From a pool of over 70 films, eight filmmaker teams attended our Films for Good workshop, 23 – 25 July, in Islington, London. Designed by Channel 4 BRITDOC and Working Films UK, the workshop took first steps in developing effective strategic community and audience engagement campaigns for the films, supported by non-traditional distribution strategies. Sarah Mosses, of our team in London, developed some early plans for each film’s campaign with a suggested range of potential partners – including leading NGOs and some corporate brands. We had a mixture of projects from development stage, right through to completion and we emphasized peer learning and active group discussion.
Presenters this year included Jess Search (C4 BRITDOC Foundation) and James Franklin (Pixeco) on social networks and online presence, Christo Hird (Dartmouth Films) on the success of End of the Line, Sarah Cropley (Wellcome Trust) on their funding priorities, including tips for applicants, Claire Ebrey (The Co-Operative) on their support for films in communities and David Alberts (What on Earth is Going on?) discussing how brands are getting in on the action.
In an evaluation of the weekend, 15 filmmaker team members responded: 13 gave us the highest rating for “overall impression” of the workshop, 2 team members gave us next highest rating. Comments included: “Thank you so much. It was a great weekend, a great initiative and very helpful for any filmmaker. The speakers and facilitators were top class!” “Thanks for a brilliant couple of days in London. It was a real eye opener.” “Thank you for a fantastic workshop at the weekend, I have to say I left feeling totally re-energized and a little wiped, good combo.”
Heather Leach’s project Dancing with Hugo Boss explored the real emotions of living with cancer and was supported by an ambitious engagement platform called ‘Sideways’, which will bring in stories from other cancer patients and teach them to use film as a means of therapeutic expression. Amir Amirani’s We Are Many amazed the room with the ambition to seek out all 30 million people who marched against Iraq in 2003. (When we asked folks in the room, “did you march?”, almost all hands went up, from sites around the globe.) Using social media platforms Amir is already sourcing photo’s, videos and personal stories from around the world to include in the final film.
We will be tracking these projects as they progress and hope to see some of the ideas put into action over the next few months. Most of the teams have already reached out to new organizations following our suggestion; we know they are on a pathway to success and authentic impact.