Venue Case Study: Cameo Launch, Woking

Person presents to an audience in front of a cinema screen displaying a holding slide.

Cameo Launch is a short film platform that reviews and highlights outstanding short film and short film creators. Our purpose is to raise the profile of the short film medium by not only highlighting exceptional short film but by encouraging audiences to invest in short film creators. We work to build the profiles of short film creators via our podcast and video content and filmmaker interviews the accompany our short film reviews.

Why We Started This Work

We got into the arena of programming and reviewing because we felt that there were broader perspectives of British cinema that were not being explored. With cinemas focusing almost exclusively on Hollywood fare, we discovered that short film had become fertile ground for ambitious and paradigm-shifting British film. What was missing was a platform to act as a lightning rod for the best film being developed nationally and internationally. Additionally, it was not lost on us that audiences are drawn to names that they know, particularly in the age of franchises and IP-driven filmmaking. Short film gives us the opportunity to make the filmmaker the brand, thus creating a recognisable name and still having the creative latitude to explore the stories, styles and perspectives that make short film a unique and attractive prospect. Most importantly we have come to realise that young people are a huge driving force within cinema audiences. In addition, we have noted an exuberance and enthusiasm that lends itself to being open to experimental and non-standard cinema experiences. Bearing this in mind, Cameo Launch offers the opportunity to research, explore, craft and implement programming strategies that combine online and theatrical platforms and connect audiences to short film creators.

Our Planning and Approach

Our Young Programmers Lab provides a phased progression for the curators and researchers accepted onto the scheme. Scheduled around the academic year, we hold weekly remote sessions with our young programmers in which they initially spend a half-term shadowing the programming and production activities of the Cameo Launch platform, followed by another half-term assisting and a final half term leading the production and programming activities. This all culminates in our seasonal screening event ‘Shortest Night of the Month’, which consists of a selection of short films and an appearance by the filmmaker/s of the selected films, allowing the audience to engage in a Q&A and networking event. The event is a core focus of the final half-term, with the programmers directly handling the programming and the identifying of the guest filmmaker/s that will appear for the Q&A and networking.

The participants will also have the option of volunteering at our Woking-based film festival. The Surrey Short Film Festival is the culmination of our programming and promotion activities throughout the year and is held at Nova Cinema in Woking as a part of our ongoing partnership. The line-up of short films is made up of showcases focused on specific themes. One of these showcases will be dedicated to the collection of the short films programmed by the participants of the Young Programmers Lab, providing multiple opportunities for the participants to work towards during their time with Cameo Launch.

Cameo Launch has made great efforts to create relationships with colleges in the wider Surrey area. Through faculty members and careers guidance officers we have been able to develop a communications network that helps us to find recruits in the desired age range (16-25). We are also developing a schedule of online recruitment events, which we promote through our network of local and regional education institutions. Targeted online adverts also provide additional reach and visibility to our online recruitment and proposed collaborations with our local council will aid in accessing the target audience in colleges where we do not currently have direct contacts.

Being based in Woking, most of our recruitment will happen amongst the 16–25-year-old age range in that area, however the online component to our marketing and recruitment broadens our scope to reach young people in other areas of Surrey that are not as affluent as Woking and the surrounding boroughs. We fully intend to reach out to areas such as Kingston, Surbiton, and Sutton, expanding the reach of the Young Programmers Lab but also the promotional network of the Surrey Short Film Festival.


One of the biggest barriers to success in this area is the issue of co-ordination and availability. While our collaborators in colleges in Woking, Esher and Godalming are engaged and enthusiastic, they are still subject to internal scheduling, assignments, and developments. This can mean that events or visits planned to demonstrate the platform and inform students of the opportunities available through the Young Programmers Lab can be rescheduled or cancelled with little warning. Additionally, public transport within Surrey can be a barrier to event attendance from outside Woking.

Despite these barriers, we have had successes in terms of continued support from within the colleges and good attendance at the in-person events that have been held thus far. The audience that has attended showed high levels of engagement and provided feedback vital to crafting future events and screenings.


Since moving from a purely online experience to a hybrid platform, the level of positive engagement has increased dramatically. Being able to provide aspects of our operations with educational value has gone a long way towards being able to present short film as an avenue into the broader cinema landscape. Our most recent events have validated our assertions that young people have an interest and drive in exploring new avenues in film and cinema. The willingness to see more events like ‘Shortest Night of the Month’ in the future has demonstrated the audience potential for our platform and the potential to provide the kind of platform that raises the profile of both short film creators and the medium as a whole.


Scroll to Top