Monthly Archives

May 2020

Join Love LIFF at Home for masterclasses and industry talks

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This week the online film festival Love LIFF at Home, from the London Indian Film Festival, continues. Online audiences have the chance to watch highlights from some of LIFF’s most popular BFI Masterclasses, with iconic Film Directors and Conversations with influential actors. Whether you missed them originally (they all sold out!), are keen to re-watch them, or it’s your first time seeing these interviews you are in for a treat.

Head over to to watch BFI Masterclasses with Mani Ratnam, Santosh Sivan and interviews with Farhan Akhtar and Tannishtha Chatterjee plus our very special In Conversation with Irrfan Khan, hosted by Asif Kapadia.


Source: Birmingham Indian Film Festival


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Free creative courses via Open University

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The Open University allows you to learn about different aspects of culture and what it means to you. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to explore something new to reignite that creative inspiration, have a look at the below suite of free courses on Open Learn. If you create an account with OpenLearn and complete a course, you’ll be awarded a ‘Statement of Participation’, a free certificate to show that you’ve successfully completed a course. Here are a selection of courses:


Start writing fiction 
Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into how authors create their characters and settings. You will also be able to look at the different genres for fiction.
Explore the course


Writing what you know 

Do you want to improve your descriptive writing? This free course, Writing what you know, will help you to develop your perception of the world about you and enable you to see the familiar things in everyday life in a new light. You will also learn how authors use their own personal histories to form the basis of their work.


Studying the Arts and Humanities
This free course is an introduction to studying the arts and humanities. It takes you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance and improve your confidence as an independent learner.


Business of Film
Making a film is a creative endeavour, but it’s also a business project. And just like any other business, most films are intended to make money. This free online course, The business of film, will show you how film production works. It has been created with Pinewood Studios – the leading provider of studio services to the global screen-based industries


Approaching Poetry
Do you want to get more out of your reading of poetry? This free course, Approaching poetry, is designed to develop the analytical skills you need for a more in-depth study of literary texts. You will learn about rhythm, alliteration, rhyme, poetic inversion, voice and line lengths and endings. You will examine poems that do not rhyme and learn how to compare and contrast poetry.


Art and visual culture: Medieval to modern
What is art? What is visual culture? How have they changed through history? This free course, Art and visual culture: Medieval to modern, explores the fundamental issues raised by the study of western art and visual culture over the last millennium.


Music and its media
This free course, Music and its media, examines some of the main ways in which music is transmitted. It considers how the means of communicating a particular piece can change over time; and how the appearance and contents of a source can reflect the circumstances in which it is produced.


Approaching Plays
Do you want to get more out of drama? This free course, Approaching plays, is designed to develop the 3 analytical skills you need for a more in-depth study of literary plays. You will learn about dialogue, stage directions, blank verse, dramatic structure and conventions and aspects of performance


World Heritage
This free course provides an overview of World Heritage, its political and cultural origins and the role of UNESCO and other agencies in identifying and listing sites.
Explore the course


Creative Writing and Critical Reading
This free course, Creative writing and critical reading, explores the importance of reading as part of a creative writer’s development at the postgraduate level. You will gain inspiration and ideas from examining other writers’ methods, as well as enhancing your critical reading skills.
Explore the course


An Introduction to Music Theory
Gain an understanding of the basic building blocks of musical theory and notation. This free course, An introduction to music theory, will introduce you to music staves, clefs, rhythmic and pitch values, rhythmic metre and time signatures.
Explore the course


Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Start writing fiction is a free course that helps you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters.
Explore the course


Understanding musical scores
This free course, Understanding musical scores, provides a general introduction to how to understand a musical score, and insights into what professional musicians do with the notation that these contain. You’ll learn how to connect the notation you see with the music you hear, from short familiar melodies to a full orchestral score.
Explore the course


Recording Music and Sound
This free course, Recording music and sound, provides an historical introduction to music and sound recording in the creative industries and offers some guidance about making your own recordings.
Explore the course


For the complete list of courses, visit Open University here.


