Film Hub South West worked to support the regional release of regional feature film Bait, Mark Jenkin’s unusually-told story about the conflicts between locals and incomers in a Cornish fishing village, working alongside Bristol based production company Early Day Films and BFI Distribution to increase awareness of the film, secure more venue bookings and reach a wider audience for the film in the South West.
Support provided by Film Hub South West has included:
- Commissioning local PR specialist Pam Beddard to work alongside the BFI PR team, feeding into and amplifying national press, resulting in great coverage across South West media outlets.
- Engaging Liz Chege to continue management of the Bait social media platforms in liaison with the BFI and - - Film Hub marketing team to generate a lively, engaging and coordinated online social media presence.
- Introducing the film’s producers to exhibitors in the South West through our programming meetings
- Providing a marketing pack for venues and a financial contribution towards social media promotion
- Support for regional preview screenings and talent tour in the South West
- On-going support for Q&A screenings in the region
- Increase awareness of the Cornish film Bait
- Secure more venue bookings
- Reach a wider audience for the film in the South West
- 7 sell-out preview screenings with Q&As reaching an audience of 1,137 and achieving a box office revenue of £6,990
- 24 Cinemas in the South West screening Bait
- Engagement with independent chains WTW Cinemas and Merlin Cinemas
- £115,181 Box office taking in the South West in the first month of release
- £115,181 Box office taking in the South West in the first month of release
- 87% of surveyed audiences rated the film as very good & 79% rated the Q&A as very good
- 25% of audience members had not previously been to the venue hosting the preview screening
- The BAIT campaign and its trailer have been nominated for Screen Daily Awards.
- Among the many hundreds of South Westerners who have taken to social media to praise BAIT were actor Dawn French, who lives in Fowey; Bristol-based musician Adrian Utley (Portishead) and the film director Edgar Wright, who was born in Dorset and grew up in Wells, Somerset.
Early Day Films
Budget in brief
Total budget committed to this project from Film Hub South West = £6,000
Social Media Management - £1,500
South West PR - £1,500
Social Media Promotion for Venues - £1,000
Talent Tour for Q&As - £2,000)
Subsidy per head for claimed admissions = £1.19
- Working in partnership with the UK Distributor BFI Distribution to amplify and support National marketing in the South West region.
- 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.
- Adding value to existing social media presence for the film through Bait social media channels led by a locally based marketeer that had championed the film since its Berlinale premiere.
- Inviting Early Day Films to attend member events to meet with regional exhibitors and build relationships
- The willingness of the producers, filmmaker and cast and crew to embrace the regional campaign
- Getting buy-in from member venues in the South West, particularly the commercial independent chains such as WTW Cinemas and Merlin was key to the success of this kind of activity.
What has been difficult
- No-one anticipated the incredible success that Bait would have in cinemas so the take-up was highly than predicted impacting on the capacity of all involved including the producers and filmmaker.
What you would do differently if you did it again
- If we were to support the regional release of other titles, we would try to broker relationships as early as possible with key regional exhibitors particularly the commercial independent chains through targeted regional industry previews involving the production team / talent involved to connect directly with exhibitors. In this case, they came on board early on and were supportive of the film due a pre-existing relationship with Mark Jenkin.
Awareness / Attitudes
Bait puts the spotlight on a different experience of Cornwall life for Cornish people, that is not often seen on the big screen.
It raises real life issues around gentrification and the clash between economically disadvantaged indigenous communities and more wealthy in-comers and the balance at play to create harmony.
Q&As with Mark Jenkin have opened up a dialogue around these issues. The film does not pass judgement, it presents a complicated picture and asks the audience to think about it.
The film looks at the socioeconomic disparity between Cornish locals and the tourists that visit and on which local communities are often reliant to make a living.
This film has particularly resonated with South West audience, particularly the Cornish, which have a minority status.
What audiences said
- “An artistic tour de force”
- “So, so great, an artistic masterstroke”
- “Absolutely fantastic, heart-wrenching, affecting drama."
- “Thought-provoking, a work of art”
- “That rarity, a work of art that’s also entertaining, witty, pertinent, sharp. Cinematic Banksy."
- “Loved such honest approach from the director"
- “Mark [Kermode] was a very genuine interviewer - asked great questions.”
- “Positively confessional.”
- “Mark Jenkin was exceptional in his insight, with humility (did not remind me of Quentin Tarantino)
- “Q&A was so good. The director’s answers truly enriched the film. Loved hearing strifes about the impact of objects (like film) on the actual interpretation.
- “Bait was brilliant, we have discussed it at length. What a great choice.”
- “Thanks so much for putting on last night’s film Bait. We found the film and Q&A session really interesting. You have such a warm, inviting venue. Everything was just perfect from the Eastleigh film festival red carpet and signage in the entrance hall to your helpful staff. Quite a coup getting members of the cast along to talk afterwards! We were really impressed with it all.”
