The latest Film Hub London Exhibitors’ Breakfast took place last week at the Barbican Cinemas 2 & 3. As well as marking the launch of BFI Film Audience Network's new Film Exhibition Fund, the breakfast was an opportunity for Film Hub members to hear about work being done for family audiences across London and beyond.
The Barbican’s own Susie Evans - the cinema curator responsible for the venue’s Family Film Club, Family Film Week and school screenings - kicked off proceedings with a dive through the history of programming for young people at the Barbican. The venue stated regular family programming in early 80s, originally with a regular host named “Uncle Freddie”, and continues to this day, with a renewed focus on being open to all - with screenings every week featuring show and tell intros, themed workshops and loyalty cards.
aim to give our families the same range of programming as the rest of the Barbican, with world cinema, archive footage, shorts and film festivals
alongside blockbusters. I don’t ever want to lose sight if the fact film is
fun, it’s entertaining- we want to promote the collective experience of cinema and make
it memorable. We always have someone to welcome people into the cinema - making them
feel part of the experience."
Next up, Saskia van Roomen & Laura Kloss of Small World Cinema, the film club and festival formed in Bromley in 2015, spoke on their diverse audiences, targeting local children, especially those with additional needs which would normally prevent them from going to the cinema, and their ultimate goal of celebrating play, creativity and experimentation in a cinema space.
We also heard from Sign For All'sIrina Drytchak on the organisation's mission of providing support to families, both d/Deaf and hearing, on ensuring that cinema experiences are accessible to all, and independent researcher Dr Becky Parry, who won the UK Literary Association award for her research into the role of film in children’s developing literacy and is author of ‘Children, Film and Literacy’.
After a panel discussion with all of the day's presenters, focusing on building positive experiences to shape earliest cinema memories, as well as keeping them affordable and accessible, Film London's Paul Bowman intorduced the relaunch of the FAN Film Exhibition Fund for 2023.
The fund awards funding from the BFI National Lottery to support a wide range of audience-facing activity, as part of the BFI’s Screen Culture 2033 strategy, creating opportunities for people to engage with UK independent and international film and the wider moving image. Organisations will be able to apply for a maximum of £5,000 to cover costs such as event costs, marketing and outreach campaigns, access costs and other initiatives that has the potential to help them connect with new and diverse audiences.