TWU17: Themes

Conference themes, thoughts and talking points

Remember to get your 2-day delegate pass here.

The 2017 edition of the conference will discuss key questions, setting debate and practical sessions against a backdrop of over-arching themes, outlined below:

THE POWER OF CULTURE

This year’s framing for the conference, in what feels like a period of increasingly dramatic and rapid change; in the film industry, in the country and across the world, where we’ve seen seismic shifts in politics, culture, society and business. The power of culture is colossal, its ability to be transformative, to inspire individuals and connect communities is essential. Held at the end of a hugely transformative year of cultural celebration in Hull, TWU will also examine the practical and wider potential for cultural activity to transform, renew, shape and even displace.

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE

A running theme since 2014, the conference will once again examine disruptive influences affecting the sector, new forms of exhibition and ways independents can capitalise on ever-increasing digitisation and accessible tech. New techno-industrial giants, such as Uber, Netflix and Airbnb, have developed so fast we’ve yet to fully understand their impact. How do we harness new technologies for good, and how do we use design-led thinking and embrace ‘disruptive innovation’ to suit our needs and those of our audiences? Delegates can expect practical demonstrations and the exploration of future trends.

ETHICS AND RESILIENCE

In the tumultuous 12 months since TWU16, TWU17 will ask where cultural organisation’s responsibilities lie in representation, programming, and inclusivity? With increasing pressure on arts to be ‘sustainable’ how do we preserve cultural values from the erosion of commercial pressure? How do we make the case for organisations to take risks, to ‘fail forward’ and to try new ideas? Whether it’s the chronic under-representation of women in the sector, or the #OscarsSoWhite movement, there is still a long way to go when it comes to the morals and ethics of our own industry.

PLACES, SPACES AND GLOBAL COMMUNITY

Cinema is at its heart a collective experience, and one of the art forms with the widest reach. As content proliferates across smaller and ever more portable devices, how does urban infrastructure make space for culture, and places that people can come together? Is there opportunity in digital space and how can we work with collective digitisation to create meaningful, communal experiences? Is a space made up of the people who inhabit it, or do we need to reinvest in capital to ensure future generations connect with culture?

TWU17: News on Programme and Speakers

KEYNOTE AND THEMES FOR THIS WAY UP 2017

Cementing its ambition with a revamped programme of timely discussion themes, the fourth edition of THIS WAY UP (TWU) – the annual film exhibitors’ industry conference – returns this Autumn (7-8 November), hosted by Hull Truck Theatre, in Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

As the BFI Film Audience Network develops, alongside renewed support measures for UK film exhibition, TWU will tackle the big questions and continue making the case for a diverse film culture. With attendance doubled since its first edition, the growing conference will build on three successful previous events, laying down new challenges and opportunities for the independent exhibition sector, and inviting delegates to explore, debate and discover new ways to move the sector forward.

Themes, conference MC and two of the three keynote presenters are now confirmed, with further names and other significant sessions will be announced in September:

Jenny Sealey MBE credit Micha Theiner

First keynote speaker to confirm is Jenny Sealey MBE, winner of the Liberty Human Rights Award and co-director of the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, who has been CEO/Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre since 1997. A force for change in world-class theatre, Graeae is the original disabled-led theatre company which boldly places D/deaf and disabled actors centre stage. Challenging preconceptions and leading the way in pioneering, trail-blazing theatre, Graeae’s signature characteristic is their compelling creative integration of sign language, captioning and audio description. Their work engages brilliantly with both disabled and non-disabled audiences, champions accessibility and provides a platform for new generations of artists. A recognised authority in accessible aesthetics, Graeae works closely with client organisations to inspire and lead best practice – creating, supporting and advising on the development of accessible environments for all theatre lovers, everywhere.

Moira Sinclair credit Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Second keynote speaker is Moira Sinclair, CEO of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF), one of the UK’s largest independent grant-makers, which aims to help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity. PHF has a particular interest in social justice and in supporting young people and has a strong belief in the importance of the arts. Previously, as Executive Director London and South East for Arts Council England, Moira oversaw a portfolio of 322 funded cultural organisations and contributed to national policy development, with a particular focus on the resilience and sustainability of the cultural sector and workforce development. She played a key role supporting the cultural programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and is currently Chair of East London Dance and Vice Chair of the London Mayor’s Cultural Strategy Board. She is also a member of the British Library Advisory Council, of the Investment Committee for the Arts Impact Fund and of the Governing Council for the European Foundation Centre

James Mullighan

The conference will be MC’d by James Mullighan, previous director of the 58th – 61st editions of the Cork Film Festival, and the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival.

