NORTHERN IRELAND COMMUNITY CINEMA MARKETING SUMMIT

On Saturday 25th March 2017, film exhibitors from across Northern Ireland came together at Titanic Belfast to take part in the NI Community Cinema Marketing Summit. The idea of the Summit came about after Film Hub NI identified the need for specific film marketing training for their members and so devised a full day of in-depth knowledge sharing and insights. The Summit was kindly supported by the Department for Communities as part of Creativity Month 2017, which was an important endorsement as it highlighted the recognition of the importance of cinema as a platform to bring communities together.

Delegates were treated to presentations from some of the leading lights working in the industry today. Firstly, Jo Taylor shared her experience of working on grassroots marketing for titles such as Moonlight and I, Daniel Blake. With fascinating insights into the tactics and approaches her and her team implemented during these campaigns, Jo inspired the delegates to think about each film they are marketing and to think about new and innovative ways to approach audience engagement.

Up next after Jo was Una Carmody. Una presented an overview of a weighty piece of research carried out about cultural cinema and audiences in Ireland. The findings provided much material for discussion and questions about audience motivations to attend/obstacles to attending and perceptions of cultural cinema.

Moving on to some practical advice about branding and brand identity was Paul McNally, owner of design company, Stylografix. This was a really useful session in which Paul shared some top tips for our members to consider when thinking about working with designers to represent their organisation in the best way and ensuring consistency over all printed and online marketing material.

Continuing with the theme of representing your organisation in the best way, Daniel Robinson from Culture Northern Ireland, gave a rundown of the most popular social media platforms and shared ideas for developing engaging content.

Una took to the front of the room to finish off the presentations by giving an outline of how and why organisations must capture audience data and how to use this data to influence marketing strategies going forward.

Following the presentations, the delegates split into groups to work through hypothetical film screening projects and devise a marketing plan for these. The groups presented to everyone else at the end for feedback and shared some great ideas.

Shortly after the Summit ended, the pitch session started. 9 organisations pitched to a panel of independent judges (Daniel Robinson, Culture NI, Louise Gallagher, Film Producer, and Maeve Cooke, Access Cinema) to try and secure £5k of marketing investment – which includes a financial award and consultancy with Andi Jarvis from The Tomorrow Lab and Sara from Film Hub NI.

The 5 successful organisations were Black Box (Belfast), Aurora Community Cinema (Rostrevor), The Picturehouse (Ballyclare), New Notions (Belfast) and Portrush Film Theatre. The organisations are kicking off the consultancy with a workshop this weekend and everyone is looking forward to getting started!

This short film gives an overview of the conference

Some delegate feedback:

The conference exceeded my expectations in that the speakers were well informed, enthusiastic and delivered information in a way that I could understand.

I really enjoyed the event and the chance to meet film exhibitors in cultural/community cinema. The presentations were good and I appreciated how many speakers were available and able to share the time effectively. I particularly enjoyed the workshop.