Venue Case Studies
Case Study: Fresh Perspectives at Fabrica, Brighton
Fabrica is a visual arts organisation based in a former Regency church in the heart of Brighton. For the last 26 years, Fabrica has commissioned contemporary visual art installations specific to the building – mainly in Spring, Summer and Autumn. These exhibitions explore various art forms, disciplines, and themes that we engage creatively in our programming. Fabrica is one of the first ‘early adopters’ of the young film programmers scheme to generate wider youth audiences for their venue alongside encouraging career pathways into the film exhibition industry.
Why We Started This Work
Film at Fabrica is a year-long programme where we show audiences a diverse range of films that engage with our main exhibition programme in new and unique ways, all through pop-up community cinema. These screenings can include traditional cinema, double-bills, live music accompaniment, talks, Q&A, spoken word performances, workshops, and much more. In addition, we host multiple film festivals and work with numerous partners on screenings – such as Cinecity, Women’s Over Fifty Film Festival, Oska Bright Film Festival, Short Circuits, Queer East, and Brighton Rocks.
Our larger organisational goal as an educational arts charity is to remove barriers within the creative sector. Film at Fabrica also provides a platform for Fresh Perspectives, our Young Film Programmers group, to help offer local young people educational and training opportunities within the film sector.
Our Planning and Approach
Facilitated by Film at Fabrica’s experienced team, the Fresh Perspective small group meets once per month. The members chat about films, learn from industry experts, and gain experience delivering film events from young people for young people. There are many opportunities to gain professional development through hands-on experience and specialist guidance which can lead to further progression into a film career. Our skill development ranges from marketing, social media, copywriting, researching, presenting, workshop facilitation, archiving, and more.
Typically, we have one Fresh Perspective screening for each seasonal exhibition we host, with the chosen film exploring that exhibition’s themes. We also tie film screenings into globally celebrated anniversaries such as Earth Day, International Women’s Month, and International Refugee Week. In addition, these screenings always include event elements that further reflect our chosen themes – e.g., a poetry workshop, urban forager tasting session, or tarot readings. Our tickets work on a sliding-scale price to remain accessible to our local community.
We also have additional projects we work on outside of our exhibition programme. For example, last Autumn, we hosted a Fresh Perspective film screening of Captain Fantastic to respond to our Vanessa Daws exhibition about sea swimming. As this was a heritage-based exhibition with links to a local historical figure, we also applied for a Screen Archive South East bid that enabled us to have a curated reel of clips from different archival footage of the seaside of Brighton and other South Eastern towns.
Fresh Perspective members have also collaborated with many other partners, including pre-selecting short films to be shown at Cinecity Film Festival, hosting interviews on BFI Labs, and curating a short film festival screening for Oska Bright Film Festival. As a result, there are always different opportunities to showcase films with a creative spark.
Through Fresh Perspectives, our organisation has learnt that there is a massive appetite for alternative community cinema events. One barrier for Fresh Perspective screenings is inherent to its nature as a pop-up cinema. There can be limited space and thus cinema capacity depending on what the gallery is exhibiting at a given moment. However, it is also a strength in allowing a unique and creative experience you wouldn’t find anywhere else – e.g. watching the brilliantly bizarre Alice (1988) while sitting amidst a mini-golf-themed surrealist exhibition.
We are currently in the process of restructuring following some funding changes, which will also be an exciting and challenging period. We plan to continue our format of structuring our Fresh Perspective screenings within unique spaces and responding to exhibition themes.
Our Fresh Perspective Alumni have gone on to gain further career pathways in and outside of Fabrica. Both facilitators of Fresh Perspectives used to be members themselves, while others have gone on to work as film programmers, cinema supervisors, film event managers, commissioned filmmakers, and gallery managers. These have included employment for organisations such as BFI Film Academy, Broadway Cinema, the Depot cinema, Towner Gallery, The Old Market, Cornwall Film Festival, and so much more.
We also recently had a Fresh Perspective start a paid social media internship with us, wherein they have set up and generated content for a Fresh Perspective Instagram. One major success in its three months of inception is that we have been recognised and followed by the director of ‘Beba’ for posting about our screening of their documentary film.
As our group membership is without a time limit, we recruit as and when a space opens up. We also operate a waiting list to enable anyone interested in joining to be contacted when a spot opens up.
Sally Connellan, Gallery Manager and YFP Coordinator