Dial F For Freelancer Launches Online, Making Space for Valuable Voices in Film Exhibition and Distribution

Thursday 8th October 2020: A network boasting over 250 members has unveiled their dedicated space celebrating the massive talents represented by the freelance cohort of the UK’s film exhibition and distribution sectors. Dial F for Freelancer is led by film freelancers for their peers, sharing past projects and reaching potential clients. Dial F for Freelancer is the first of its kind and the only dedicated space for freelancers working in film distribution and exhibition.

The current unfolding news regarding the future of film exhibition highlights the pressing need for this platform to exist. Whilst the film industry relies on freelancers, there are currently no formal structures to support them collectively:

“…more than half of the industry workforce are freelancers or mix freelance work with periods of employment. Freelancers are the lifeblood of our industry, yet they don’t have access to the benefits, security or workplace support of permanent employees.” – The Whole Picture Programme Report – The Film and TV Charity, 2020

The Dial F for Freelancer platform has been developed with the needs of freelancers at the forefront to celebrate the sector’s unique skills. The founding members are looking to reduce the barriers and labour to finding paid work by creating an ever-growing network of freelancers.

The grassroots-led project places the platform in the hands of the users rather than a third party. Users control their pitch and profile, choosing the projects of which they’re proudest to showcase. Members of Dial F for Freelancer are also supported with resources, contacts and opportunities to collaborate.

The origins of this concept began during discussions at This Way Up 2019 (the UK’s film exhibition industry conference), a sidebar talk for freelancers led by Toki Allison spoke about the need for an informal network to be created to provide peer to peer support and reduce the feelings of isolation which are prevalent in freelancing. In March 2020 as freelancers began to lose work due to the pandemic, Allison, along with Moira McVean and Jo Taylor-Hitchinson decided to make the network a reality.

Initially a Facebook group set up to support freelancers affected by the onset of the lockdown attracted over 250 members and the trio realised a more formal platform was needed. They were awarded a Community Grant from The Film and TV Charity and have gained further industry support which has allowed them to create the Dial F for Freelancer platform.

The Dial F for Freelancer Steering Group, comprising eight freelancers working in the sector, have worked with a developer to design and launch Dial F For Freelancer to the industry.

This project has been supported by The Film and TV Charity’s Community Grants, a fund from the Film Distributors’ Association, and with further contributions from film distributors, including Altitude Film Distribution, Bohemia Media and eOne. The new platform endeavours to celebrate the wealth of talent and expertise represented across the network, whilst also creating a warm and welcoming space for freelancers working in exhibition and distribution to build their profiles and networks in an effective and easy way. They also plan to build a collective public presence and signpost available support for members.

Jo Taylor, co-founder of Dial F for Freelancer said:

My freelance career has been powered by collaboration and with the invaluable support of my peers. Creating a network such as this has been an aspiration of mine for a long time and so it’s gratifying to be working with colleagues and supporters who feel the same. It is so exciting to see Dial F for Freelancer come to fruition giving our sector the spotlight it deserves.

Andy Leyshon, Chief Executive, Film Distributors’ Association said:

The varied nature of the films FDA members distribute are often reliant upon project-focused freelance expertise across film booking, marketing and publicity specialities. Freelancers have been hit especially hard across the film ecosystem lately and we are pleased to support this worthwhile initiative during these challenging times.

Mark Jones, Head of Publicity, Altitude Media Group said:

Freelancers have played an integral role in several of Altitude’s releases and it’s been brilliant for us to be able to collaborate with a range of dynamic individuals. We know one of the greatest challenges of freelancing is the absence of close knit ‘colleagues’ to introduce new ways of thinking, building skills and further opportunities. Dial F for Freelancer is the perfect dedicated platform to offer that expanded network to those in the industry and also give distributors such as ourselves the opportunity to discover new talent to work with us on our releases.

Timon Singh, Campaigns Manager, Film Hub South West said:

For the BFI FAN New Release scheme, freelancers have been invaluable both to venues and distributors. Venues are often short-staffed, so having someone available to help with social media marketing and promoting the film has been incredibly useful for many. For distributors, freelancers also help to give their titles a fighting chance in an increasingly populated marketplace by promoting their films in more rural venues and organising events around screenings that make them stand-out from the crowd.

Anthony & Teanne Andrews, co-founders, We Are Parable said:

The need for a platform that can bring together freelancers who work in either film exhibition and/or distribution is absolutely essential. It provides the industry with a key place to seek out a wide variety of talented people, enabling opportunities to be visible for all, as well as offering freelancers a network to keep informed of an ever changing sector.

Anna Navas, Director and Programmer, Plymouth Arts Centre said:

Here at PAC we really value the work that freelancers do and have worked with many on different projects over the years. What they bring is new energy, insights and a whole world of different experiences and ways of working. What that does is invigorate organisations in a way that should be celebrated. The work they do is invaluable to the independent exhibition sector.

Dial F for Freelancer
Launched in October 2020, Dial F for Freelancer is the UK’s only freelancer platform solely spotlighting those working in film exhibition and distribution. The platform includes a directory of industry professionals, showcases available opportunities and works with industry organisations to signpost support services for our members.

To access our logos click here.

