Case Study: Spotlight on Telford: Telford Film Festival

Flatpack took over spaces across Shropshire to present an eclectic mix of features, documentaries, shorts, archive oddities, performances and workshops. They worked with 16 partner organisations including Flicks in the Sticks, multiplexes, a theatre, town halls and community spaces, the steam railway and Telford shopping centre.

Film Hubs

Impact Areas

Focus Areas

Why this matters

There is a low screen density in Telford and the surrounding areas which restricts access to independent film with residents having to travel outside of the county if they want to engage with new art-house releases. The project was an opportunity to address this and to work with a range of partners to kick start new and sustainable activity in the region. The festival helped to fundraise, awareness raise and support the launch of new independent cinema and art space, Wellington Orbit.

Project aims

  • To raise the profile of British and specialised film in Telford, bring the community together through film, kickstart new and sustainable activity in the area.

Headlines

  • A 800 capacity sell out at the big top in Telford Town park, attracting a diverse mix of people from across the county. Survey results showing that 80% of people rated the event ‘very good’ and 78% never having engaged with FAN previously.
  • A sold out immersive screening of Dawn of the Dead at Telford Shopping Centre, a fruitful partnership with both Cineworld and Odeon (screening 9 films in total at the multiplexes) and 235 engagements with a new archive commission from MACE.
  • Technical training delivered to 2 community cinema exhibitors, 4 new film hub members engaged and one new member supported to attend Cinema For All 2018 Community Cinema Conference.

Films

The Greatest Showman with live performance Grease The Cameraman with live score Gone to Earth with talk and exhibition Star Wars: The Force Awakens (outdoors at RAF Cosford) Top Gun (outdoors at RAF Cosford) Telford on Film archive compilation My Neighbour Totoro A Splendid Place to Live The New Life Telford New Town + Q&A Skate Kitchen (preview) Murder On the Orient Express with wine tasting The Big Lebowski + Quiz 2001: A Space Odyssey The Sound Of Music Dawn of the Dead immersive screening Colour Box shorts (8 films) The Code + Q&A with cast The Doorman + Q&A with cast Aliens The Shawshank Redemption Back to the Future Forrest Gump Pulp Fiction Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Key partnerships

Wellington Orbit All Saints Church Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge Community Centre Gorge Film Club RAF Museum Cosford Telford Centre Ironbridge Gorge Museum Cineworld Dawley Town Hall Telford Steam Railway Oakengates Theatre Odeon Horsehay Village Hall The Wakes Mary Webb Society Flicks in the Sticks

Budget in brief

Budget: £13,000 (£10,000 Telford & Wrekin Council, £3,000 FHM) Box office £8,607 Cost per head £4.96

What worked

  • Having the partners on board early and utilising their networks to spread the word as word of mouth was an important PR tool for the festival. Also being able to have one central ticketing point (via Tickets Telford) worked well in regards to communication and making the customer online journey as straightforward as possible. Additionally all tickets were available to buy in person or over the phone at Oakengates Theatre to ensure accessibility for all.

What has been difficult

  • Having an eclectic programme curated by a range of voices worked well in terms of offering diversity but also made it more challenging to marketing effectively. Having said that audience engagement was high with 19 screenings reaching at least 80% capacity.

What you would do differently if you did it again

  • We will be delivering the second edition of Telford Film Festival in autumn 2019. We would like to diversify the programme to engage younger audiences and have enlisted the support of Into Film and Meadows Primary school to curate a series of events as part of the festival and lao hope to work with the Polish Saturday School to present a series of Polish animations. In addition we will be working more closely with Telford & Wrekin Council PR department to ensure the widest possible marketing and PR coverage.

Awareness / Attitudes

There is a definite lack of independent British and International film screenings in Telford due to the absence of an art house cinema. However, working off the back of the festival, Film Hub Midlands has been supporting Welling Orbit -  a new community arts space and cinema in Wellington with advice, guidance and training. The building officially opens in May 2019 with a full independent film programme launching soon after.

Diversity

Both the programme and audiences could be more diverse and this is something to be addressed and improved in 2019. 90% of audiences attending Telford Film Festival identified as White British.

Knowledge & Experience

The festival has been pivotal in upskilling many of the partner IMPACTS ON: organisations in how to put on pop up film events, including around licensing, equipment, technical production and experience programming and as a result two new community spaces are now showing films on a regular basis.

Social Cohesion

The Festival (and the Telford at 50 celebrations) helped bring a real community spirit to the area and gave people an opportunity to explore new spaces in their town and surrounding areas through the medium of film. We were able to present a diverse range of films to appeal to a wide audience and give them a chance to see things they wouldn’t otherwise get to engage with.

Wellbeing

Cinema attendance can have independent and robust effects on mental wellbeing, film brings people together, starts conversations and breaks down barriers. Visual stimulation can queue a range of emotions and the collective experience of these emotions through the cinema provides a safe environment in which to experience roles and emotions we might not otherwise be free to experience. The festival provided an opportunity for the community to come together, particularly those in isolation, to participate in a communal experience in safe spaces in their local area.

Economy

The festival generated box office income of £8,607 as well as bar and cafe takings at each of the participating venues, this included a Pop-up Prosecco Bar at Telford Centre and a wine- tasting on Telford Steam Railway. 12 artists, musicians and facilitators were engaged to deliver a workshop or performance during the festival and we purposely contracted local talent, where possible.

What audiences said

  • "Live score was excellent and it was nice to have some work from a local school promoted alongside it."
  • "Excellent from start to finish"
  • "Very unusual to have a screening in a church but made for a unique night and atmosphere."
  • "Staggered by the ability of the pianist, interesting and inspirational."
  • "Such great fun!"

What professionals, press and partners said

  • "It has been great to be involved in this Festival. Liz, from the Mary Webb Society, introduced the film and had some excellent displays - lots of people hung around afterwards - and this turned it from a simple screening into an event... an Event! Let's hope it can become a regular part of Telford's calendar! We had a lovely event that felt special." Robert Petty - Gorge Film Club
  • "It was great for the RAF Museum to be involved in the Telford Film Festival and the support we received helped showcase our event and reach new audiences." Karen Crick - RAF Museum Cosford
  • "Wonderful to be a part of the festival to celebrate the town and get involved in something different. We even made front page news! Can’t wait for next year." Beci Bateman - Telford Shopping Centre
  • "Being part of the festival was brilliant and has given me food for thought and now I’m planning films at the steam railway for Halloween." Phil Neal - Telford Steam Railway
  • "Flatpack were a joy to work with, we achieved so much in terms of audience development on a relatively small budget, and the response from venues and partners has been incredibly positive. Plans afoot for 2019!" Psyche Hudson - Telford & Wrekin Council

Press coverage

  • 35 pieces of coverage 1.89M online readership 38.4K estimated coverage views 64 social shares 89.6K circulation https://coveragebook.com/b/ccf7e026