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Get your popcorn ready - it's the Ealing Free Film Festival!

03/08/2017

The Ealing Free Film Festival (EFFF) is an initiative organised by funding platform Spacehive and business degree provider GSM London to promote the area’s cinematic reputation and community cohesion. 

Support for the event has been outstanding with the festival garnering over £4,000 in crowdfunded donations with almost 70 backers pledging support towards community projects such as the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Make it Ealing, Veolia and LifeSkills Created by Barclays.

We tracked down lecturer Hope Flynn, who has been spearheading the event, to find out more about the festival and how it will impact on the local community, businesses and students in the area.  

Tell us more about this free film festival?

The EFFF is a two-day event that aims to bring together local communities and businesses in and around Ealing and celebrate the area’s rich film and performing arts heritage. We will have outdoor screenings of the classic Ealing comedy ‘The Ladykillers’ and the iconic musical ‘Dreamgirls’ on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 August on Ealing Green – so this is something for all the family to attend. These screenings are free so it is a chance for people of different backgrounds to share moments together and enjoy the cohesion that comes through films.

Was it your idea/ how did you get involved?

Yes, EFFF was my idea. Outdoor cinemas are becoming very popular and I thought it was a no-brainer considering Ealing's phenomenal film heritage to bring one to our local community. I initially came up with the idea of holding EFFF whilst working on a project with GSM London students. This project was focused around learning skills through crowdfunding. The funds to hold EFFF have been pledged by the local community, businesses and corporate sponsors. The support towards the festival has been overwhelming and everyone is very excited for the first EFFF to launch.

How has the exercise helped you as an events management graduate and a new lecturer?

This has been a real opportunity for me to demonstrate and put into practice the skills and knowledge I learnt as an events management student. The exercise has been particularly valuable in terms of planning and organising the event itself, but it has allowed me to apply my marketing skills in the campaign stages of the project. 

As a new lecturer, I can draw on my experiences learnt through this exercise and give my students an insight to the reality of planning, budgeting and marketing an event. As a result of these experiences, I now have in depth knowledge of crowdfunding. I am keen for students to undergo the practice of funding a project idea that they may have as the skills learnt through this are phenomenal. 

Have students been involved in the process?

Yes, students have helped with the marketing of the crowdfunding campaign. They have carried out research to identify what films the local community would like to have screened. Some students will be volunteering on the day of the event too. Students have played a vital role in the progress of making EFFF happen and they can add this experience to their CVs. 

 What challenges have you had so far and how have you been able to turn those into opportunities?

A challenge faced with this project was getting the larger pledges from businesses. With the film festival, I initially started by taking my idea to local businesses and asking them if they wanted to become involved. In the early stages of the project, this was challenging. It was then I realised that once I gained the backing from the local community and could demonstrate this to the bigger companies, the larger businesses were keen to be involved.  Social media is also a great way to engage with your target and it a vital element of any crowdfunding project.

What can we expect from the event?

Just expect the event to be fun, relaxed and enjoyable. Bring a blanket and something to sit on and enjoy watching a great film in the great outdoors. 

 Are there any other plans in the pipeline after the event?

Yes, we plan to make EFFF an annual event and we hope to expand the programme and showcase new independent films next year. It will be even bigger and better!  

If you would like to come along to our EFFF, click here for more details of the venue.