Our CEO Christoph participated in a panel on Worldviews at Work as part of Ten Years After The Crash, a whole-day event at the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London. Other contributors to the day included former chancellor Ed Balls, former Downing Street communications director Alistair Campbell, and commentators Martin Wolf and Robert Peston.
Also on the Worldviews panel, moderated by Goldsmith University's Maria Power, were Paula Vennells, CEO of the Post Office, and Asif Sadiq MBE, head of diversity and inclusiveness at EY.
We were thrilled to be asked to present at the beautifully-organised Video for Good conference at Google UK HQ in London's Kings Cross.
Our presentation was on participatory video, and how charities can use the method to engage both supported people and staff in a creative process exploring issues of shared importance.
While at Google we were given a tour of their YouTube studios, where were impressed to find diverse local students and community members making free use of their world-class media facilities.
You can view the slides from the presentation here.
In the lead-up to our presentation of the Macmillan / Mental Health Foundation film at the BFI in National Inclusion Week 2018, we joined the working group of Access VFX, a grouping of world-leading visual effects and animation studios seeking to make their recruitment practices as inclusive and reflective of diversity as possible. As one Oscar-winning employer remarked, "the more diversity, the more talent". More on this thread to follow...
This month our filmmaker Paul James Furlong completed work for Power to Change on This is Liverpool, a film exploring the remarkable stories of community business success in the city.
These are stories of community groups who have not stood by while urban decay progresses where state and private business have failed, but taken ownership and management into their own and their communities' hands. Organisations covered included Granby Four Streets, The Baltic Triangle, Homebaked, The Florrie and Alt Valley Trust.
You can read a blog here on the topic by Mark Gordon, Communications Director at Power to Change, the national lottery fund for community business, for whom Open Cinema has been producing a series of impact and advocacy films. The completed film can be watched here.
Representing Open Cinema International, the foundation's technology company, our CEO Christoph was in the audience of a talk at The RSA in London by MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson.
The focus was his new book, Machine, Platform, Crowd, co-authored with Andrew McAfee, about the history, current state and future potential of technology for individuals and communities. The binaries the book presents are between Mind and Machine, Product and Platform, Individual and Crowd, and it suggests a balance between each each is vital amid a general shift from former to latter in each category.
In the Q&A, Christoph asked the author if a tendency towards monopoly in technology economies was innate, and whether instead a gearing towards inclusive economy could be sought. Brynjolffson did not, in Christoph's view, provide a satisfactory answer, suggesting that societies were the net winners even from tech monopolism.
An extract from the talk can be seen here.
This month we commenced a six month funded mentoring programme with Black Country Touring, who bring professional theatre and dance to local communities across the Black Country and West Midlands of the UK. They are increasingly offering community cinema, and will be consulting Open Cinema for the rest of this year on methods of participatory delivery and impact reporting.
On 9 July, members of the Open Cinema team were present for a community screening of "Tomorrow", a French, crowd-funded documentary on local solutions to the environmental crisis. 30 local people attended the event at the Best Western Hotel in Tiverton, Devon, and after a screening a lively debate about next steps ensued.
We encouraged the organisers to propose a screening for the Tiverton Town Council, which subsequently took place, with channels of communication now active between event organisers Tiverton Area Communities Transition and councillors with responsibility in these areas.
The trailer of the film can be seen here.
After almost two years of development, work started this month on a groundbreaking partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support, the Mental Health Foundation and Open Cinema.
The project - "Good Together" - will offer fourteen people affected by cancer and mental health difficulties a 12-week course in both filmmaking and peer mentoring skills. Participants will have the opportunity to devise and produce a film of their own, informed by a safe space of mutual discussion, insight and support.
The resulting film will presented at the BFI, alongside further skills and career development opportunities. We look forward to reporting back on this one!
By OC CEO Christoph warrack
I pulled the short straw and flew to Helsinki last week for meetings with the Open Cinema Finland team!
followed by a drive to Sodankyla, passing my first reindeer friends
for three days at the fabled Midnight Sun Film Festival.
Founded by the late Peter von Bagh with Aki Kaurismakï, and now in its 32nd year, the festival has hosted filmmakers including Francis Coppola, Agnes Varda, Victor Erice, Werner Herzog, Abbas Kiarostami, and many others intrepid enough to make the trip, all rewarded by the other-worldly light of Lapland at this time of year.
The sun doesn't set over the festival, so the screenings - of hand-picked Finnish, new international and archive cinema continue through the night. The undisputed highlight was a presentation of the 1925 "Phantom of the Opera" with a barnstorming Lon Chaney as the Phantom, and a live orchestral score.
We were staying with friends of OC Finland CEO Jaana Merenmies, at the forested lodge of the chief medical office of Lapland. After a long day at the festival, dinner would start at around midnight, followed by a sauna and then a walk across the rose-lit hilltops.
I'm looking forward to the office draw to visit Midnight Sun in 2018...
Three years after a presentation (on 'distributed innovation') at the European Social Franchising Network Conference in Gothenburg, Open Cinema is thrilled to announce the launch of our first country-level franchise: Open Cinema Finland. Working with a great team led by experienced social entrepreneur Jaana Merenmies, the first venues will be launching in Helsinki in early 2018, followed by further sub-franchise venues and networks.
As it celebrates its first hundred years, Finland has a hard-won international reputation for social equity and innovation. We are extremely proud to be launching our first franchise in this wooded Nordic country of 5.5m and 100k lakes, where - our favourite fact of 2017 - there are more saunas than cars!