Programming and Audience Development

Posted on 23 July 2010

Tuesday, 28th September – an excellent day, very engaging speakers, and plenty of practical examples to help bring the topic to life

Want to develop a strong programme of films and special events that will delight your audience and keep them coming back for more?
Want to know how to get distributors on your side to secure the films you need?
Thinking about how to develop a deeper engagement with your audience?
Take a day out of your work schedule to reassess your programming and audience development strategy, learn new skills and gain inspiration from successful projects. Return to work with up-to-date knowledge, fresh ideas and renewed confidence to help you create a high quality programme that will put bums on seats and develop loyalty in your audience.

What will the course cover?

Choose sessions from:
• Programming and audience development strategies
• Fostering relationships with distributors
• Audience research
• Programming events that will create a buzz
• Programming archive film
• Collaborative programming models

Please see the course programme below for a full outline of the day.

How much does it cost?
• £110 + VAT – this includes lunches, refreshments and networking drinks
ICO client cinemas and associate members can claim a 15% discount
• Bursaries are available towards fees, travel and accommodation
Find out more |+44 (0) 20 7636 7120

This course is funded by the Skillset Film Skills Fund, which is supported by the National Lottery through the UK Film Council and the film industry through the Skills Investment Fund. Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries.

Course programme

9.30 – 10.00am

Registration and coffee

10.00 – 10.15am Welcome and introductions – Catharine Des Forges, Director, Independent Cinema Office

10.15 – 10.45am

The specialised film audience in the UK
To set the scene for the day, the UK Film Council will present the results of their latest research on cinema admissions, market share and audiences for specialised film in the UK.
Dr Sean Perkins, Research Executive, UK Film Council

10.45am – 12.00pm

Option 1 – Introduction to programming and audience development
This session is for people new to programming or the film exhibition sector. It will explain the journey a film makes to the screen and outline the key skills required of a programmer, including understanding figures and negotiating terms. It will explain what we mean by ‘audience development’ and how you can implement a plan for your organisation to reach a broader range of audiences and develop increased engagement with existing audiences.
Catharine Des Forges, Director, Independent Cinema Office

Option 2 – Collaborative programming
With the rise of social media and the blurring of boundaries between user and producer, the traditional relationship between arts organisation and audiences is changing. Organisations are now talking about a culture of participation and programming “with”, not just “for” audiences – in particular as a strategy for engaging younger audiences. But what does this mean in reality? How can you make your programming more open without compromising on “quality”? In this session, hear from venues and festivals with different programming policies and discuss different ways of working collaboratively.
Sarah Perks, Programme and Engagement Director, Cornerhouse
Martin Grund, Programme Manager, Leeds Young People’s Film Festival
CHAIR: Tilly Walnes, Training and Development Manager, Independent Cinema Office

12.00 – 12.20pm


12.20 – 1.00pm

Fostering relationships with distributors
A candid discussion with guest distributors about the process of acquiring and releasing a film, the pressures they face, tips for developing a good working relationship and advice on how to secure the right films for your programme.
Dave Jarmain, Sales Manager, Universal Pictures
Ben Luxford, Head of Sales, Artificial Eye
CHAIR: Catharine Des Forges, Director, Independent Cinema Office

1.00 – 2.00pm


2.00 – 3.15pm

Option 1 – Programming screen heritage
Cinemas and festivals are increasingly recognising the value of screening social history films for pulling in audiences and creating a special atmosphere in their venue. But how do you go about accessing archive film? What technical and legal requirements do you need to bear in mind? How do you make your screening a success? In this session a panel of cinema programmers and archive curators will outline all the curatorial and practical considerations you need to know when putting on archive film events.
Frank Grey, Director, Screen Archive South East
Ian Francis, Co-Director, 7 Inch Cinema, and Programme Director, Flatpack Festival
(other panellists tbc)
CHAIR: Catharine Des Forges, Director, Independent Cinema Office

Option 2 – Researching your audience
Taking the time to assess who’s already coming to your venue and events can be invaluable. By learning more about the kind of people who come, from where – and why – you can more effectively communicate your messages to them. You can also start to hunt out others like them to increase your audiences – or spot who isn’t coming and think about why not. This session will outline practical quantitative and qualitative research methods you can use to inform your audience development strategy.
Rachel Escott, Head of Audience Development Services, Audiences London

3.15 – 3.40pm


3.40 – 4.40pm

Programming the magic
The day-to-day pressures that a programmer faces, from negotiating terms to fulfilling funding requirements, can sometimes make it easy to forget that cinema is meant to be a magical experience. To end the day, take some inspiration from events which know how to programme the “wow” factor and create one-off events that get audiences buzzing.
Will Fowler and Vic Pratt, Programmers, BFI Flipside
Ian Francis, Co-Director, 7 Inch Cinema, and Programme Director, Flatpack Festival
Christo Wallers, Star and Shadow Cinema
CHAIR: Catharine Des Forges, Director, Independent Cinema Office

4.40 – 5.00pm

Round up discussion

5.00 – 5.45pm

Networking drinks

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