TAPE Community Production Facility

Working with diverse communities in North Wales to widen participation and understanding of the creative arts.
Steve Swindon

Project overview

TAPE is a community arts charity which specialises in presenting inclusive opportunities for people of all ages. Along with a timetable of weekly projects and clubs, TAPE works through film production and screening to support people from across the community to engage, socialise, learn, train and find employment and opportunities.

For over 10 years TAPE has supported people to explore their creative ideas and interests. Increasingly, film projects have been a core part of our activity; screening and making. The making of a feature film takes time and many people; a community of people collaborating and supporting one another with a passion for their shared goal. Our work has repeatedly shown us that long term engagement fosters many positive outcomes for those taking part; social, vocational, economic, health and wellbeing outcomes which, through feature film production, are unrivalled in the breadth of opportunities available.

The core team at TAPE has become expert in working in an inclusive, non-hierarchical way which means that the opportunities available to people are meaningful, supportive and linked to the production of quality work which stems from the ideas and input of everyone involved.

Opportunities for people

Our production model presents inclusion at every stage of the creative process. Every week, TAPE is approached by people looking to get involved with the charity. This could be a referral from a partner agency such as Go Wales, Youth Justice, JCP, mental health support services, social services or many others. Equally, this could be a speculative email from a retired professional, someone in recovery or a current/recently graduated student looking for opportunities to develop their creative careers through volunteering or employment.

Every request for involvement is treated the same; one-to-one conversation and introduction to our work followed by bespoke, person-centred support to come along and get involved with our activities.

As a result of working this way we are able to:

  • generate and support opportunities for people to train, learn and gain invaluable experience regardless of support needs
  • share stories and voices from underrepresented groups in a proactive and meaningful way
  • link to the wider screen industry and provide careers support for others to do so
  • connect people and support independent working on new projects through technical advice and access to professional equipment and services
  • produce, screen and promote quality new work
  • Become self-sustaining whilst also providing savings to health, social care and education budgets


Benefits for the community

These projects also allow for people to come together at least once a week over the lifetime of a project; a social and vocational opportunity unhindered by constraints of time. This is a hugely important element of our work.

The ongoing increase in referrals to TAPE continues to evidence the need for our service as a community resource for creative activity. Consider how much greater the impact of our work is for those taking part, when a group of 100 or more people are gathered in a cinema to share in their collective creation and audiences around the world hear their words and are moved by their ideas.

Cinema is magical, it engages and articulates, supports empathy and emotional connections. A film made at TAPE supports community involvement for people living in difficult and isolated circumstances, it presents opportunity to perform and create. To be seen, heard and accepted on equal terms. It is something wonderful.

So many of the referrals come in from support services that are working with people for whom a regular intervention which supports and meets their needs is both vital and increasingly hard to find. Our aim to provide long term projects also means that there are significant savings to local and national budgets. Community interventions, especially over the long term, pass on significant savings to health and social care sectors. Similarly, our work has been able to support people in recovery and individuals involved with the criminal justice system. Again, the provision of long-term projects which offer social and vocational opportunities that also support wellbeing and reduce rates of re-offending, in-turn provide significant savings in public funding.

Our inclusive model therefore sees people from across all communities coming together each week to work together on a shared and equitable basis. To discuss ideas, solve creative problems and collaborate. Time after time we have seen this filter into the daily lives of people involved in our projects; taking the ethos of the group into supporting one another in their daily lives and with creative projects outside of TAPE – community cohesion is writ large across the first decade of TAPE.

Links with the Screen Industry

The continuing expansion of the UK screen industry also brings with it a recognised skills gap which is industry-wide. Alongside this, there are increasing initiatives to address greater representation of the communities across the UK both on-screen and amongst those employed at every stage of the production pipeline. Through our first feature, TAPE has clearly evidenced an ability to produce quality new work in a way which fosters meaningful training and development opportunities at an entry level right through to professional standards.

The model of production employed by TAPE supports links to the mainstream industry and a move towards set-readiness for those people who may be further away from this, for whatever reason.