What professionals, press and partners said
- "The critical reception has been overwhelmingly positive since the premiere in Berlin, but the amount of people who’ve gone and seen it on the big screen since the release has taken me a little bit by surprise. I’ve certainly been contacted by people who’ve told me they never go to the cinema but made an exception for Bait, but there’s clearly still a big cinema audience out there who will take a risk on an unknown film. It’s exciting with regard to this film but also exciting in terms of cinema in general. There’s nothing quite like seeing a movie in a theatre. I hope that locally people feel that this is a film about, and for, them, but I’m also so pleased that it seems to be resonating nationally and internationally at the moment." - Mark Jenkin (Cornwall Film Live)
- "We knew when we were planning our marketing strategy for BAIT that the South West was going to be key to the success of the film. We needed to get the South West talking about the film and hoped that the chatter would then roll out UK wide. So working with Film Hub South West was crucial and we were delighted when they agreed to support the film. Key to the success was engaging local South West PR and Social Media and getting one of the commercial theatre chains on board (which we did with WTW) with the help of Film Hub South West and that, alongside director Mark Jenkin’s tireless ability to connect with audiences in a live situation, paid huge dividends so when the tour broke out of the South West word of mouth was already strong. It was a perfect storm of a collaboration between BFI and Film Hub South West" - BFI Distribution
- "Working with the Hub South West has had a major impact on the success of BAIT’s release. The Hub were fully behind, and helped enable our strategy for a preview tour, knowing that a strong start and coverage in Cornwall and the South West would help build audience awareness and anticipation nationwide. Their support took practical forms - enabling our director to travel regionally, bringing in a social media expert and a marketing specialist to promote the film directly and also prepare marketing materials to help small regional cinemas maximise their own promotion. The Hub’s regional showcase screening of BAIT for SW exhibitors was a brilliant opportunity for us as producers to meet and learn from those with direct audience experience, helping us refine our strategy. Crucially with the Hub on board we had additional team members, focused like us on what was best for the film." - Early Day Films
- "WTW Cinemas were very pleased to host three packed out Q&As in advance of the release of Bait with Director Mark Jenkin, someone who is well known in the area and a great supporter of Cornish film. His Q&As were highly engaging and very well received, as has been the film which has played at all our venues over several weeks. The national and regional publicity the film has gained has without doubt increased the attention and attendance for the film, and it is heartening to see that a low budget locally made film can attract so many." - Mark Williams, WTW Cinemas
- "The opening preview evening of Bait at Newlyn Filmhouse, with Q & A with Mark Jenkin and Mark Kermode, was a fantastic night. Screened to a full house, the audience was very impressed and moved by the film. We knew we would have a lot of interest in this new production by Mark Jenkin but its viewing figures have surpassed any ‘local’ films we have shown to date. The national press and PR coverage certainly caused a buzz in the build-up to the release." - Suzie Sinclair, Newlyn Filmhouse
- "I thought it was a very successful evening and we were all really pleased with the high audience numbers, which shows a real appetite for high-quality, independent British cinema during the film festival which is something we will consider when planning for next year. A large percentage of the audience stayed for the Q&A and Simon and Linn were both very generous with their time, answering all questions put to them from our host and the audience, even staying later to chat to audience members who had stayed behind once it had finished. Overall, the event was one of the highlights of this year’s festival and was very well received by our audience so we can only recommend it! we really did welcome all the support and additional PR, there was such a national buzz about the film." - Eastleigh Film Festival
- "Two years ago, who would have said ‘let’s make a black & white Academy ratio, 16mm, post-synch-sound, hand processed film on second homes and the decline of fishing in Cornwall and trust me, it will be a huge international critical success and take over £250,000 at the UK box office?’ Bait demonstrates that there’s an audience for authentic, individualistic distinctive films." - Mark Cosgrove, Watershed
- "It’s been a real pleasure working on regional publicity for BAIT. Often, it can be tricky when projects involve a multiplicity of parties, potentially with different goals, messages, priorities in mind. But in BAIT’s case it was clear from the start that Mark, his cast, Early Day, FilmHub and the BFI all had the same firm desire – maximise the audience for the regional previews and initiate a decent buzz in the run-up to the film’s general release. One result of this shared commitment was that everyone responded quickly to suggestions about angles, news release drafts, requests for more info or extra resources, and interview invites, etc, so ensuring that the media got exactly what they wanted/needed when they wanted/needed it – a major advantage to any publicity campaign, especially when tight print/broadcast deadlines are in play." - Pam Beddard, PR consultant
- BAIT – MEDIA – SOUTH WEST BBC Bristol Sam Shepherd interviewed by Claire Cavanagh for The Afternoon Show Mark Jenkin i/v by Steve Yabsley BBC Cornwall Multiple Interviews on different days/shows for Mark and for Ed Rowe BBC Spotlight Extended feature with live insert about the Newlyn premiere and SW tour Also mentioned with clips in bulletins throughout the day Bristol 24-7 https://www.bristol247.com/culture/film/how-bait-took-18-months-to-become-an-overnight-success/ https://www.bristol247.com/whats-on/film/drama/bait/ https://www.bristol247.com/culture/film/box-office-chart-august-30-september-1/ https://www.bristol247.com/culture/film/local-audiences-thanked-for-making-bait-a-box-office-hit/
- Bristol Property Guide 28.8.2019 issue, page 3, Bristol & Me interview with Kate Byers Cornwall Live Links below are to the online coverage but the same articles will also have appeared in print in the Cornish Guardian, The Cornishman, West Briton and Western Morning News https://www.cornwalllive.com/whats-on/film/stunning-film-bait-shows-theres-3225217 https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/inside-multi-million-pound-film-3234322 https://www.cornwalllive.com/whats-on/film/bait-means-kernow-king-now-3172121
- South Bristol Voice https://www.southbristolvoice.co.uk/local-production-about-fishing-village-causes-a-global-splash
- ITV Westcountry Extended feature about Newlyn opening, also used in bulletins throughout the day & online Other coverage https://www.devon-cornwall-film.co.uk/2019/07/08/bait-ravishing-film-gets-early-south-west-screenings/
- Cornwall Live - Bait becomes the most successful Cornish film ever made https://www.cornwalllive.com/whats-on/film/bait-becomes-most-successful-cornish-3416546
- No links available but news items about the premiere/tour were also mentioned in Cornwall Living Cornwall Today Cornwall 365 Cornish Life The Pigeon (Bristol) The Talk of Totterdown (community paper)