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Olympic Opportunities for Film Exhibition

Date posted: 16.03.2011

A Film London Exhibitors' Forum took place at BAFTA this month, gathering a host of representatives from the film exhibition sector in London. The Forum focused on best ways for film exhibitors to tap into the opportunities for cultural initiatives that will be available in 2012, as London hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Speakers from the London 2012 Cultural Programme, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and cultural organisations involved in 2012 initiatives, shared their expertise with the over 60 attendees, which included representatives from independent exhibitors, festivals, film education bodies and film clubs.

Olympic Spirit

With less than 500 days to the start of the Games, the city is readying itself to welcome visitors from across the globe and become the centre of worldwide attention in 2012. Arts and cultural projects are invited to join in the celebrations, with initiatives including the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad - a four year programme of arts and culture that will culminate with the London 2012 Festival, to be held in summer next year.

Opening the Forum, the London 2012 Creative Programmer, Chenine Bhathena, set the tone of the session and gave an overview of the cultural strategy led by the GLA for 2012.

Alongside that, Simon Rees, also from the GLA, explained how cultural projects can get involved in the Games and connect their local communities with the celebration. In a bid to promote grassroots and community legacy, Rees presented the Inspire programme and the 'Inspire Mark', a tag of distinction for arts projects, officially linking them to the Cultural Olympiad.

With sophisticated logistics needed across the capital to make 2012 a success, cultural organisations are being urged to log their 2012 plans into The Culture Diary. The Diary is an online tool launched by the Mayor of London to capture activity across the arts in London throughout 2012. The Culture Diary support officer, Maree Werder, was at the Forum to explain how to make the most of the Diary to plan ahead and get an understanding of local and city-wide cultural offer in 2012. The deadline to enter events is 31 March 2011.

Sharing Best Practice

Representing small cultural organisations, Gavin Weale and Anna Hamilos from Livity, a youth communications agency, provided an insightful look at the 'somewhereto' programme, an inspiring project aimed to maximising potential of underused space across the capital. Whether it's for rehearsal space, or a place to share equipment, sports or cooking facilities, somewhereto gives a platform for young people and communities to work together in creating a dynamic environment and making alternative use of space.

In finding out more about opportunities for young people in particular, Luke Savage from Skillset talked through Skillset's Advanced Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media. By offering a simplified apprenticeship model and process, Savage explained how organisations can take advantage of the scheme and bring fresh ideas and value to their organisations by welcoming apprentices.

Alice Carey and Laura Harford from Up Projects, which specialises in art in the public realm, presented their past ventures with the Portavillion Project, an initiative which employs portable cinemas designed by artists. Their current project, the Inside Out Floating Cinema, is planned as a floating structure that accommodates on-board screening and which will navigate the waterways of the five Olympic host boroughs this summer.

Closing the session of speakers, Sarah Boiling from audience development agency Audiences London tackled the legacy of the Games -what happens beyond 2012 and how to maintain audience engagement. Using practices learnt from previous events of a similar scale, such as the Sydney Olympics and Liverpool, European Capital of Culture '08, Boiling was able to present ideas and realistic ways to recognise, engage and keep audiences.

The event finished with breakout sessions which involved much discussion around how to engage local communities, the importance of creating effective marketing materials as well as working successfully with volunteers and young people.

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