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!
On 1 April - and easily distinguishable from some of the excellent April Fool's jokes this year - the Guardian published a letter from Christoph on the health of UK cinema exhibition, written in response to a letter (here) from the CEO of the UK Cinema Association, Phil Clapp.
We await Phil's response...
Read Christoph's letter here.
Open Cinema is one of the judges on the film section of this year's Deutsche Bank DBACE awards for creative enterprise. Winners to be announced in April....
Open Cinema this month launches new community cinemas at the St Mungo's Recovery College and at Evolve Housing in Bromley. Ed Stoppard (The Pianist, Upstairs Downstairs) was on hand to help launch Open Cinema Bromley, presenting short film Mate and chatting to members about acting for video games, and how to take the first steps into the industry. Later in the month we'll be opening a groundbreaking community cinema at the St Mungo's Recovery College. More on this to follow...
Great news reached us from GHP Pharma in Australia where we'd won two awards in the international Social Care Awards 2017, for Social Enterprise Communications Excellence, and for Best Media for Development Company 2017. Thanks to everyone who nominated us and to the panel at GHP. This one goes out to our communities!
Following the film we made to celebrate the launch of the Power to Change Institute (you can watch it here), Open Cinema has made two more films for the community business-focused lottery fund, and has four more in production. We'll post links to these as they're released.
This month also sees the publication of the Institute's report on the Community Business Market. The report was composed by researchers at Social Finance, and we contributed data and analysis along with colleagues at Bigger Picture Research and Arts Council England. You can find more on the report over on our Impact page.
The Open Cinema has bagged the top RSA Scaling Catalyst Award, from a competitive field of over 30 fast-growing social enterprises. Worth £10,000, the award has helped us develop the new foundation website (launching soon, with support from the amazing Assemble), and co-author a bid with a lottery fund to create a national network of community businesses. We'll be blogging in December about the work the award has supported, and look forward to seeing it boost our impact in 2017 and beyond.