James’ impressive resume includes working for;

Shooting People, RESFEST, Cinelan and HBO Europe, and he also serves on the Board of Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival.

 

Conference Themes

The 2017 edition of the conference will discuss key questions, setting debate and practical sessions against a backdrop of over-arching themes, which are:

The Power of Culture

This year’s framing for the conference, in what feels like a period of increasingly dramatic and rapid change; in the film industry, in the country and across the world, where we’ve seen seismic shifts in politics, culture, society and business. The power of culture is colossal, its ability to be transformative, to inspire individuals and connect communities is essential. Held at the end of a hugely transformative year of cultural celebration in Hull, TWU will also examine the practical and wider potential for cultural activity to transform, renew, shape and even displace.

Technological Change

A running theme since 2014, the conference will once again examine disruptive influences affecting the sector, new forms of exhibition and ways independents can capitalise on ever-increasing digitisation and accessible tech. New techno-industrial giants, such as Uber, Netflix and Airbnb, have developed so fast we’ve yet to fully understand their impact. How do we harness new technologies for good, and how do we use design-led thinking and embrace ‘disruptive innovation’ to suit our needs and those of our audiences? Delegates can expect practical demonstrations and the exploration of future trends.

Ethics and Resilience

In the tumultuous 12 months since TWU16, TWU17 will ask where cultural organisation’s responsibilities lie in representation, programming, and inclusivity? With increasing pressure on arts to be ‘sustainable’ how do we preserve cultural values from the erosion of commercial pressure? How do we make the case for organisations to take risks, to ‘fail forward’ and to try new ideas? Whether it’s the chronic under-representation of women in the sector, or the #OscarsSoWhite movement, there is still a long way to go when it comes to the morals and ethics of our own industry.

Places, Spaces and Global Community

Cinema is at its heart a collective experience, and one of the art forms with the widest reach. As content proliferates across smaller and ever more portable devices, how does urban infrastructure make space for culture, and places that people can come together? Is there opportunity in digital space and how can we work with collective digitisation to create meaningful, communal experiences? Is a space made up of the people who inhabit it, or do we need to reinvest in capital to ensure future generations connect with culture?

Building on Hull’s City of Culture year, which has included one of the largest programmes of film activity ever seen in the UK, TWU will examine the place of film and digital arts in wider cultural programmes and the power of film to reach and connect to diverse audiences. Having overseen hundreds of events across the city, Hull 2017 Director Martin Green will talk about the 365-day cultural programme, offering delegates an insight into the important role that culture has to play in transforming cities and the ambition to create a sustainable legacy for Hull.

Martin Green, Director Hull UK City of Culture 2017, said: “Film has been an important strand of our cultural programme. Thanks to BFI Film Hub North, Hull Independent Cinema and our other partners we have seen a vast array of film related activity, which has entertained us, offered commentary on society and a mirror on our lives. It has also opened-up opportunities for people wanting to be involved in this vitally important sector. This Way Up is a wonderful opportunity to share some of the things we have learned as a result of Hull being UK City of Culture and to look at the critical role that culture has in shaping our cities and benefiting the people that live in them.”

2017 Conference partners include: BFI Film Audience Network, British Council, Creative Europe and Screen International (media partner).

Further programme details to be announced in September.

For Press Enquiries contact:

Clare Wilford PR, clare@clarewilford.co.uk, 01668 214923/07545 756462

This Way Up 17: tickets on sale

Buy 2-day Delegate Pass for £95

At TWU HQ, we are busy preparing for the fourth edition of the essential film exhibition conference, THIS WAY UP.

We are currently confirming our keynote speakers and programme information, but in the meantime, all you staunch-This-Way-Uppers can get your hands on 2017 passes for the Early Bird rate of £95, and for those who are yet to attend, we hope you can join us in Hull this year.

