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How Do We Maximise the Potential of Film and Cinema in Cities?


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Cinemas and cities are inextricably linked. Not only did the cinema start and evolve in cities but cinema and film remain an integral part of city life, living, leisure and learning. Bristol is a city where cinema remains particularly prominent. It has an important history of film making (this year Bristol is marking the centenary of the death of William Friese-Greene with Film2021); it is a city known for excellence in film presentation; production of new film and television content is booming and since 2017 it has been an internationally recognised UNESCO City of Film. There’s much to celebrate and more to come: 40 years of Watershed, the centenary of the BBC and the 40th anniversary of Channel 4 all in 2022, for example.

At the same time, the past 18 months have seen cinemas challenged like never before; some have been forced to shut and there will be many wider problems caused by the pandemic. What is the current state of exhibition and film and tv production in the city? What can be done to build on what is here already? How can the industry – in all forms – become more sustainable? How should cities make the most of film exhibition and production? And how do we all take advantage of the opportunities ahead?

Bristol and Film

Speakers address the importance of film and media to Bristol’s life, work and economy and their visions for the future. Speakers include: Lynn Barlow (co-chair One City Culture Board); Steve Presence and Andrew Spicer (UWE Bristol), who will speak on their recent research into the sector; and Mark Cosgrove (Watershed). Includes the presentation of the first of three new films made especially for the festival.

Bristol, Friese-Greene and City of Film

Following readings from Sian Norris and Mani Kidston, two of the commissioned authors for the Bristol Film2021 book Opening Up the Magic Box, historian and film-maker Peter Domankiewicz talks about Friese-Greene in Bristol, the inspiration he offers and the fact that, if he started in Bristol now, he would find all he needed to prosper and not have to go elsewhere.

Bristol on Film

Following the presentation of the second new film made specially for the festival, Malaika Kegode and Stephen Lightbown read from their new essays for the Film 2021 book.

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