Source: Creative Industries Federation


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U.K. Cinemas Won’t Reopen Sooner Than July 4

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U.K. cinemas won’t be reopening sooner than July 4, according to new coronavirus recovery guidance put out by the government on Monday afternoon.

The 60-page document, entitled “Our Plan to Rebuild,” sets out that cinemas are part of a “high-risk” group of businesses that will be the last to reopen from July 4 onwards.

In Step Three of the plan, cinemas and other “leisure facilities” will be able to open alongside personal care businesses such as hairdressers and beauty salons; hospitality venues such as food service providers, pubs and accommodation; and public places such as places of worship.

All businesses will need to meet the government’s COVID-19 Secure guidelines for their respective sectors, which are expected to be unveiled this week. However, even after July 4, it is not guaranteed that all venues will be able to open.

“Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part,” reads the government plan. “Nevertheless, the government will wish to open as many businesses and public places as the data and information at the time allows.”

The government, which first hinted at the timeline for cinemas in an address by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday night, has also said it will “carefully phase and pilot re-openings” to test a venue’s ability to adhere to new guidelines.

Last week, Variety revealed that exhibitors and industry orgs such as the U.K. Cinema Association (UKCA), which represents more than 90% of the U.K.’s cinema operators, were proposing a late June reopening date to the government.

That proposal, however, drew concern among some in the industry and particularly small independent operators, who are anxious about an uneven playing ground between themselves and big multiplexes such as Vue and Odeon, which have the resources to open up sooner.

The UKCA on Monday suggested it was satisfied with the July 4 date, despite its confidence that the country’s cinemas will be prepared to reopen ahead of this time.

UKCA chief executive Phil Clapp told Variety: “We have made clear to the U.K. government — and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — that, on the basis of our understanding of the safeguards that will need to be in place before cinemas can safely open, most venues will be ready to do so by the end of June. Today’s suggestion that this might be considered around 4 July is therefore welcome.

“But we recognize that there are a host of wider public health considerations which mean that that may not be possible, and we will of course respond accordingly. Whenever cinemas are able once again to re-open, it is clear that all venues will need continued government support until such time as business returns to something approaching normal levels of activity.”




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Film Birmingham Celebrates ShortFuse Anniversary with Online Film Q&A

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It’s been one year since Film Birmingham launched its ShortFuse film night to celebrate the filmmaking talent of the West Midlands.

We’re celebrating with an online film discussion with the award-winning team behind “Beverley”, a short film which unites a host of British talent in a gritty, stylish coming-of-age story. With 2-Tone music as the cultural backdrop to the film, the journey of Beverley (Skins star Laya Lewis)  from ghetto to suburbia symbolises the death of one chapter in British history and the birth of another. Beverley also stars This is England’s BAFTA winning actress Vicky McClure, and Sennia Nanua. Register here.

Director Alexander Thomas (The UnDream, Entropy) works with producer Cass Pennant, and the two will join our online Q&A, taking questions from the public.

‘Beverley’ Synopsis

Beverley follows a mixed race girl’s struggle to carve out a sense of identity in a confusing, shifting cultural landscape – 1980 Leicester. A move from the decaying, poverty-stricken, urban environment to the relative comfort and theoretical safety of white suburbia does not provide the hope and opportunities Bev may have wished for. A familiar enemy is ever present – a threat that extends beyond her own safety, as she must also protect her brother and sister. By asserting her will and using her guile Bev tries to shape her new environment into something palatable, but the result is the opposite of what she is trying to achieve.

Cast: Sennia Nanua, Vicky McClure, Corey Trevor, Laya Lewis, King Sounds, Neville Staple, Christine Staple, Winston Ellis

Join the event

RSVP to this virtual event here to keep updated on this Q&A. You are invited to watch the film here and tune in with your comments and questions on May 26th, at 7pm. You can also send the questions beforehand to with “Beverley Q&A” in the subject line.

