Taking place at the newly refurbished Glasgow Film Theatre on 29 & 30 November, TWU16 welcomed UK and European delegates to an inspiring and thought-provoking programme jam-packed with 25 workshops, panel discussions and keynotes. Plus there was a screening of Wunder der Schopfung with new live score, one-to-one Cinema Surgeries with Laura Rothwell, and opportunities to meet and collaborate during lunches and drinks. You can find out more about our fantastic TWU16 speakers here.

Please click on the below image to download a copy of the Conference Schedule.


Day One: Tuesday 29 November


We are delighted to welcome Gillian Easson (Director of Creative Dundee) as Master of Ceremonies, enlivening and steering proceedings over the two days. She will open the conference on Tuesday, setting the scene, and welcome Jaki McDougall, CEO of Glasgow Film Theatre and Natalie Usher, Director of Screen at Creative Scotland to the stage.

10:15-11:30 - KEYNOTES (GFT 1)

bobby-allen-twu-webBobby Allen, VP of Content, MUBI

Caring is the cure: solving the paradox of choice in the digital universe. Or, how a trip to a local video rental shop (remember those?) changed our fortunes.

Back in 2007 when MUBI launched the buzz in the online entertainment world was about ‘anything, anytime, anywhere’ and cinema was poised to be a primary beneficiary. But somewhere on the road to this bright new future several existential threats have appeared and piracy now looks like the least of the challenges. The digital universe is fundamentally changing human behaviour in ways we are only beginning to understand and as cinephiles we need to unite and work together to maintain the special status of cinema as the greatest mass media artform yet invented.

johanna_koljonen-twu-webJohanna Koljonen, Editor, Nostradamus Project

Bodies, Spaces & Communities: Designing Cinemas (& VR)

In an increasingly mediated but also increasingly participatory culture, the meaning and value of real-time events at physical locations is changing – and these changes are actually great for exhibitors. Johanna will offer some experience design tools to help you move from ‘just’ screening films towards creating the film culture you yearn for, and she’ll discuss how the challenges currently faced by VR filmmakers are similar to those of cinema exhibitors.

dawn-walton1-twu-webDawn Walton, Founder/Artistic Director, Eclipse Theatre Company

The Power of Place

In a world where digital dominates social and cultural conversations, film exhibitors are resolutely tied to the physical space. Exhibitors based in bricks and mortar are embedded in communities, while festivals and pop-ups redefine spaces using the power of the temporary experience. Dawn asks how the space we create affects audience engagement and attracts (or repels) the audiences we seek to reach. And what are a creative organisation’s roles and responsibilities within the communities they touch?

11:50-13:00 - The Problem with Abundance (GFT 1)

We are in a period of unprecedented access to film, and audiences are supersaturated with moving images. With more and more films being released into UK cinemas (759 titles in 2015, up from 527 in 2008), what skills do exhibitors need to develop to ensure they are empowered and not overwhelmed? And how can we resolve the paradox that an abundance of choice can lead to less engagement? Following on from Bobby Allen’s keynote speech we discuss the opportunities and challenges of so much choice.

Speakers: Wendy Mitchell (British Council – chair), Bobby Allen (MUBI), Allison Gardner (Glasgow Film), Ben Luxford (BFI), Jason Wood (HOME)

11:45-12:45 - The Medium and the Message (GFT 2)

From 70mm celebrations and VHS retro-fests to the new opportunities afforded by technical innovations, is format the ‘sizzle’ to the film’s ‘steak’? Can we engage audiences with archive film or alternative material by selling the experience as much as the film? Do exhibitors have the right knowledge to effectively use a range of formats old and new? Or is there an increasing risk that poor technical skills and delivery are undermining the audience experience?

Speakers: Tara Judah (writer, programmer & broadcaster – chair), David Boyd (Centre for the Moving Image), Mark Jenkin (filmmaker), Richard Marples (Barco), Kathryn Penny (National Media Museum)

11:50-13:00 - Rural Pathways (GFT 3)

While rural and non-metropolitan initiatives are highly valued by local audiences, promoters often face considerable pressures in continuing to deliver their services and expanding audience engagement. Standard film distribution terms and recent cuts to local authority funding have created considerable uncertainty and make it difficult to grow sustainable models of programme delivery. Within this context, the panellists will consider future pathways for supporting non-metropolitan cinema and how to raise the profile of this important part of the exhibition sector at a national level.

Speakers: Karina Aveyard (University of East Anglia – chair), Robert Livingston (Regional Screen Scotland), Claire Marshall (Carn to Cove), Alice Morelli (Creative Arts East)

13:00-14:00 - Lunch Session: Producers Unite! (Theatre Royal)

Are you a freelance producer working in film exhibition? A producer of festivals or special events? Whether full time, part time or occasional, and whether you’re currently doing it or aspiring to, this session is about bringing producers together to chat. Could there be more support? Is there a way of sharing information and advice? What would help you work better? There’s no fixed agenda for today’s meet-up – join the conversation and we’ll see where it goes!

