Opening our Doors: Inclusive Cinema in Glasgow 2019 to run a workshop on marketing diverse titles for audiences.

“One of things I enjoy most about working on grassroots and outreach marketing on film projects is the sheer diversity of campaigns you can be involved with as well as the creative freedom you can exercise on the below the line activity associated with these projects.

“As cinemas, community cinemas or festivals its imperative you treat grassroots/outreach marketing as an integral part of your audience development programme – you’ll need to nurture and cultivate these relationships over time.

“Look at your programme at a whole and find the common links between films  – look at I, Daniel Blake and Nae Pasaran! for instance, there is definitely a crossover in terms of the politics or looking at young empowered female led films like Patti Cake$ and Skate Kitchen. Be as strategic as you can with your programming.

“Organisations and individuals you engage with will become your ambassadors and champions so its important you keep the conversations with them going even during your quieter periods or between events.

“Also as local organisations you’re a unique position to understand the sensitivities and culture of your community, this is a massive advantage – think of all the knowledge you have and how it can be best used!”

Top 10 Tips

  1. Start with a SWOT – identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your upcoming film programme and events.
  1. Positioning – think about how are you positioning your films and events, does it ‘speak’ to your audience?
  1. Identify your audience – customers are only loyal to brands up to a certain point, don’t make the assumption they will come to your venue, engage, engage, engage!
  1. Assets – distributors spend budget on creating sharable assets for social, make sure to keep in touch with them to get up to date content to keep your messaging to audiences fresh!
  1. Data – depending on your CRM/Box Office system can you analyse your audiences by what they watch? If so, do you have permission to contact them (GDPR!) or do you have specific mailing lists e.g.; opera/ballet or kids season.
  1. Outreach – film releases can be so singular but try to identify common themes in your programme line up well ahead of time, e.g. youth audiences, political audiences and build a relationship with these audiences – how do they ‘consume’ their news?
  1. Partnerships – look at recent release of Nae Pasaran!, this film had a ton of support from local union branches, which created audiences (and demand!) for the film ahead of its release.
  1. Research – find out who your audience are with exit polls, not only is it an opportunity to get some key demographics on them but also to find out how they interact with your brand plus get them signed up to your mailing lists. (TIP: Have chocolates on hand for gentle coercion!)
  1. Eventise – not everyone likes Q&A panels, Patti Cake$ had battle raps and spoken word sessions on its opening night.
  1. Think outside the box – creativity sparks ideas, could you run a ‘strategy hack’ with all staff and your youth reps? Could the distributor provide financial support for some one off activity – Tyneside Cinema had a fire-eater for the release of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

FDA Yearbook 2018

The 2018 edition contains 128 pages of data and generic comment on the past year’s cinemagoing in the UK and Ireland, some of it specially commissioned and not published elsewhere. The book offers insights into how film distributors drove consumption by bringing a wide range of 874 releases to UK cinema audiences. There’s also an … More