About ShortFuse

In our bi-monthly evenings at Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, we’ve screened award-winning and emerging films, with special filmmaker Q&A sessions. ShortFuse accepts submissions for our film nights on an ongoing basis. If you would like to have your film featured among our future screened shorts, please see more info.



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Effective Leadership for Creative Businesses

Creative England’s Future Studios Online Webinars

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In recent months, Creative Enterprise has been running Future Studios bootcamps. The aim of the programme is to provide business support to screen companies (film, TV, games, immersive and digital) with a narrative/storytelling focus. They are letting the public know that in light of the current coronavirus crisis, their last iteration of Future Studios is now online.

They have adapted the Future Studios programme by hosting a series of six free online webinars to support screen companies. The webinars ranging from 60-90minutes each, will run across 3 weeks from the 18th May to 4th June, topics include the future of storytelling, gaining investment, creativity, development and pitching.



Gavin James- Money, Deals, Business: Film and TV Financing and Distribution [90 minutes]

Tuesday 19th May at 2pm

In this session, we will cover what you can learn from film financing and film profit sharing, from two angles of streamer financing and traditional (independent and studio) film financing.  We will also look into streamer financing of series, traditional financing of TV broadcast series, as well as film distribution agreements and royalty reporting. To finish the session, we’ll look at what a collection account manager does, why you need one, and what a revenue waterfall looks like, and round off the webinar by giving some pointers about how to build a business plan for your enterprise, and maybe what potential investors will look for.

Sign up here.


Alison Norrington- The Future of Storytelling [60 minutes]

Thursday 21st May at 2pm

Alison will talk about the fundamentals of narrative across non-linear, immersive and experiential highlighting some core questions around emotional outcomes, building a storyworld, theme and experience design.

Sign up here.


Tim Reid- Developing Ideas: Creativity and Culture [90 minutes]

Tuesday May 26th at 2pm

During this webinar Tim will share with you his thoughts on what creativity is and how we can all get better at it. He will share a range of tried and tested tools and techniques, with stories, for how to tackle any challenge and have bigger, better ideas. And he will talk you through different ways of working that we can all steal from the world of comedy.

Sign up here.


Disruptive Thinking- Pitch Like a Pro [90 minutes]

Thursday May 28th at 2pm

How to pitch – during COVID-19 and beyond. Disruptive Thinking will be taking delegates through effective pitching techniques with guidance on how to articulate your business proposition clearly. Whether you’re pitching for a project or investment over video call, or just trying to succinctly tell somebody what you do, this webinar will provide you with a straightforward structure to follow. They will also be joined by Nick Ellis, founder of Halo creative agency for a 30 minute Q&A.

Sign up here.


Rachel Richardson-Jones [60 minutes]

Thursday June 2nd at 2pm

Film Producer and Festival Director talks about her career path, the leap from Corporate & Commercials to Feature Films and her decision to work within the genre sector in both Feature Films and the Film Festival GRIMMFEST. Insights into how she has survived in the low budget sector, the importance of attending initiatives such as Market Trader and the new ventures and models she and her team are embracing in these turbulent times. Why the launch of the production arm of the festival, Grimmfest films and most recently Grimmfest TV and how this is helping to keep her business sustainable and relevant.

Sign up here.


Stuart Blackburn- Pitch Perfect: How to Sell Your Idea [90 minutes]

Tuesday 4th June at 2pm

Pitch Perfect is about that crucial time when you’re trying to sell your show or film. The treatment is the sales pitch, the document that decides whether your project will ever see the light of day. There is no perfect formula, every show will be different and no two Producers or Indies will want the same thing. But, there is a structure that works, key elements that if you get right will get you one step closer to success. This session isn’t a lecture, it’s a chat, a discussion so your input is vital. We will also create time to address the impossible problem facing us all. How can our work reflect the ‘new normal’ when we may not know what that is for months.

