In the ten years I’ve lived in Notts, including the seven or so that I’ve written for LeftLion, I’ve found myself constantly using the phrase “Nottingham film community.” It was only when a mate from Canada asked me what the Nottingham film community consisted of that I actually stopped to consider it, and realised I couldn’t think of a solid definition.
As someone who spends more time than is healthy watching films, I might see it as the eclectic collection of cinemas in the city. Whether you’re watching the current Ingmar Bergman season at Broadway, watching The Rock kick ten shades of shite out of an enormous gorilla at Cineworld or catching a cult classic at the Savoy, there’s always a decent selection of big screen entertainment on show.
Or maybe the community is made up of the people who host or attend the different film festivals in Notts, like Steven Sheil and Chris Cooke’s Mayhem, the MicroFilm Festival or Scalarama, the month-long, annual, nationwide cinema event during which Nottingham holds the most screenings outside of London. We’ve also got more than our fair share of film clubs, with the likes of Kneel Before Zod, Reel Equality, Fortune & Glory, Porlock Press, Nottingham Alternative Film Network and Sunset Cinema Club regularly hosting a variety of different screenings and events throughout the year.
If you’re a student at Confetti, NCN or one of the two universities, the Nottingham film community might consist of the next generation of filmmakers who want to be the next Shane Meadows or Jeanie Finlay. Or if you’re part of the Television Workshop, the next Vicky McClure, Samantha Morton or Joe Dempsie. And there’s never been a better time to find inspiration after Sam Masud blazed a trail for everyone last year, with the Nottingham-born director’s incredible debut feature film My Pure Land becoming the UK’s Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language film.
The list of talent currently working in the film industry in the city is too long to begin naming, but the list of up-and-coming directors, cinematographers, writers, editors, sound recordists and producers is as vibrant, diverse and talented as it’s ever been. With regional funding slowly being pushed out again, and crowdfunding growing in popularity, creators of shorts, features, music videos or documentaries are finally getting the opportunity to showcase their work on a larger scale with decent budgets.
If that’s what the Nottingham film community means to you, then you’re likely to have met at least one of the people you collaborate with at Tweet-Up or Shooters in the Pub – two of the monthly networking nights held in the city – or maybe even at Short Stack, David Lilly’s bi-monthly short film night at Broadway Cinema, which has always placed an emphasis on showcasing local talent.
At various stages in my life, all of these different interpretations of what Nottingham’s film community is have been relevant to me, and I think that’s the point. It isn’t an exclusive club, but a functioning ecosystem that offers involvement, opportunity and entertainment for anyone who wants to get involved.
LeftLion Open House, Wednesday 2 May, 5pm, New Art Exchange