Open Cinema

  • Over thirty peer organisations who work with the arts to improve the lives of homeless people met at Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to share ideas, experience, fellowship and plans. The project has emerged from the Homeless Link-led Get Creative (download report here) to whose advisory committee Open Cinema was a contributor. We look forward to the next quarterly meeting, to welcoming new members, and fostering a national and international movement of arts/homeless practicioners.

  • St Mungo's in Chancery Lane, London, have been running a season called How to Chane the World, featuring classics like Dr Strangelove, Big, and the 3hr 30mins Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. But the centrepiece took place on August 29 when Grierson-winning director Jerry Rothwell (Deep Water, Town of Runners) appeared to introduce and discuss his documentary history of Greenpeace, the Sundance-winning How to Change the World, which opened Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2015. Our regulars, some of whom remembered the first actions Greenpeace took to stop whaling and artic drilling, engaged Jerry in conversation about the film, the season, and the world.

  • On 4 July, the BFI hosted the first Open Cinema Digital Pathways Showcase. 60 delegates from over 20 organisations watched four short films from two groundbreaking new 'tech inclusion' programmes on which Open Cinema has been working with partners including the Tinder Foundation, Homeless Link, Evolve Housing + Support, Richmond-upon-Thames College, Living Networks, and with support from funders the Big Lottery Fund and Cisco Systems.

    A panel made up of leaders from these organisations engaged in lively discussion of the issues of digital skills and an inclusive economy with an audience of programme participants and other invited guests following the screenings. Refreshments were served to an electronica soundtrack and much constructive hobnobbing took place.

  • George Bageya, our outstanding cinema and peer mentoring coordinator at the Evolve Open Cinemas in Stockwell and Croydon won the Apprentice of the Year award for the London region in the Chartered Institute of Housing's Housing Heroes Awards. He then went on to win the national award at the annual ceremony in Manchester on 27 June. The award was presented by broadcaster and former member of parliament Gyles Brandreth. Hats off to George!

  • Open Cinema's latest Enterprise Film Programme - training young people excluded from education, work and training in life, media and enterprise skills, launched at Cisco Systems in Feltham, in partnership with Living Networks. The programme runs for 12 weeks, and offers participants the opportunity to graduate to a paid, accredited, three-year apprenticeship at Cisco Systems.

    Work created through this and the Reboot UK programme (see this page next month) will be showcased at BFI Southbank on 4 July 2016. To attend, please email

  • 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.

    Download Report

  • ​December 2015 - OC meets the Prince of Wales

    • Posted on 10th Dec
    • Category: Blog

    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".

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