What is the outreach programme about?
BFF’s Outreach Programme aims to entertain, inform, engage and empower local communities through the medium of film and film related art-forms.
It delivers events and provides resources and practical support for communities who want to increase their knowledge and understanding of specialised film and the creative processes involved in the development and production of a range of film and digital media. The outreach team works with a variety of local communities across Northern Ireland, in particular with those in the TSN catchment areas, and those in areas of social deprivation. We provide a range of specific projects that will include workshops, events, activities and training opportunities.
So what have we been doing?
The Outreach Team have begun to network with community groups to develop a programme of activities. So far there are three main strands to the work:
- Screenings & events – showing films in local communities and facilities such as youth groups, care homes or supporting groups to come to our Beanbag Cinema.
- Creative writing – workshops and script labs for groups and individuals emerging from communities. The intention is to support new writers in the early stages of developing film orientated writing skills.
- The documentary film project – engaging with groups and communities to encourage interest, and to enable and develop film-making skills.
How’s it going?
So far we have connected to six groups in Belfast and we are continuing to network to more. We are developing a short documentary film as a pilot project with the Short Strand Special Needs Group, The film project, with the working title ‘Thrive”, is following the group on its activities, including the development of their city garden. We have a series of funding applications in development for larger scale projects, all across Northern Ireland. We are developing a project within Belfast, to develop a documentary film with up to eight groups across the city and we will update further when the project gets under way.
The future of entertainment is virtually here!
This winter we added a new Virtual Reality dimension to our programming. Festival Director Michele Devlin said “This is an extremely exciting project for us. VR has been around for a few years, but only in recent months has the content caught up with the technology. The experience of viewing a film on a VR headset simply takes your breath away.”
Virtual Reality headsets create a 360 degree viewing experience that completely immerses the user in different VR universes. VR will be at the heart of the Outreach programme as we engage with different age groups ranging from young people to seniors, bringing these experiences to places such as retirement homes and hospitals.
Michele said of the VR pilot sessions with groups such as Clanmil Housing Association and Film Hub; “people have had to take the headset off as they’ve found it too intense, others felt fantastic, like they had just being flying above Belfast exploring the cityscape.”
Belfast Film Festival plans to commission artists and filmmakers to create new work for VR, from literary walks and landscape tours to live music recordings.
How might we get involved?
The Outreach team will respond to enquiries, with information and where possible, follow-up meetings. It helps us to know what groups are interested and what type of people you are working with – we want to work with a diverse range of groups and we are particularly keen to work with groups who have not had access to digital film-making, creative writing or screenings, but who want to know more. We want to help overcome the barriers that make it difficult for people to participate and have a go.