South West Film Festival Forum

On the 11th July 2019 Film Hub South West held its first South West Film Festival Forum at the Forge in Bristol.

The forum brought together representatives from 18 regional and local film festivals to share expertise, exchange ideas and work towards developing a more connected and collaborative film festival network across the South West.


The day started with an overview of the festivals in the room, their individual strengths and successes and the particular challenges they each faced, from attracting young audiences to reaching capacity at their venues.

The opening key note from Melanie Iredale, Interim Director of Sheffield Doc Fest asked festivals to consider the roles and responsibilities of the exhibition sector to champion internationalism and diversity of voices in cinema. From seeking authenticity in global storytelling to representing working class stories, Melanie offered some suggestions as well as provocation for how we can tackle homogeneity – on screen, behind the camera, and in our own festival teams.

Louise Fox from Cornwall Film Festival shared best practice in working with young people and talked about how developing a strategic plan can impact young audiences and build a stronger sector.

Rich Warren from Encounters talked about strengthening your offer and building recognition through collaboration & international partnerships.

FilmBath’s Holly Tarquini gave examples of effective and affordable marketing techniques and awareness raising campaigns for film festivals.

Julie Sharman from Purbeck Film Festival talked about PFF’s approach to extending the Festival into rural venues and developing local partnerships to grow the festival and its audience impact in the region.

Film Hub Members can access all the presentations from the Forum here.


Some comments from participants in the forum:

The presentations and discussions were full of inspiration and fresh ideas which have sparked discussion between our festival team

I learned about opportunities offered at other festivals and think we can take some of these ideas on board and look at incorporating similar initiatives at our festival

I definitely made useful contacts and am in touch with some people already knowledge sharing/cross promotion

I gained confidence as an exhibitor as it reassured me we are running similar events in some ways as many others in the country and that our festivals are extremely valuable, however hard the challenges

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