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Open Cinema

Open Cinema enables any community to have a cinema or make a film. It builds life, media and enterprise skills, and capabilities, networks and pathways to education and employment.

Open Cinema enables any community to have a cinema or make a film. It builds life, media and enterprise skills, and capabilities, networks and pathways to education and employment.

Open Cinema is a network of participatory cinemas and filmmaking programmes for excluded communities. Working internationally since 2009, they have launched 34 audience-led film clubs and enabled production of 56 films. Their work builds life and media skills, and reflects and develops the passions and talents of each unique community and individual. 

Open Cinema is now a group comprised of the non-profit Open Cinema Foundation and the tech spin-out Open Cinema International Ltd. The foundation has been working across the UK and Ireland, with occasional international projects, since June 2009. Based on a four-year pilot participatory film club for street homeless people in Soho, the company's subsequent work has overseen the launch of 45 film clubs supporting low-income or excluded people across the UK and Ireland. The film clubs have welcomed 14k admissions, 18k volunteer hours, and over 200 guests from the film and other industries. The foundation publishes research on its impact annually, and has now won numerous awards for its work. In this time, the foundation has worked with over 100 organisations, and received enquiries from over 600, representing over 3k community spaces across the UK.

The company has also run a successful set of participatory filmmaking programmes, which have enabled participant communities to produce 56 short films, many of which have been seen at major film festivals (including Sheffield Doc/Fest), helped individuals to advance their life situations, and organisations to better report on their impact. Open Cinema is a member of the Better Participatory Video consortium of leading international PV organisations, which over the past year has convened quarterly webinars on PV for over 200 participants from over 30 countries

Open Cinema International Ltd was launched in January 2015, progressed through the Dotforge Impact accelerator in Sheffield. It subsequently raised a £115k pre-seed round, including from Creative England, with which it built a prototype digital platform for community cinema. This has been designed to enable any community to register a profile, choose and schedule a licensed screening, and make tickets available for sale from any device. OCI is currently assembling its seed investment round, and preparing a piloit network with the support of Creative Scotland. 

Our goal is to develop a cinema fit for 21st century communities.

 

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