THIS WAY UP is the UK film exhibition innovation conference that promises to inspire and enlighten, provoke and challenge, connect and share.

With audience behaviour changing at an accelerating rate it’s more crucial than ever that film exhibitors come together to discuss the pressing issues, to hear about new models, new thinking and new opportunities and to meet each other to share our experiences.

THIS WAY UP offers a unique space where these questions can be addressed and (perhaps) answers will be found. Come and hear about the future of film exhibition before it passes you by.

THIS WAY UP 17 will take place at Hull Truck Theatre on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 November 2017.

Click here to buy your delegate pass.

This Way Up 2016: BUILDING AUDIENCES – STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES

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As part of This Way Up 2016, the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) led practical session ‘Building Audiences: Stories from the Frontlines’.

ICO offer workshop-driven, project-based training programmes for independent film exhibitors who wish to learn how to expand their audiences in a strategic manner, best utilising available resources of money, expertise and time.

In this TWU session, past participants – Catherine Mugonyi (Winter Gardens Film Festival), Jessie Moroney (Centre for the Moving Image), Kate Wood & Catherine O’Sullivan (Dreamland Cinema) – share insights gleaned from ICO’s Practical Programming course, including programming and marketing strategies they’ve implemented to build audiences, and techniques and actions you can easily apply in your cinema or festival.

Watch the full session below:

Image: This Way Up 16, Eoin Carey

This Way Up 17: Save the dates

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We’re delighted to announce that This Way Up 17 will take place in Hull on Tuesday 7 & Wednesday 8 November 2017. Put the dates in your diary and Delegate Passes will go on sale in June.

In the meantime take a look at the highlights from 2016 in this short video. This Way Up 16 took place in Glasgow on 29 & 30 November 2016 with over 310 delegates and contributors engaging in 25 sessions, workshops, talks and events.

Image: This Way Up 16, Eoin Carey

This Way Up 16: Watch our three keynote talks

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As a pre-Christmas treat we’re sharing the three keynote talks from TWU16 on YouTube. Our inspiring keynotes generously shared their ideas and experience, exploring the key themes of the conference: the problem with abundance, the future of storytelling, hacking the back office and the power of place.

Watch Bobby Allen’s talk:
Caring is the cure: solving the paradox of choice in the digital universe. Or, how a trip to a local video rental shop changed our fortunes

VP of Content for MUBI, Bobby explores the ways in which the digital universe is fundamentally changing human behaviour and argues that cinephiles need to work together to maintain the special status of cinema.


Watch Johanna Koljonen’s talk:
Bodies, Spaces & Communities: Designing Cinemas (& VR)

Editor of the Nostradamus Project, Johanna offers some experience design tools to help you create the film culture you yearn for. She also discusses the similarities between the challenges currently facing VR filmmakers and cinema exhibitors.


Watch Dawn Walton’s talk:
The Power of Place

Founder/Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company, Dawn asks how the venues/spaces exhibitors use affect audience engagement and attract (or repel) the audiences we seek to reach. And what are a creative organisation’s roles and responsibilities within their community?

All videos published so far can be accessed on our TWU YouTube channel. We’ll be sharing more in the new year – look out for videos of the RE/Mixing it, The Editorialists, Cities, The Problem with Abundance and ICO’s Building Audiences sessions.

Happy Christmas and New Year from the TWU Team!

Images: This Way Up 16, Eoin Carey

This Way Up 2016: Micro-moments, Moments of Truth & Lifetime Value

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If you missed this practical training session from Culture Republic during This Way Up 16, catch up now on the latest tools and trends in online audience engagement.

Culture Republic provide the insights that arts and cultural organisations need to identify and understand their audiences. Using three key trends in online audience engagement, this session from Colan Mehaffey and Ashley Smith-Hammond will help you explore practical techniques for reaching audiences with the right message at the right time. They  look at: Moments of Truth when people share their experience with their networks; Micro-moments that are mobile, immediate and impulse driven and Lifetime Value – the longer term value of an audience member’s increasing relationship with your organisation.

