The Time is Now

A season of film exploring and celebrating the role women play in affecting change.
Joan Parsons, Project Curator

Project overview

In partnership with the new releases of Suffragette, and He Named Me Malala, The Time is Now project aimed to engage young female audiences with a film programme that foregrounded the role women play in affecting change, giving both a historical and global perspective of the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

Films screened in venues around the country from October 2015 with the launch of the Suffragette movie through to January 2016.

There were some specific elements to The Time is Now:

  • Democratised content – with anyone being able to sign-up and become a contributor to articles and reviews, to further encourage community engagement
  • Partner involvement – all screening venues had their own account no matter how big or small, to allow them to share content and promote activity to a growing thematic audience
  • On-going thematic audience – the ability to continue to grow a thematic audience around inequality film releases, that in part, could be self-generated by a passionate audience
  • Future and historic release relevance – a place where both current, future and past relevant releases can be related to an on-going debate about inequality

The details

The Time is Now enabled venue partners to work with new release films in a new way. Support from the project, both in terms of hands on staff time and allocation of funds, helped venues broaden their film programmes and enhance their audience’s experience by offering learning opportunities.

The three main strategic partners on the project were Pathé, Fox Searchlight and Into Film. Both Pathé and Fox Searchlight agreed to support the project with funds from their marketing budgets with the understanding that The Time is Now would target young female audiences with their audience development initiatives. These included the production and distribution of a zine, the development of a web app, a social media campaign, and special events in cinemas to support screenings of Suffragette and He Named Me Malala.

Both the production of the zine and the web app content located The Time is Now project within the context of the new wave of feminism; with an emphasis on discussing issues rather than simply being a film platform, the project targeted and engaged with audiences that may not necessarily be film audiences.


  • Increase audience choice by encouraging venues to programme contextual screenings around the release of Suffragette.
  • Increase the diversity of film on offer in cinemas by encouraging bookings from a varied menu of film titles including documentary, foreign language and world cinema, and archive films.
  • Engage new audiences by creating debate and discussion around the theme of gender equality with a series of special events including previews, live soundtracks, screen talks, and panel discussions.
  • Grow audiences of women under 35 and teenage girls for both the release of Suffragette and for films within the season.
  • Have a measured impact on the release of Suffragette by extending the film’s reach with a particular emphasis in growing regional audiences and female audiences under 35.


The project succeeded in its aim of increasing audience choice and access to film programmed on a gender equality theme with events and screenings taking place in over fifty locations across the UK. Locations ranged from commercial cinemas including Curzon and Picturehouse venues, to leading independent cinemas such as Showroom (Sheffield), HOME (Manchester), and The Watershed (Bristol), to community cinemas and film societies such as Masham Town Hall and Lincoln Film Society.

The diversity of film on offer was increased with all 21 films made available through The Time is Now film menu being selected to screen in at least one location. The menu included:

  • foreign language and world cinema (Fatima, Sepideh, Persepolis, Offside, Wadjda),
  • archive (Make More Noise, Die Suffragette),
  • British films (Suffragette, Bend it Like Beckham, Made in Dagenham), and
  • documentary (He Named Me Malala, Vessel, Dreamcatcher, Pussy Riot A Punk Prayer). 

In addition to this several of the venue partners in the project programmed films related to the gender equality theme that hadn’t appeared on the menu. We had hoped at the outset of the project to inspire programmers to work with the theme and these ‘off menu’ selections demonstrate that this happened. In total 29 film titles screened across the 4 month period of the project.

Some of the additional films were new releases that the venue partners worked into the season, including screenings of Carol and a preview of Janis: Little Girl Blue. This demonstrates the potential for the project to keep growing beyond the bounds of the funded period as new relevant releases could utilise the web app and social platforms we have built.

86% of the venue partners who responded to our feedback survey said the project enabled them to put on a screening or event they would not have done otherwise.


  • The development of a new web app
  • The publication of a ‘zine’ aimed at a young female readership,
  • A series of high profile events around the launch of Suffragette to draw attention to the project
  • Live soundtrack events to accompany the BFI archive release Make More Noise
  • A partnership with Into Film Festival to include the distribution of The Time is Now zine
  • 51 screening locations across the UK including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • 66 screenings enhanced by panel discussions, speakers or workshops
  • A total of 121 TTIN related screenings and events

Production partners

  • Birds Eye View
  • Club des Femmes
  • Bechdel Test Fest
  • Live Cinema
  • Cinemania

The zine

As a means of engaging new audiences the zine was produced by self-publishing experts Cherry Styles and Ione Gamble – two experienced feminist zine editors.90,000 copies of the printed zine were produced and circulated (50,000 of these with the weekend Guardian).

  • 30,000 distributed via courier to cinemas, cafes, bars and zine outlets across the UK
  • 50,000 distributed as an insert with the weekend Guardian across the Central, Granada and Yorkshire regions
  • 10,000 distributed via Into Film at their He Named Me Malala Into Film Festival launch

The web app

The TTIN web app was launched on October 7th, 2015 but continued to develop across the project as venue partners and contributors signed up. Conceived as being fully interactive, it had polling and data collection functions as well as being a place where users could find out about events and buy tickets.

  • 13,539 page views
  • 20,946 recorded sessions
  • 725 users going on to buy tickets
  • 36 venue partners
  • 642 poll answers

Our venue partner survey revealed that 25% of our venue partners found the web app excellent with a further 57% rating it as good.

The app reached diverse audiences:

  • 50% White British
  • 8% indicated they were of multiple ethnic groups
  • 4% Black British/Black or African
  • 4% Asian or Asian British
  • 20% White other

Project audiences

Evaluation data indicates that we were successful in reaching our target demographic of women under 35.

  • 77% of our audience that responded to surveys (648 respondents) were female.
  • 55% were both female and under 35.
  • 90% of our online fans were women.
  • 54% of our online fans were aged between 18 & 34
  • 312,431 Facebook reach
  • 2,757,522 Twitter reach
  • 138,605 Instagram reach
  • 3,641,392 PR reach

If you’d like more detail, read The Time is Now full report.pdf