Leadership and Creativity Flying the Flag at Film Industry Conference

This Way Up, film exhibition symposium will bring industry leader Clare Binns, to its fifth edition in Liverpool, plus filmmaker Deborah Haywood and Birds Eye View director Mia Bays.

This Way Up, the UK’s annual gathering for film exhibition sector, will see Clare Binns, Joint Managing Director of Picturehouse Cinemas take the stage for a special ‘in-conversation with’ which will explore the career of one of the sector’s most influential figures.

Having driven the growth and development of Picturehouse Cinemas, joining them in 2003 after starting out as an usher, projectionist and cinema manager, Clare’s impact on the cinema sector cannot be underestimated. Her decisions shape the viewing habits of cultural cinema audiences and sway the programming choices of cinemas across the country. This Way Up offers a unique opportunity to hear about Binns’ career to date and offer insight into her leadership.

Sambrooke Scott of This Way Up and Film Hub Scotland said, “This edition of This Way Up will be as pertinent and lively as it’s ever been. We are creating a space where we can discuss the key questions facing the industry - from Brexit and post #metoo, to the challenges of leadership – while also sharing stories of inspiration, learning and change. We’re thrilled to offer this glimpse of the programme and I’m pleased to welcome all our guests and contributors.”

The conference is the only one in the UK that brings together individuals from occupying all roles in film festivals, indie cinemas, community film clubs and everything in between to explore the challenges facing the country’s independent film and film exhibition sector, with a particular focus on growing audiences.

In a segment that seeks to examine the story of ‘from distributor to screen’, Oscar-winning producer and director of film charity Birds Eye View, Mia Bays, alongside director Deborah Haywood (Pin Cushion, 2017) and actor Joanna Scanlan will talk with Major Programmes Project Manager for Film Hub Midlands, Annabel Grundy, about Birds Eye View project, Reclaim the Frame.

Reclaim the Frame seeks to foreground and grow audiences for women-authored or directed films. Reclaim the Frame has taken a unique approach to audience development which is seeing new film communities spring up in cities across the country.

As a result, Birds Eye View have secured a major release partnership with Netflix and saw Haywood’s Pin Cushion named film of the week by the New York Times. The session will give the perspective of the filmmaker, the distributor, the exhibitor and the cast on a journey that takes a film from conception to screening.

This year’s conference is set to take place on 5th and 6th December at Bluecoat Arts Centre and FACT; cinema, art gallery and Liverpool’s home for the exhibition of film, art and new media. During the two-day programme delegates will hear from key figures from inside and outside of the industry on topics including creative thinking, leadership, diversity, fundraising and audience development.

Also confirmed, is Kymberlee Jay, named as the Rising Star at the Black British Business Awards in 2017 for her work in the Arts and Creative sectors, Kymberlee is an internationally acclaimed speaker, business coach and mentor, working with the likes of Nike ad AEG Entertainment to develop leadership mindsets that allow teams to flourish. “Everyone can be, everyone is, a leader,” said Kymberlee Jay “no matter the role you occupy within a cinema, film club or festival, you can lead in your area of expertise, on a specific project, even on a task – or just in your attitude. Leadership shouldn’t be something bestowed upon you, it is something everyone can embody. It starts with passion for the industry or profession you occupy, and I know that the This Way Up audience have that in spades!”

This Way Up also confirm a heavy-weight keynote speaker, Ian Wharton, Group Creative Director at ideas and innovation company AKQA, will address audiences on day one of the two-day conference, exploring the big ideas that truly connect with audiences.

An award-winning filmmaker with Solar(2007) Wharton has been named an Art Directors Club ‘Young Gun’, one of BIMA’s Digital Hot 100 and Campaign Magazine’s A-List. His book Spark for the Fire: How Youthful Thinking Unlocks Creativity will form the bones of his keynote address at This Way Up, which is designed to get film exhibitors thinking creatively about how they tell their story to cinema audiences, and non-cinema going audiences alike.

“Everyone can harness the power of creative thinking,” commented Sally Folkard, This Way Up producer and Strategic Manager at Film Hub North, “we’re lucky to work in such a creative and imaginative industry, but often the day-to-day of our roles can leave little space for such practice. We’re very much looking forward to hearing Ian’s ideas, thoughts and experiences to enable our delegates to think beyond the everyday and create compelling experiences for audiences, no matter how they interact with film exhibition.”

In sessions that merge presentation, interaction, debate, discussion, workshop and networking delegates can also expect to hear from;

Flamingo presents Gen Z: Redefining Authority, the London-based cultural insight agency present their illuminating work around ‘authority in crisis’. In the era of Brexit, Trump and fake news, it can seem like nobody knows who really gets to say what’s what any more, Flamingo ask is this really true? Has traditional authority crumbled, or has it just changed shape? Their international research identified emerging trends and drivers of ‘new authority’, exploring what this could mean for culture institutions, cinemas and brands more broadly; touching on everything from South Korean super teachers to superstar Instagram witches!

The A to Z of Cinema, Patrick von Sychowski, founder and editor of Celluloid Junkies takes to the stage to review and interpret the biggest cinema technologies, trends and company news from the past year.

Brexit is Coming, a Question Time-inspired panel discussion with representatives from the Creative Industries Federation, the British Film Institute, major cultural organisations and exhibitors will discuss, take questions and speculate on how Brexit might impact (positively or negatively) on the sector and what opportunities you should be looking to capitalise on.

The conference has also teamed with PechaKucha to deliver the hugely popular 20 x 20 presentation format, in which presenters from all across the sector are invited to submit proposals for a 6-minute presentation or provocation around one of four themed streams. An open call to the sector and beyond will ask potential speakers to consider talking or presenting case studies on:

1. More Than A Tick Box: integrating equality, diversity and inclusion into everything you do.

2. Eureka! Fixing problems, finding solutions: when something goes wrong, what do you do? Examples of fixing problems during a live project.

3. Origin Stories: who are you and why are you here? What made you decide to do what you do?

4. Modern-Day Fundraising: is the traditional donor pyramid still relevant in a world that sees Patreon, CrowdCube and Kickstarter redefining fundraising? Demonstrate work that proves it one way or another.

Following on from a popular session around Safeguarding from Harassment at This Way Up 2017 in Hull, UK City of Culture, Melanie Iredale, Interim Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest will chair a discussion on contentious programming decisions.

Where the figureheads behind films we seek to screen have been accused for actions that go against the principles of our organisations, we must question whether offering – or denying – those films a platform suggests condoning, or censorship, and either way requires a consideration of context. “The #MeToo movement as helped to highlight the ethics around programming decisions, making them more visible than ever. Audiences are even more savvy and they expect transparency. That’s not to say certain films should be entirely black-listed, but exhibitors certainly need a robust programming ethos which stands up to scrutiny.” commented Iredale.

Finally, the conference will offer two different types of 1-2-1 bookable mentoring sessions for those in marketing and fundraising, a chance for delegates to address a specific challenge, issue or project with an expert in their field.

This Way Up is produced by Film Hub North and Film Hub Scotland, part of the British Film Institute’s Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) established in 2012 to build wider and more diverse UK cinema audiences for British and international film, it is supported by Creative Europe.

Two-day delegate passes cost £130 and can be purchased from www.thiswayupcon.com