Watch the full session below:

Image: This Way Up 16, Eoin Carey

This Way Up 2016: Amanda Nevill introduces BFI 2022

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We were pleased to welcome Amanda Nevill, CEO of the British Film Institute (BFI), to This Way Up 16 to present BFI 2022. Amanda talked about the contents of the new strategy, which covers 2017-2022, and focused in particular on its significance to audience development in the UK.

A useful summary of Amanda’s talk appears on The Bigger Picture website and you can watch her full talk below:

Image: This Way Up 16, Eoin Carey

This Way Up 2016: Roger Ross Williams in Conversation

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On the UK release of moving documentary Life, Animated, watch filmmaker Roger Ross Williams in conversation with Janice Forsyth, BBC Radio Scotland presenter, about his career and the impact of factual storytelling within and beyond the cinema.

A talented documentary filmmaker, Williams first emerged on the scene when his uplifting short, Music by Prudence, won an Oscar in 2010. He has since gone on to direct a series of acclaimed documentary features and his latest, Life, Animated, has won multiple awards worldwide including the coveted Directing Award: Documentary at Sundance earlier this year.

Image: This Way Up 16, Eoin Carey

This Way Up 2016: Personal ‘Realities’ and the Communal Experience

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Speakers: Tom Grater (Screen International – chair), Melanie Iredale (Sheffield Doc/Fest), Johanna Koljonen (Nostradamus Project), Jörg Tittel (Oiffy)

“The consensus” suggests Tom Grater, “is most VR is shit”. Indeed, it seems to be the one thing everyone on the panel is happy to agree on. One other is that it’s an embryonic art form, with huge and wide-reaching implications. And anyway, as Jörg Tittel, co-director of the upcoming The White King (in cinemas January 2017!), counters “Most cinema is shit as well.”

In a lively discussion, the cutting edge of virtual and augmented reality work is discussed, and the implications for the communal cinema experience and, by extension, cinema venues. Tom Grater, chairing, sets the scene with reference to VR’s major presence at festivals like Sundance and Cannes, serious directors and big Hollywood productions (The Martian, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) embracing VR, the burgeoning market for affordable consumer headsets, the first dedicated VR cinema in Amsterdam and IMAX’s commitment to opening dedicated cinemas in the next few years. Perhaps the highest profile recent use of the medium, and also demonstrated for TWU attendees just previously to the panel, is Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness.

Melanie Iredale of Sheffield Doc/Fest explains that while the market is currently dominated by “advertising, not-necessarily-innovative gaming and pornography”, everyone is experimenting. Doc/Fest in particular are interested in “the opportunity it affords to tell stories that need to be told,” of which Notes on Blindness is a prime example. However, as she explained, although the novelty of trying on the goggles for the (standalone) VR experience led to an avowed intention to see the film, that didn’t translate reliably into ticket sales. The caveat there being that while projects like the one tied to the release of The Martian are designed to drive sales, NoB: Into Darkness is a work of art in its own right. Johanna Koljonen suggests its success is because it’s one of the relatively few projects where the viewer’s perspective is relevant to the work.

Jorg, however, takes a dim view of the future of the cinematic VR experience in general. “Right now, we’re at the novelty stage… Ultimately, putting on a headset with 1,000 other people is probably going to put people off. I’m not a germaphobe, but…” Discussion turns to the presentation of these works in existing cinema spaces, which are not optimised for many VR experiences (which themselves are still varied in terms of form) with different demands of geography and processing power and which may require rotating chairs, or better, wholly bespoke environments. Add to which, Johanna points out, there’s no consistency across platforms.

And yet, the more people do it, Jorg maintains, the more quality they will expect. NoB fits the current restrictions of the format, but the longer, the more expensive and budget and investment are currently more restrictive than comfort. The future is more likely in augmented reality. Imagine, he says, five years down the road, a regular 2D movie screening to an audience with AR headsets. The same film is presented to those without – traditional films for traditional viewers – but an augmented version screens simultaneously. The appeal for traditional venues is that no new hardware is required. “VR inside cinemas is a fad, VR and cinemas is the future… We’ll all be living in an augmented and mixed reality. As soon as we start walking across that bridge…the sooner we will all thrive.”

Written by Sean Welsh. Image: This Way Up 16, Eoin Carey.