NEW BFI FAN WEBSITE TO NURTURE INCLUSIVE CINEMA ACROSS THE UK
The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), led by Film Hub Wales, is launching inclusivecinema.org, the UK’s first website dedicated to the evolution of diverse film culture.The accessible website is designed to help cinema audiences, who might find cinema access tricky, or may not feel represented by the big screen. It will enable screen exhibitors, from cinemas, to film festivals and community halls, to create welcoming spaces, with skilled staff that are more approachable for diverse film communities.
During its launch phase, exhibitors can find over 300 resources, including how-to-guides and first-hand stories to support audiences that identify with: migration, autism and neurodiversity, dementia, mental health, ethnicity, LGBTQ+, D/deaf or hard of hearing, visual impairment, disability, rural, women, young people, and lower-income. The website is a developing resource.
The site was created in response to a BFI FAN survey in 2017, across the 1500+ membership. Despite many operators running far-reaching and impactful access projects, many members felt there were barriers; from limited knowledge of partners, to programming, funds, staff confidence, a lack of time and lack of equipment or space.
The site showcases the wealth of knowledge already existing across UK screens and within BFI FAN, which celebrates its fifth birthday in 2018. It also benefits from collaborations with specialist organisations, such as the UK Cinema Association, Alzheimer’s Society, The New Black Film Collective, Scottish Queer International Film Festival, a Oska Bright Film Festival. Over 150 key contacts can be found on the site.
inclusivecinema.org is designed to give the user an accessible experience. It aims to achieve Level AA conformance to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 throughout the site and AAA where possible.
Inclusive Cinema is led by Film Hub Wales (FHW) as part of the FAN UK-wide strategy to improve diversity and inclusion for all. The BFI FAN network of eight strategic partners is supported by the BFI with National Lottery funding to and enable new opportunities for audiences to see and enjoy a broader range of films.
Toki Allison, Film Audience Network Access Officer explains:
“The Inclusive Cinema project asks exhibitors to get into a dialogue with audiences through networking and training. We believe that the thriving indie cinema sector can position itself as a leader in this field. So much incredible work is already being done with audiences across the UK. Programmers are working closely with grassroots communities. From Glasgow Film Theatre’s Access Film Club, which offers relaxed screenings to support those with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and learning disabilities, to Gentle/Radical Film Club, who work with migrant, refugee communities and women of colour in Cardiff.”
Hana Lewis, Film Hub Wales Strategic Manager says:
“Film exhibition specialists told us that there wasn’t one central space to learn about, or grow their awareness of inclusivity and the additional needs of audiences, meaning that excellent projects were happening but provision was fragmented and duplicated across the UK.
Inclusivecinema.org is a significant step on our journey to address this. Work began several years ago, with a simple round-table discussion of how we might work together to support film audiences living with dementia. This conversation opened a door and fundamentally changed the way we work.”
Priscilla Igwe, Director of The New Black Film Collective says:
“Inclusive Cinema is vital and extremely necessary. Finally, there is a resource supporting BAME exhibitors, educators and programmers – tapping into what’s out there, connecting organisations and building confidence. I look forward to accessing this portal, hearing new voices and having important peer-to-peer discussions about developing cinema for diverse audiences.”