This is an informal drop-in session so just come along when you’re ready.

Speakers: Phil Foxwood (Cinema Nation – session host), Michael Pierce (Cinema Nation – co-host), Shona Thomson (A Kind of Seeing – co-host)

13:00-14:00 - Lunch Session: Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness (Theatre Royal)

Notes on Blindness is an ambitious and trailblazing documentary that uses audio diaries recorded by academic John Hull, as he documented his loss of sight, to create a film that is both deeply affecting and creatively innovative.

Alongside the film an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) project, Notes On Blindness: Into Darkness, was created based on John’s sensory and psychological experience of blindness. Each scene addresses a memory, a moment and a specific location from John’s audio diary, using binaural audio and real time 3D animations to create a fully immersive experience in a ‘world beyond sight’. The interactive experience complements the story world of the film and formed an integral part of the film’s tour across the UK which was managed by Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Come and experience Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness during your lunch break.

Thanks to Sheffield Doc/Fest.

14:20-15:30 - The Editorialists (GFT 1)

The press have always been a key critical filter for cinema audiences and an essential advocate for independent and international film. But in a time of cinematic superabundance, how do publications make editorial decisions about which films get lead reviews, or indeed what gets reviewed at all? How does the film press determine strategy for choosing which festivals, screenings and seasons get coverage? How do they define their readership and audiences? And what challenges do they face? Hear from film editors and critics on the place of their coverage in building a healthy film culture and the politics that inform their editorial visions.

Speakers: Kate Taylor (film programmer – chair), David Hudson (Keyframe Daily from Fandor), Nick James (Sight & Sound), Hannah McGill (writer, reviewer and columnist)

14:10-15:15 - Building Audiences: Stories from the Frontlines (GFT 2)

The Independent Cinema Office (ICO) offer workshop driven, project-based training programmes for independent film exhibitors who wish to learn how to expand their audiences in a strategic manner, best utilising available resources of money, expertise and time. Past participants share insights gleaned from the course, including programming and marketing strategies they’ve implemented to build audiences, and techniques and actions you can easily apply in your cinema or festival.

Speakers: Catharine Des Forges (ICO – chair), Catherine Mugonyi (Winter Gardens Film Festival), Jessie Moroney (Centre for the Moving Image), Kate Wood & Catherine O’Sullivan (Dreamland Cinema)

14:20-15:30 - Postcards from the Future (GFT 3)

The boundaries between traditional art forms are increasingly blurred as filmmakers, game-makers and artists explore new technology, interactivity, self-publishing and more. We hear from creative people who are traversing these boundaries, exploring the possible and connecting with an audience similarly unconstrained by geography and definition.

Speakers: Yann Seznec (artist – chair), Shola Amoo (filmmaker), Lisa Brook (Live Cinema UK)

14:30-17:00 - Cinema Know How workshop (CitizenM)

Cinema Know How is a service design programme for the exhibition sector; shaping service experiences that really work for people. At the heart of this programme sits a focus on customer experience and audience development.

A select number of participants will take part in this practical half-day version of the full programme which provides organisations with the relevant methods, tools and confidence to successfully incorporate this customer-focused approach, strengthening their organisational offer and values.

Details of how to sign-up for this workshop will be shared with delegates prior to the conference. Attendees will receive confirmation of their participation directly.

Speakers: Andy Young (Snook – workshop lead), Andy Rae (Film Hub Central East)

15:50-17:00 - RE/Mixing it: Film, Archive, Music (GFT 1)

Collaborations between filmmakers and musicians, often revisiting and re-presenting archive material, are now a regular feature of film – and music – festivals. In this session, we’re going to look at the creative and popular potential of cross artform commissioning. What makes a successful collaboration? What does (and doesn’t) work for an audience? What are the challenges for exhibitors, producers, programmers and partners?

Speakers: Gary Thomas (British Council – chair), Virginia Heath (Faction North Ltd), Nigel Humberstone (Sensoria), Alison Strauss (Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema)

15:50-17:00 - Parental Guidance (GFT 2)

What do we do about parents? Ignore them it would seem. Data from Creative Skills shows that only 14% of women working in film in the UK have children. This panel session will explore why. As well as addressing working patterns in the exhibition sector, it will look at how our venues welcome parents and their families more generally, suggesting that embracing family-friendly policies across all activities is good for the diversity of your workforce and your business overall.

Speakers: Suzy Glass (Creative Scotland – chair), Hope Dickson Leach (filmmaker and cofounder of Raising Films), Jilly Hargreaves (Chalk), Hannah McGill (writer, reviewer and columnist), Nick Parr (Dundee Rep / Scottish Dance Theatre)

17:15-20:15 - Drinks Reception (The Art School)

Join us for some informal drinks and finger food in the bohemian surrounds of The Art School. Talk over the day’s sessions with other delegates and speakers before heading to GFT for a unique screening of Wunder der Schöpfung with a specially commissioned live score.

