We managed to catch up with Alice Ramsey at Film Hub North, who took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about all the new exciting things happening right now. Read and learn more about Alice, what she and FHN can offer – and about how SYFN and FHN will be working together in the (very) near future!
1. Please tell us about yourself and what your role is at Film Hub North.
I’ve recently started as BFI NETWORK Talent Executive at Film Hub North based out of the Showroom cinema – alongside my colleague Jess Loveland based at Tyneside in Newcastle – where I work with writers, directors and producers at the early stages of their film careers, funding short films and early feature development. Prior to this, I worked in Creative England’s film team where I did a similar role across the whole of England.
I started my career at Bankside Films, an international sales and film financier, where I worked across the sales and acquisitions team. Working in sales is a great place to begin your career as you’re seeing it all – from script stage through to distribution – and you learn a great deal about the international market place and how it operates. I also got to travel a great deal and attend festivals like Cannes and Berlin, which I loved!
2. What do FHN do as a whole – maybe give us an overview of the new incarnation of the organisation.
Traditionally Film Hub North worked in the exhibition sector as part of the BFI Film Audience Network. The focus was on broadening film choice and growing audiences in the region by working closely with cinemas, cross-arts venues, community film clubs and festivals – Film Hub North would provide funding and training to their member organisations to help them develop.
The new incarnation of Film Hub North still offers this invaluable support, but we’re also now working with filmmakers to strengthen talent development in the regions and position independent cinemas at the heart of the creative process.
I’m really excited by the potential of working across talent and exhibition/audiences as you can’t have one without the other. It’s still early days, but I’d love to see the shorts we’ve funded reach audiences across all corners of the North and hope it’ll inspire more people to make a film.
3. What specifically are you doing with FHN – what does your job entail?
Alongside funding shorts and early feature projects, another key part of mine and Jess’ role is to create a filmmaking community in the North which will include screenings, rehearsed readings, pitching opportunities, workshops and masterclasses. I’ll also be scouting for writers, directors and producers creating work in a different discipline who may not yet be making films. My role is to find these voices who demonstrate a flair for the screen and then support them in their film career.
4. Please tell us more about this very interesting new pot of funding available through FHN for short filmmakers and first-time feature makers.
BFI NETWORK have a rolling production fund to support fiction live-action and animation short films up to £15,000 and develop early feature ideas from new writers into a 10-page treatment or fund research costs up to £1,500. For the short film production fund, you ideally need to apply as a writer-
director-producer team and for the feature development funding, writers can just apply on their own if they don’t already have a producer. Jess and I will look at applications from the North (for short films it’s if the Director is based here and for features it’s if the writer is based here) and work with teams throughout the production of the short or development of the feature.
5. You’ve started these 1-2-1 surgeries where talent can book a 30 minute meeting with you. How do they work and what can people talk to you about? Who are they open to?
These 1-2-1 surgeries are really an opportunity for me to connect with new talent. I receive quite a lot of meeting requests and I felt like the fairest way to respond to this was to organise some regular drop-in sessions across the region so everyone has an opportunity to meet with me and ask questions about film, funding or specific projects. I really like meeting new talent and finding out about their careers and film tastes – it’s an important part of the job to know the talent landscape. You’ll be able to book a meeting slot with me on the BFI NETWORK website from July, but in the meantime please refer to the Film Hub North Twitter page or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. What do you find useful when people approach you for a meeting / advice? What isn’t helpful?
What’s super useful when people are approaching me for a meeting is if there’s already been an element of proactiveness on their part. Whether that’s going onto the BFI NETWORK website and having a read of the funding opportunities or if you’re a producer looking for collaborators, researching/scouting writers and directors locally by attending short film nights (like Showroom Shorts!) or going to the theatre. This signals to me that there’s a hunger to work in film.
7. How will you and Film Hub North be working with Rob and the SYFN over the upcoming months?
SYFN are a close ally of Film Hub North and I feel really privileged that Rob is allowing me to programme the 70th Showroom Shorts in June. Showroom Shorts offers me a great space to scout and connect with local filmmakers and I hope we’ll find future opportunities to collaborate.
8. What is the best way for people to get in touch?
Upload a piece of your work to the BFI NETWORK Postroom, book a surgery meeting, drop me an email at email@example.com or come along to events I’ll be running or attending at the Showroom Cinema – like Showroom Shorts! – and across the North.
Learn more about the BFI Film Network at https://network.bfi.org.uk/ and Film Hub North at www.filmhubnorth.org.uk/