Film Hub South West collaborated with BFI to support the regional release of ENYS MEN with enhanced marketing and a series of previews plus Q&As with the film’s BAFTA winning filmmaker Mark Jenkin, increasing its reach and enabling more audiences to enjoy a deeper engagement with this homegrown film.
Film Hub South West (FHSW) made a strategic investment to raise awareness of and support the release of ENYS MEN, Mark Jenkin’s follow-up to his internationally acclaimed and BAFTA-winning box office hit, BAIT (supported by FHSW in 2019.)
Prior to ENYS MEN’s UK-wide release on 13 January 2023, Film Hub South West worked with the film’s distributor BFI (British Film Institute) and Cornwall based producer Denzil Monk (Bosena) to put on a series of regional preview screenings in Cornwall, Devon and Bristol. Audiences were treated to in-person Q&As with the BAFTA-winning Cornwall-based filmmaker Mark Jenkin offering insights into his distinct approach to filmmaking, Cornish culture and language, with star Mary Woodvine joining him on some dates.
These preview screenings and additional PR, marketing and social media resources offered by FHSW helped create buzz around the release of ENYS MEN ensuring it was picked up by more venues and that audiences in the south west had the opportunity to enjoy this unique Cornwall-rooted cinematic experience.
Support independent cinema in the South West
To increase awareness of the film ENYS MEN
To secure more screenings of the film
To engage more venues in screening local and independent film
To give audiences in Cornwall and the South West privileged early access to ENYS MEN
To enable audiences to experience and enjoy deeper engagement with the film with insights from the director
Deepen relationships with South West cinemas, independent and commercial
To increase awareness of the film ENYS MEN
8 sell-out preview screenings with Q&As, achieving box office of £17,268 pre UK release
Engagement with independent chains WTW Cinemas and Merlin Cinemas
2 South West venues (Watershed Bristol and Newlyn Filmhouse) included in top 4 sites for UK box office on opening weekend
£74,580 box office taken in the South West (to 30 March 2023), approx audience 12,000
South West box office taking 24% of whole UK for ENYS MEN
93% of surveyed audiences (3165 respondents) rated the film as very good & 98% rated the Q&A as very good
57% of audience members had not previously been to the venue hosting the preview screening
ENYS MEN (UK / 2022 / 91 mins / cert 15)
Budget in brief
Total budget committed to this project from Film Hub South West = £2,870
South West PR - £1,000
Social Media Promotion & photography for Venues - £570
Talent Tour for Q&As - £1300)
Following the success and international acclaim for BAIT, ENYS MEN was highly anticipated by venues and audiences, particularly in the South West
The deeply Cornish roots of the film - publishing the poster in Kernewek (Cornish Language) tapped into a sense of Cornish pride - and meant a lot to audiences in Cornwall, in particular
The Q&As created a real buzz about the film ahead of its UK release
Working in partnership with the UK Distributor BFI Distribution to amplify and support National marketing in the South West region
The recognition of Mark Jenkin as a major auteur of film
Liaising with BFI on social media promotion and assets
Engaging a locally based PR specialist with the contacts as well as the passion and commitment to get significant regional press coverage across South West media outlets, including BBC and ITV news spots
The willingness of Mark Jenkin and cast and crew to participate in the regional Q&A tour
Getting buy-in from member venues in the South West, particularly the commercial independent chains WTW Cinemas and Merlin was key
Shining a light on the work of these cinemas and furthering connections with them
What has been difficult
The UK release date of the film meant a very compacted opportunity for previews post-Christmas
Not all venues had capacity to use marketing spend to increase awareness / reach of the film (beyond their own sold-out previews)
Not having autonomy in venue choice (selected by BFI) for previews meant some independents missed out to chain cinemas (e.g Exeter Phoenix)
What you would do differently if you did it again
Push for a longer lead time for previews ahead of the UK launch
Look at involving more independent cinemas in previews
Contract and support venues to employ a photographer and to use social media budget for broader promotion
Awareness / Attitudes
“Enys Men […] is a richly authentic portrait of Cornwall, far removed from any tourist-friendly vision – a land defined by rugged industry (those miners are still down below), locked in an elemental struggle with the sea (a force that can both give and take life) and driven by a palpable sense of the past underpinning the future.” – Mark Kermode, The Guardian
As with BAIT, Mark Jenkin’s ENYS MEN, depicts a side of Cornwall that is separate from the usual tourist experience of the Duchy. Reveling in its wild landscapes and traditional folk lore ENYS MEN shows a Cornwall that is steeped in history with a distinct culture, language and heritage. The use of Kernewek in the film and, for the first time, on a national film poster, has raised awareness of Cornish culture and language.
This film has particularly resonated with South West audiences, particularly the Cornish, which have a minority status.
Kernewek, the Cornish language, features in the film including in an original song written by Mercury Prize 2022 nominee Gwenno. To highlight this, in what is believed to be a feature film promotional first, bilingual Cornish/English posters were produced.
Knowledge & Experience
ENYS MEN offers audiences a different, challenging and thought-provoking cinematic experience which goes beyond a mainstream film screening.
Feedback from audiences attending the preview screenings suggested that watching ENY MEN broadened their experience of film and the Q&As with Mark Jenkin were particularly insightful in contextualising the film.