20:20-22:15 - Wunder Der Schöpfung with live score by Herschel 36 (GFT 1)

Acclaimed duo Herschel 36 present their brand new electronica/acoustic soundscape score commissioned by HippFest for this groundbreaking silent documentary. An extraordinary and unique document of human knowledge about the world and the universe in the 1920s, literally translated as ‘Wonder of Creation’.

Fifteen special effects experts and nine cameramen were involved in the production of this beautifully tinted and toned film which combines documentary scenes, historical documents, fiction elements, animation scenes and educational impact. More info about this screening.

Day Two – Wednesday 30 November

10:00-11:15 - BFI Talent Presents: Roger Ross Williams in Conversation (GFT 1)

Talented documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams first emerged on the scene when his uplifting short, Music by Prudence, won an Oscar in 2010. He has since gone on to direct a series of acclaimed documentary features and his latest, Life, Animated, has won multiple awards worldwide including the coveted Directing Award: Documentary at Sundance earlier this year.

Roger will be in conversation with Janice Forsyth, BBC Radio Scotland presenter, about his career and the impact of factual storytelling within and beyond the cinema.

11:35-12:45 - Cities (GFT 1)

Cities are often seen as engines of cultural production, experimentation and consumption, but they are also places where social concerns are most magnified (economic inequality, physical and mental health issues, social isolation). How can cinemas, festivals and exhibitors develop projects that create meaningful impacts that mesh with existing urban infrastructure?

Speakers: Jemma Desai (British Council – chair), Shola Amoo (filmmaker), David Archibald (University of Glasgow / Radical Film Network), Cian Smyth (Hull UK City of Culture 2017)

Agnieszka Moody of Creative Europe Desk UK is unable to take part in this session. 

11:30-12:40 - Who Watches the Movie Watchers? (GFT 2)

Using data to understand UK cinema audiencesLeading industry data researcher Stephen Follows will take you on a data-led journey into the minds of UK cinema audiences. In this session he’ll reveal who watches what, give you data-driven ways of understanding your audience and show where to find the information you need to help your film business.

11:35-12:35 - Better Exhibition through Good Design (GFT 3)

The principles behind designing accessible creative spaces/experiences are actually just principles of good design. All involve rapid prototyping, testing and people-centred design resulting in simplified better audience experience. This session looks at some innovative and award-winning work around accessibility that will not only help you remove barriers for audiences with specific access requirements, but to make your organisation more responsive overall.

Speakers: Jon Barrenechea (Picturehouse Cinemas - chair), Jodie Wilkinson (Glasgow Film), Paul Hudson (Festival and King's Theatres)

12:45-13:45 - Lunch Session: Note on Blindness: Into Darkness (Theatre Royal)

Please see details above.

14:00-15:00 - Personal ‘Realities’ and the Communal Experience (GFT 1)

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are now well within the reach of audiences and being adopted at an accelerating rate, however the experience is often personal, contained and individual. Film festivals are increasingly providing a platform for filmmakers, artists and interactive designers to show their work. Is there a place for these new technologies in the communal cinema experience? And how can cinemas capitalise on this burgeoning technology?

Speakers: Tom Grater (Screen International – chair), Melanie Iredale (Sheffield Doc/ Fest), Johanna Koljonen (Nostradamus Project), Jörg Tittel (Oiffy)

14:00-15:00 - Micro-moments, Moments of Truth and Lifetime Value (GFT 2)

Culture Republic provide the tools and insights that arts and cultural organisations need to identify and understand their audiences. Using three key trends in online audience engagement, this session from Colan Mehaffey will help you explore practical techniques for reaching audiences with the right message at the right time. We’ll look at: Moments of Truth when people share their experience with their networks; Micro-moments that are mobile, immediate and impulse driven and Lifetime Value – the longer term value of an audience member’s increasing relationship with your organisation.

Speakers: Colan Mehaffey (Culture Republic), Ashley Smith-Hammond (Culture Republic)

14:05 - 15:05 - The Price is Right (GFT 3)

Cinema is seen as an affordable luxury – a treat that won't break the bank. But are exhibitors using pricing in an intelligent and targeted fashion? In this session we bring together a range of organisations who are experimenting with different ticketing initiatives and pricing models to share their views and learning about how best to maximise income without alienating your audience.

Speakers: Richard Shaw (BFI – chair), Tanya Easterman (Cinema First), Oli Harbottle (Dogwoof), Kirsty Tough (Centre for the Moving Image)

15:15-15:45 - Amanda Nevill introduces BFI 2017-2022 (GFT 1)

We’re delighted that Amanda Nevill, CEO of the British Film Institute (BFI), will join us to present the BFI’s new 2017–2022 strategy. She will focus on the strategy’s significance to audience development in the UK and there will be a chance to ask questions.

15:45-16:15 - Closing Remarks (GFT 1)

Gillian Easson brings THIS WAY UP 16 to a close, sharing thoughts and feedback from delegates and drawing conclusions to all that’s been discussed over the two days. And start planning for next year as we reveal the location for THIS WAY UP 17!

It's a Wrap!