TAPE is becoming increasingly recognised within the industry as a unique provider of real world opportunities and has been used by the BFI as a case study for promoting inclusion in feature film production. Our increasing links to the industry and growing evidence of progressions for our participants, all serve to support our ambitions to develop a community production facility in anarea that’s in desperate need of such a resource, along with a pathway to further training and employment within the wider industry.

What’s next?

After 10 years, TAPE has a fledgling community production facility which is ready to upscale both its activities and its resources. Currently, there is no aspirational presence of the screen industry in North Wales, outside of academia, and we have been working hard to create content and opportunities which address this.

TAPE is upscaling to meet demand for both involvement in our projects and the sharing of our methods with others looking to work in a similar way. We are confident that we can continue to break new ground in the way in which stories can be told, voices can be heard, films can be made and more people can benefit from it all.

The following is an abridged list of recent and current projects and their outcomes:

The Coastline Film Festival

2018 will be the 4th year of delivery for the Coastline Film Festival, an event which seeks to draw new audiences to the community cinema based at TAPE and venues along the coast on North Wales, to engage with those people for whom getting to theatrical cinema can be problematic, for whatever reason. Since 2015, The Coastline Film Festival has successfully developed the showcasing of opportunities to watch, programme and get involved with film through TAPE and partner organisations. Screenings have included year round projects linked to the festival and as you will see from the attached programmes; we have successfully supported an inclusive film festival which has brought significant premieres, partnerships and events to North Wales. The staffing and delivery of the festival has also provided opportunities for people to volunteer and receive training around a number of key aspects. Many volunteers have continued to access TAPE following initial engagement through the festival.

British Winters

TAPE’s debut feature film, which is soon to be available on the BFI Player and placed into the archive at the BFI. The film which has been recognised as a leading example of creative inclusion, has been playing around the UK and Europe to universally great responses from audiences. Having screened to ministers and guests at the Welsh Parliament, the film will screen in Westminster in the hope of support from the UK Government and screen industry.

British Winters supported 115 people to take part in the production on screen and behind the scenes, with over 50 % of participants requiring additional support to do so. Since involvement in the film we have seen people move into further learning and training, complete BFI Film Academy courses, engage long term with TAPE and move from isolated or difficult circumstances, set up a filmmaking business and find roles within mainstream productions.

Below the Waves

Following the successful delivery of British Winters, the team at TAPE moved quickly (despite having no funding in place) to initiate work on a new feature production which would further develop our production model and create more opportunities from the outset. Below the Waves has so far involved over 60 people through the writing of the screenplay and the related weekly workshops and activities such as the TAPE Writers Room.

The film is due to shoot in summer 2019 with an estimated 400 people to be engaged and involved overall.

M.E, Myself and I

Episode one of this web series received over 2000 plays in 66 countries in the first week online. The project, which tells the story of a young woman with M.E, has been made to raise awareness by a cast and crew with first-hand experience of the disease, working alongside people from across the community aged 7 to 63. A total of 60 people worked on the project and its release. The series is accompanied by a podcast which presents voices from around the UK, sharing their experiences which, in-turn, has enriched the content of the film.

Approaching Shadows

This is the next feature film to be shot at TAPE, with filming scheduled for Autumn/Winter 2018. This horror-road movie presents a story of lifelong love and loss and will be filmed around North Wales with a cast and crew comprising professional performers working alongside and supporting people from across the community. The work on the trailer for the film has engaged and supported over 20 people with anticipated numbers for involvement in the production likely to exceed 200. Again, our production model will support opportunities on screen and behind the scenes with a focus on training an all-female production crew and establishing our ‘Sound of Colour Orchestra’ – an inclusive music project – to produce elements of the soundtrack for the film.

Paul and the Undersea Critters

Shane came to TAPE on work experience from a local SEN college with a clear aim of developing his animation work. His raw talent is incredible and the TAPE team responded by providing bespoke support around pre-production and project development, areas in which Shane had little or no experience. Quickly, a new project (mixing live action and animation) began to take shape and for the first time, Shane began to collaborate with others (over 25 to date, including new participants) to bring his ideas to life. TAPE has also been able to provide Shane with a visit to a professional animation studios to receive some bespoke support.