Though ENYS MEN did not achieve the same level of box office success as Jenkin’s previous film, BAIT, it still took over £74,500 at South West cinemas alone and over £300,000 UK-wide for the Cornwall-based production company.
What audiences said
A well-run event with a great Q&A and discussion with Mark Jenkin and the Picturehouse staff
I absolutely loved this event. The film was extraordinary and the Q&A with the director was fascinating
Thought-provoking and funny. More like this in Exeter please!
An excellent film with an interesting and engaging Q&A. l would love this type of event closer to my home in Seaton East Devon
Good to be in a sold out screening. The Q&A really added to the experience. More please!!!
My friend and I have since agreed that this film was a definite grower in terms of thinking about it afterwards, a week or so later we are still talking about it
Loved it. Felt v privileged to have the Q&A session afterwards and meeting the director, learning more about the film, who just happens to have a BAFTA all in town where I live
Amazing experience - took my teenage son who found it really interesting and exciting also
The Q&A was brilliant. It really enhanced my understanding of the film. I took my elderly parents to see it and they had a lovely time. They never normally go to the cinema.
I loved the film. It is not to everyone's tastes, as I gathered from the group that I went with. However, it was a complete change from Mark Jenkin's previous film Bait.
What I really appreciated afterwards was the Q&A, and the chance to speak ourselves, with a question or our thoughts on the film and the impression it gave.
It was a strange, compelling film that my husband and I asked each other lots of questions about on the way home and have lots more unanswered. I loved it and particularly, post Q&A how much it felt like a scary 70’s public information film.
The film itself is such a beautiful rendition of how film should look and how films as a piece of art should be shot. Nostalgic yet unsettling and entertaining - huge fan of the director's work!
A great event, more quality Cornish content like this would be amazing.
Meeting the filmmaker was a big bonus to the experience
I received an excellent welcome and thoroughly enjoyed the film and post film discussions
A local film by a local director in our local cinema .. perfect entertainment!
'Enys Men' is one of the best films I've watched in recent years. Not only is it encouraging to watch a film made locally, but also that the film is uniquely different from anything I've seen before.
Great opportunity to both see an outstanding film, so different from the mass-produced, and to hear Mark Jenkin speak about his film-making process. Thank you!
Wadebridge Regal in Cornwall is a great local cinema. It’s great to have this kind of thing
happening. Screening was managed really well. Q&A was great & really gave us all an insight into many aspects of shooting film & the inspirations behind it as many personal anecdotes from the director
It was simply brilliant to be able to see Enys Men on its Cornish preview tour, and to hear Mark Jenkin talk in the Q&A afterwards. It felt like an important cultural event and was valued by me and the friends I went with. We’d definitely travel to more! (From Bude)
I felt that the film was very atmospheric and gave me a feeling of a deep connection with Cornwall. I continued to think about the film and analyse it after leaving the venue and now wish that I could have the Q&A session again as I now have lots of questions to ask. It was lovely to see so many well-known local faces all together in the cinema enjoying this event.
What professionals, press and partners said
“Merlin Cinemas were very proud to be supporting home-grown talent with the preview screenings for ENYS MEN. The film was very much embraced by the local community and these preview screenings provided a great platform to gain additional reach and allow the film to continue to play in the weeks that followed.” - Craig May, Merlin Cinemas
"Enys Men, and in particular the preview Q&A screenings, were a great success for us at WTW Cinemas and we were very pleased to work with Mark Jenkin on the Q&As which were either sold out, or very close to, at all our cinemas. The feedback we had on the Q&As was excellent and certainly seemed to create an appetite for similar screenings. The film itself didn't quite have the same audience approval ratings as BAIT did, it was much more a 50/50 split on those who really loved it and those who found it more challenging. But certainly it was great to have people talking about films in the foyers afterwards, it was one of those films that really got people engaged." - Mark Williams, WTW Cinemas
"We had a very successful Q&A preview screening with the Marks Jenkin and Kermode, which was a sell out and set us up for a good 5 week run [of ENYS MEN] from January 13th. We had a lot of local interest as it was shot nearby and involved a lot of people from the area and we always find people respond very well to local content." - Alastair Till, Newlyn Filmhouse
“It was a joy to help with the SW promotion of ENYS MEN. The fact that it was shot locally, with a local cast and by an exciting Cornwall-based director who’d already won a BAFTA with BAIT, made it certain the SW media would take an interest. But as well as strong regional angles, Mark Jenkin was tireless in accepting interview invitations and somehow managed to remain uber-interesting and enthusiastic even when he was being asked the same question for the 20th time. The whole team was equally responsive and I’m still buzzing at how easy it was to persuade the BFI to produce a Cornish language version of the poster – never been done before, saw Twitter awash with congratulatory posts in Kernewek and won us a very nice piece in The Guardian.” - Pam Beddard, PR consultant
Screen Cornwall: https://www.screencornwall.com/news-events/2gu349uevq6du4gsrcaqd397b1pwy6
Falmouth Packet: https://www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/news/23164438.bait-director-mark-jenkins-folk-horror-enys-men-preview/
The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2023/jan/06/interest-is-off-the-scale-cornish-cinema-fans-snub-avatar-local-folk-horror-enys-men
Cornwall Live: https://www.cornwalllive.com/whats-on/film/enys-men-cornwall-director-mark-7882783
Bristol Post: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/cornish-horror-film-enys-men-8001969