Film Hub Midlands caught up with Daniel Kallin, Vice-president for Warwick Student Cinema after taking members of Warwick Student Cinema to the latest ICO screening days. This is their report on the experience;
Warwick Student Cinema is in the rare position of having its members be simultaneously a young audience and be young people working in cinema exhibition, so the ICO Young Audiences Screening Day sat perfectly at this intersection. With support from a Film Hub Midlands bursary, we attended the lovely, but out-of-the-way, venue of Depot in Lewes (a cinema, as pointedly mentioned in a speech from ICO’s Catharine Des Forges, which was only an idea back when ICO Screening Days began and now exists in reality). It was inspiring to see an independent cinema which felt so contemporary and alive, especially one outside of London.
The event began two days before we headed to Lewes with a few online sessions. One session on international cinema in the UK, ran by Delphine Lievens, inspired our Leeds-based Chief Projectionist to attend the premiere of Shabu at the newly-reopened Hyde Park Picturehouse, and this was before the main Screening Day had even begun!
From the perspective of being a young audience, it was amazing to see how accessible and obtainable independent films can be, and as a young exhibitor, it was great to have an opportunity to engage with people with actual careers in exhibition.
It was reassuring to see that we, as a cinema, were doing many things right in appealing to young audiences (it helps, being based at the heart of the University of Warwick in a lecture theatre, that most of our audience are students) as when Charlotte Ashcroft, in her talk on ‘Aesthetics-led Programming’ suggested cinemas should run their own Letterboxd accounts, we could proudly look at our already-existing one.
Thursday 6th saw us head down to Lewes, where we attended two film screenings, a workshop - and experienced the joys of lunch, drinks, and networking with other people in the cinema industry. We began the day with a screening of Brother. It was an affecting film, and a poignant start to the day. After the first film was a delicious lunch, giving us a chance to speak to the organisers of the event,
Discovering one of them used to volunteer at Warwick Student Cinema back in the day. It was amazing how friendly and welcoming everyone we met was and it really got us excited about being involved with independent cinema.
The second film was the magnificent Scrapper, and we made a note to put both films on our Autumn schedule. After that was a workshop about young people’s careers in cinema, featuring three young people who managed to find said careers. As we were three film students, and a non-film student taken in by the world of 35mm projection, it was a great space to voice our concerns at not seeing any clear-cut career path within film exhibition, and not having an occasion to use valuable skills like 35mm projection in our post-university lives despite these skills being sought after. The speakers told of perseverance and ultimate success in their pursuits of jobs in film exhibition which was very reassuring. The day closed off with a drinks reception where we got to speak to a variety of interesting people.
ICO Screening Days was a great way to discover opportunities within independent cinema which we weren’t aware of and gave us some excellent independent films to place on our schedule. As a group of young people, it was valuable to meet members of the cinema industry and start building connections with them. It was a delight to visit Depot. We will certainly be back again, wherever ICO takes us next!
Daniel Kallin Received a bursary to attend the ICO Young Audience Screening Days at Depot in Lewes.