Shane is now a regular at TAPE, where he works, mostly independently, in the production of his live action/animation debut, Paul and the Undersea Critters.

Rhyl: The Musical

In 2016, the team at TAPE successfully delivered a heritage project which looked at the presentation of memories and archive materials linked to Rhyl in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The project, entitled Rhyl Reflections, engaged with over 40 people from across the region and culminated in a premiere of their 25min film at Rhyl Town Hall.

The richness of the stories and the depth of engagement in this project have served as a springboard for the development of an original, feature-length musical, based on the Rhyl Reflections project. Using the short film as a research and development resource, TAPE is looking to work with groups across communities to develop and present a story which presents the town in its heyday whilst

looking towards what the future can bring. Projects to write the screenplay and a suite of original songs are now in the pipeline and will be run through projects in Rhyl with groups such as our own Street Homeless Project, local schools, the local authority and health board, Barnardo’s, Theatre Clwyd and others.

Seven Sharp

Co-director of British Winters, Roque Cameselle, has been a collaborator and project worker at TAPE for several years. Hitched is a short film project, written by BAFTA nominee, Danny King and helmed by Roque, which has supported further opportunities for our BFI Academy Alumni and others. The project will be released in Autumn 2018 and will bring the process of applying for festivals and the role of short filmmaking into sharper focus for participants at TAPE.




Having seen and discussed the process behind creating TAPE’s debut feature, British Winters, we support their approach. I believe TAPE is truly embedding inclusion through its work, which mirrors much of the ambition set out in our strategy BFI2022. TAPE’s work in its local community also chimes with our ambition to ensure everybody across all of our nations and regions can engage with film. We also appreciate that when people come together and work as a community, you get a richness of storytelling, as well as the potential for individual’s to grow and develop skills, in a way that can be incredibly powerful.

“We have also used TAPE’s British Winters as a case study for promoting inclusion and are taking steps to place the film into the BFI National Archive.

“TAPE’s plans to create a production house which is accessible to all, is a positive and progressive step and one which we are happy to support. Not only will this create a pathway into filmmaking in an area where similar opportunities do not exist, it will also support the creation of original content made in a way which encourages greater representation and diversity.”

Jennifer Smith, Head of Inclusion, BFI

“I have followed TAPE for many years and have had the great privilege to work with them. What I have seen at TAPE is not only inspiring, but also crucial to the development of the creative arts in North Wales and beyond. Whilst working with TAPE I could not help but think back to my own personal career journey as an aspiring filmmaker growing up on Anglesey, North Wales. Having an outlet such as TAPE back then would have benefitted me tremendously, providing me with the opportunity to be creative, to network and create career opportunities, to learn about the industry and improve my skills and confidence. The opportunities and services that TAPE provide help enrich the community, provides an essential outlet and opportunities for not just creatives but anyone, which in turn enriches the arts, and as an inclusive organisation it provides a platform for new voices.”

Mathew Owen – Filmmaker / Lecturer in Screenwriting, Bangor University

“TAPE Community Film and Music is regarded by Denbighshire Education and Children’s Services as providing relevant, current educational/vocational careers ideas. This professional guidance and opportunity for young people interested in a film-making career is most highly valued by ourselves and we recognise that it is a provision which might not be available in such an accessible way elsewhere regionally. We believe that TAPE’s excellent proposal will equip young people to become enterprising, creative members of a modern and vibrant society, ready to play their full part through life and work.”

Sarah Dixon, Curriculum Enrichment, Denbighshire County Council


Website: www.tapemusicandfilm.co.uk
Podcast: TAPE Community Podcast
Documents: A Week in the Life of TAPE // The TAPE Community Production Facility Social Media
FaceBook – @TAPECommunityMusicandFilm
Twitter – @tapeartscentre
Coastline Film Festival – http://coastlinefilmfestival.co.uk