The Film and TV Charity
The Film and TV Charity works behind the scenes of the film, television and cinema industry in the UK. From research to writing, through casting and production, to editing, publicity, distribution, broadcast and exhibition, the charity supports the lives of everyone involved.

The Film and TV Charity was founded as the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund in 1924 and later became the Cinema & Television Benevolent Fund. Alex Pumfrey was appointed CEO in 2017 and the organisation and embarked on a bold new mission to extend its reach and impact, commissioning ground-breaking research into the mental wellbeing of workers in UK film and TV and founding the Film and TV Taskforce on Mental Health to co-fund and co-create the Whole Picture Programme, a bold action plan for better mental health in the industry.

The charity’s free and confidential Support Line 0800 054 00 00 provides 24-hour support for everyone working behind the scenes in the industry on issues such as debt, depression and harassment.

Registered charity no. 1099660. Find out more at www.filmtvcharity.org.uk and follow @filmtvcharity

Film Distributors’ Association (FDA)
The Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) represents the interests of film distributors in the UK and Ireland. Its membership ranges from Hollywood studios to independent operators and is responsible for 99% of all films released theatrically in the territory. The FDA’s mission is to actively support their member companies with all of the assistance and advocacy they need, in order to maximise their individual business opportunities and reach the broadest theatrical audience possible. www.filmdistributorsassociation.com

Altitude Film Distribution
Altitude Media Group is the independent UK based studio led by Will Clarke chairman and joint-CEO with Andy Mayson, comprising of Altitude Film Production, Altitude Film Sales with Managing Director Mike Runagall, Altitude Film Distribution with Managing Director Hamish Moseley and Altitude Factual with Managing Director Paul Sowerbutts. In February 2020 US based investment group 30WEST took a significant minority stake in the group.

Since launching in 2013 Altitude Film Distribution have proudly supported talented filmmakers and given their films the dynamic and bold releases they deserve.

To date Altitude have championed over 100 films, ranging from the Academy and BAFTA award winning Moonlight, 20 Feet From Stardom, Amy, I Am Not Your Negro and through to critically acclaimed The Florida Project, Lady Macbeth, Beast, The Rider, Whitney and more.

Altitude’s recent releases include the acclaimed Rocks, Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged, Ladj Ly’s Academy-Award nominated Les Misérables, Nick Rowland’s critically acclaimed Calm With Horses, Simon Bird’s Days of the Bagnold Summer, Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans, Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona, Charlie Lightening and Gavin Fitzgerald’s Liam Gallagher: As It Was, A Private War starring Rosamund Pike, Black Water Abyss directed by Andrew Traucki, Jonah Hill’s Mid90s, Little Monsters starring Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad, David Fairhead’s Armstrong and Brian Welsh’s Beats. Altitude also partnered with the WWF on the global event release of DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET, which became the widest ever released documentary in the UK and Ireland on 28 September.

Forthcoming releases include Totally Under Control directed by Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan & Suzanne Hillinger. Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan from director Julien Temple, Chasing Chaplin from BAFTA nominees Peter Middleton and James Spinney, Tina Turner from Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, Archenemy from Adam Egypt Mortimer, Quentin Dupieux’s Mandibles, TIFF award-winning Night of the Kings from Philippe Lacôte, Mathieu Turi’s Meander and Ari Folman’s Where Is Anne Frank? http://www.altitudefilment.com/

Bohemia Media
Bohemia Media is a London-based production and distribution company, representing film, TV, performance and theatre arts. Launched by Phil Hunt, managing director of UK-based Bankside Films and Head Gear Films, and Producer Lucy Fenton, it focuses on projects made by under-represented groups.

A production, financing and talent management hub for creatives which champions diversity and supports individual voices. Bohemia Media aims to amplify the stories told by folk from marginalised groups which are not well-served within mainstream culture and might otherwise struggle to find finance. We bring in investors on a project-by-project basis, which will be cause-focussed rather than for profits.

Bohemia is where great stories come first. It has launched with a slate of projects including Halle Berry’s directorial debut BRUISED and biographical documentary REBEL DREAD, which tells the story of director and D.J. Don Letts and received its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in February 2020. http://www.bohemiamedia.co.uk/

Entertainment One (eOne)
Entertainment One (eOne) is a talent-driven independent studio that specializes in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. As part of global play and entertainment company Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS), eOne’s expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales; family brands; digital content; and live entertainment. Through its extensive reach and scale, and a deep commitment to high-quality entertainment,

eOne unlocks the power and value of creativity. eOne brings to market both original and existing content, sourcing IP from Hasbro’s portfolio of 1500+ brands, and through a diversified network of creative partners and eOne companies including: international feature film distribution company Sierra/Affinity; Amblin Partners with DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; Makeready with Brad Weston; unscripted television production companies Renegade 83, Daisybeck, Blackfin and Whizz Kid Entertainment; live entertainment leaders Round Room Live; world-class music companies Audio Network, Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; and award-winning emerging content and technology studio Secret Location.

Presented by:
Dial F for Freelancer www.dialfforfreelancer.com

With Support from:
Film Distributors’ Association (FDA)
Altitude Film Entertainment
Bohemia Media

This project has been supported by The Film and TV Charity’s Community Grants.

For more information please contact:
Dial F for Freelancer
Anna Kime, Jo Taylor-Hitchinson: hello@dialfforfreelancer.com