The latest Film Hub London Exhibitors’ Breakfast, in partnership with the BFI London Film Festival, took place yesterday at the Everyman Cinema in King's Cross. As well as celebrating the launch of BFI Film Audience Network's new Guide to Working With Young People, the breakfast was an opportunity for Film Hub members to hear about Young Programmer schemes from across the country.
The main focus of the morning was the launch of the BFI FAN Guide to Working With Young People, a brilliant new resource co-authored by Film London Young Audiences Manager Moira McVean and BFI FAN Young Consultant Thea Berry. The guide provides a framework for venues who want to attract young audiences of broadly 16-30 years old, and collects case studies and a range of approaches already being used by exhibitors across the UK.
"To effectively attract young people to screenings and events, it is essential you include them in the design of your programming" says Moira. "Not only will it save you the time you may have spent researching the tastes of the age group, it will lead to a much greater chance of success."
The guide can be read as a journey, from focus groups and mentoring, to marketing, curation and programming, and even young trustees on venue boards, and at this breakfast we heard from young people on various stages of this journey, as well as those in venues and organisations with experiences of working with young people.
Robin McHugh of Into Film, the UK's leading charity for film in education, spoke on their toolkit for engaging young people, from special events to cinema loyalty schemes, and Julia Andrews-Clifford of Film Hub South Eastintroduced their Young Film Programmers Network, focusing on the range of relationships between young people and venues in the South East.
We also heard from two BFI FAN Young Consultants - Thea Berry, co-author of the guide, who shared her experiences of working with multi-arts venue Exeter Phoenix on a project to promote and expand the audience of their cinema screen Studio 74, and Caroline Wilson, who provided an overview of the Young Consultant picks for the year's BFI London Film Festival, including Aftersun, Blue Jean, Pretty Red Dress and Triangle of Sadness.
Isobel Harrop then shared her journey at Storyhouse in Chester, from Young Programmer to her current role as Cinema Assistant, with a hand in programming special events and seasons at the cinema. She also shared details of her programming for a pop-up cinema in Warrington Hall, adding value to screenings with everything from record fairs to hand-decorated My Life as a Courgette cupcakes.
Finally, we heard from Castle Cinema co-founder Asher Charman on the venue's free-to-join membership scheme for 15-24 year olds, allowing them to see films for £5 all day every day, allowing them to grow this vital audience over the last 18 months.