Open Cinema International's new digital platform for community cinema powered its first ticketed screening, at the Impact Hub Westminster. Ping Pong (2012), directed by Anson and Hugh Hartford, tells the story of eight participants of the World Over 80s Table Tennis Championships. The screening was preceded by an exhibition match - and open challenge! - by members of the Veterans English Table Tennis Society (VETTS), and followed by a Q&A with the players and producer Beadie Finzi.
On 15 March, The Royal Institute of Arts Manufacturing and Commerce held a packed gathering on the ultra-live topic of the sharing economy. OC CEO Christoph Warrack was there to present on Open Cinema as a sharing economy platform alongside great social ventures Lend and Tend, LiftShare, Library of Things and GrubClub. The RSA's senior researcher in the economy, enterprise and manufacturing team Brhmie Balaram was there to summarise research they have recently published (here) into developments in this area.
OC International is currently raising its seed equity round, and was glad this month to confirm Creative England as the first investor, through its Strategic Partnerships Fund, with funds originating in the BFI Lottery Film Fund.
In October 2015, Dr Clive James Nwonka (see Team) joined Open Cinema as its first Impact Director. In November, he presented a paper on Open Cinema at the Salford Media Festival.
This paper develops the work - within a rigorously academic framework - of mapping the contours of our work as a catalyst for community development. More reports in this line of enquiry may be expected in 2016.
Open Cinema, a supported venture on the Business in the Community arc programme, was featured in a showcase to celebrate the creation of 1,000 jobs through the programme. During the event, HRH the Prince of Wales stopped to ask our CMO Ben Hirsch about our work, the kind of centres we work in and the pricing we're able to offer community members, and concluded that our work was "fantastic".
The Key Fund have published their Impact Report for 2015, which discloses a record-breaking year of lending to social businesses, and the fact they are now the UK's biggest social investor by deal volume. Open Cinema was supported by the Key Fund through the Dotforge Impact accelerator, and was subsequently the recipient of second-stage investment by the fund. You can view or download the report here, and the feature on OC on pp23-4.
At a glittering ceremony on 24 September, a brilliant, multi-field team of lawyers from international practice Latham & Watkins LLP's London office have been awarded the top Lawyer of the Year award for their work with Open Cinema. Hyo Joo Kim, Aoife McCabe, Katie Peek and Frances Stock were honoured for their focused and complex guidance of the evolution of Open Cinema over a two-year period from a non-profit structure to a group comprising a charitable foundation and a for-profit digital company. Open Cinema will be presenting at their office in the City of London in late October on the latest developments and the impact the collaboration has had.
Non-stop action at OC HQ this month. Christoph signed the Founders Pledge at Founders Forum, committing 5% of personal revenues from any future exit to frontline development causes. We also presented on Open Cinema's participatory filmmaking programmes at the international Visual Methods Conference in Brighton. Later OC took part in a social innovation brainstorm hosted by the brilliant Swarm for Macmillan.
The summer of 15 has been spent building the team, further developing the forthcoming digital platform, and preparing our first international market entries (beyond the UK and Ireland). We've been receiving amazing support on these developments from the Impact Hub Scaling Programme.
At the conclusion of the Dotforge Impact accelerator, Open Cinema was one of ten ventures presenting prototype platforms to investors at the super-swish London headquarters of Bloomberg. Subsequently Open Cinema received a seed funding commitment from the social investor The Key Fund.