Sign up here.


Source: Creative England


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Online premieres will be eligible for the European Film Awards for the first time

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Films that premiere online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for the European Film Awards (EFAs) for the first time.

In an “exceptional” change to the rules, the European Film Academy will also shift the date by which a film should have premiered from May 31 to November 30, 2020. This is under the condition right-holders agree to make the film available on the EFA VoD platform for the 3,800 film professionals across Europe who vote for the nominations and award recipients. It will mean films that would have debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, which was due to start today (May 12), will remain eligible if they line up a premiere before the end of November.

Previously, the rules stated the official screening of a film should take place at a festival or cinema between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020. However, the closure of theatres around the world as a result of the Covid-19 crisis has seen several films bypass the cinema and debut on VoD platforms.

EFA chairman Mike Downey said of the rule change: “We cannot ignore the dramatic changes the pandemic has brought to the film industry. Many premieres had to be rescheduled, postponed or moved online. We are therefore exceptionally changing the eligibility rules for the EFAs 2020 to allow those films that could not premiere as planned to still be recognised. One thing remains sure, the European Film Academy remains committed to European cinema and its creators… Hopefully, we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.”

This year’s 33rd European Film Awards will take place in Reykjavik, Iceland on December 12 and submissions are now open, with an entry deadline of May 31.

Last year’s awards took place in Berlin and saw Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite win eight prizes, including best film.




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UK government allows film and TV productions to restart within social distancing guidelines

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Film and television production in the UK are permitted to restart providing all involved abide by social distancing guidelines, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed to Screen.

The change comes as part of the government’s latest guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic, which include the instruction “All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open.”

Workplaces that do reopen – including screen productions – should “ensure employees can maintain a two-metre distance from others, and wash their hands regularly”, according to the Covid-19 guidelines on the government’s website.

The full Covid-19 Secure guidelines will be published later this week, and productions will have to comply fully with them to be allowed to restart.

Additionally, the industry-wide consultation on new filming protocols and insurance issues is due to close this Friday, May 15.

The news that productions can restart within guidelines will be a welcome boost to the UK industry. All physical film production has been shut down since the country went into lockdown on March 23.

“The government is working closely with the screen sector to understand how different types of productions can comply with social distancing guidelines, and give confidence to people in the TV and film industries that there are safe ways in which they can return to work,” a DCMS spokesperson told Screen.




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Nikon Offering Free Online Courses

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Nikon is offering ten Nikon School Online camera courses free of charge for the entire months of March and April. Usually those courses run from $15 to $50.

It has expanded the offerings with its new Creator’s Hour events, where novice photographers can hear from some of the best shooters and storytellers out there.

The courses try to go where the audience is. Some are held as live events on Instagram, with Nikon’s so-called “ambassadors” offering live, personal advice. There are some pretty moments to be had, found with Nikon’s “Moments of Zen,” a collection of curated images seen on Nikon’s social channels.

During these unprecedented times when we are all looking for human connection, photography has the power to bring us closer together, even when we are apart,” said Jay Vannatter, executive vice president for Nikon.

For sure, we’ve never taken more photos, but it’s impossible to discover exactly how many photos are taken every year.  Estimates vary wildly, but Mylio, a photo organizing and management app, points to data from Keystone Intelligence that says an amazing 1.4 trillion photos will be taken this year. Those will be added to the pile of existing photos, so that this year the world will have saved 7.4 trillion photos.

Digital cameras, rather than smartphones or tablets, made up 10% of all photos in 2018, and that figure is going down, from 8.2% last year, and a predicted to be 7.3% this year. Big camera makers like Nikon and Canon have had a tough time. Ironically, it’s probably never been easier to take a really good photo with a real camera, but a smartphone is a lot faster and handier to use.


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