This Way Up, the UK’s annual film exhibition conference, will focus on themes of Community, Culture, Accountability and Resilience for its first digital edition, taking place 1-3 December. A new online platform will host the event, offering delegates a space to network, re-watch sessions and tune in to the live conference. After a tumultuous year for the sector and the impact of COVID-19 on cinema across the world, the programme’s focus is structured around supportive, constructive sessions assessing how delegates can work together and collaborate as the industry reflects and rebuilds.

BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts will deliver an opening talk on the state of play in the cinema exhibition industry; addressing the challenges of this year but also celebrating the achievements and progress made across the sector as we look towards 2021.

Gower Street Box Office Analyst Delphine Lievens will chair a panel made up of representatives from production, distribution and exhibition, discussing Black-led films that are produced and released theatrically in the UK and the barriers that prevent them from achieving box office success. Programmer Reba Martin will chair Reframing Recruitment, a discussion of new and inclusive approaches to entry points and recruitment practice in the exhibition sector.

Representatives from We Shall Not Be Removed will present their Seven Principles for Inclusive Recovery, focused on making the arts truly accessible to all audiences and workers. A session on streaming services and their relationship with cinemas will see Anna Germanidi from Modern Films speaking with Nia Edwards-Behi (Abertoir Horror Festival) and chair Claire Vaughan (Chapter, Cardiff) about Modern’s Virtual Cinema model and the pivot to online film festivals.

We’ll take a look back at the history of Pandemic and Cinema with BFI Curator Bryony Dixon, who will deliver an illustrated talk documenting the reactions to pandemic during the 1918-19 Spanish Flu pandemic, on-screen and off - with clips from the BFI Archive. There’ll be a conversation about freelancing in film exhibition with representatives from Dial F for Freelancer, Excluded UK and Museum Freelance, and further sessions covering Governance, workers’ rights and safeguarding in the industry.

BFI Head of UK Audience Ben Luxford chairs a panel looking at the ecosystem of the industry from production to programming with Caroline Hennigan (Programme Director, Broadway Nottingham), Ashanti McIntosh (Head of Acquisitions, Studiocanal UK) and Bennett McGhee (Producer/Co-Founder, Home Team).

This Way Up provides a much needed opportunity for our industry to reflect on recent experiences and devise strategies to take us forward with renewed vigour. Through sharing insights and creative collaboration, we strengthen our ability to engage and serve a wide audience, recruit and retain a diverse workforce, and consider changing models of exhibition.

Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences

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Bursaries

As a member of the Hub, you can apply for bursaries to attend conferences, industry events and film festivals.

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Resources and opportunities

BFI NETWORK host events and programmes throughout the year, including industry talks, screenings, talent development courses and networking events

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BFI NETWORK X Film Hub Midlands: Creating Narratives for Short Form Animation.

Join us for this panel discussion hosted by Abigail Addison of Animator Projects.

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