Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It’s great if the BBC come here but what’s happening to get the community involved ?

by Alison Surtees of Creative Industries In Salford (CRiiS), co founders of the Salford Film Festival, which has its base at Web Studio in Little Hulton.

The Salford Film Festival is so important as it brings everyone together, there’s a real open sense of celebration and it’s fantastic press and publicity for the city. It won’t happen this year because we don’t have enough funding on the table.

The tragedy is that community film making is on the up – we’ve just secured Big Lottery Funding which means we can go out working with young people right across the city. Unfortunately we now don’t have our showcase that really trumpets all this brilliant work and that’s a real concern for me. Yes we can organise individual events but it’s so much more powerful to do one massive event each year – this is a really tragic loss for Salford.

We’ve supported the Salford Film Festival for the last three years and we are always the main sponsor but my role is increasingly getting funding for CRiiS as an organisation, so I’ve not been able to give my full input this year and as a result the Festival is on its knees. We need people not just to talk the talk but to actually come on board. For something that’s had so much publicity and verbal support it shouldn’t be this hard to keep it going – it only takes a small amount of effort to see it get off the ground and really develop. It’s not good enough to say `Yes we support it’ and `What a wonderful idea’…they’ve got to put their money where their mouths are or contribute – it’s too late for this year.

If Web Studio disappears and becomes something else completely then we’re going to lose studio facilities too, and by losing that we’re going to lose direct access in terms of placements, apprenticeships and employment opportunities. All this was very much in the ethos of Bob and Ken when they were developing the project and it’s made it so easy for us to put kids though.
If someone else buys Web as studios we don’t have the links with them so we’re back to square one.

It’s fantastic if the BBC are coming here, but in the interim what’s happening to get the community involved and prepped up, ready to take best advantage of those opportunities? That’s my main concern. In terms of production companies, set design, construction and all those periphery industries then Web Studio is all we have at the moment. And in terms of showcasing all the work, the Salford Film Festival is all we have too. It will be very, very sad to see it all go…

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