This Way Up conference in Manchester

This year’s event invites film exhibitors to rethink traditional exhibition and offers labs, workshops and panel discussions.

Audience at This Way Up conference in 2014

Audience at This Way Up conference in 2014

  • What is the value of cinema? – from communal DIY to West End deluxe
  • Are film critics an endangered species?
  • The rise and rise of event cinema – is a film no longer enough?

Jointly organised by three hubs within the BFI’s Film Audience Network – Film Hub North, Film Hub North West Central and Film Hub Scotland – This Way Up is a two-day conference hosted by HOME, Manchester’s newly opened international centre for contemporary art, film and theatre.

This Way Up 15, scheduled for 2-3 December, welcomes delegates from the UK and Europe to take part in workshops, lunchtime labs, sessions and panel discussions. This innovative event will examine emerging and disruptive trends, provide hands-on experimentation with new models, and hear from leaders across the creative industries in a hothouse environment where film exhibitors are invited to rethink the traditional exhibition sector, and reflect on what audiences really want in a personalised, digital age.

Three keynote speakers will each present a provocation address that will form the core of the conference:

Nick North (Director of Audiences, BBC) shares his experience of how the BBC is responding to the changing appetites and expectations of audiences as a starting point to examine how film exhibitors can adapt to the proliferation of increasingly personalised content delivery.

Marianne Maxwell (producer, National Theatre of Scotland) will explain how her unique organisation operates at the cutting edge without a public venue and asks what cinemas can gain when they start thinking without walls.

Anna Higgs’s (executive producer, High-Rise, Duke of Burgundy) familiarity of working on multi-platform releases such as A Field in England will form the basis of her address, which will look at how thinking innovatively about how to connect with your audience can create new opportunities for filmmakers, distributors and cinemas.

The conference will be steered by writer, broadcaster, critic and arts consultant, Gaylene Gould, who joins This Way Up 15 as conference MC and facilitator.

New to this year, This Way Up 15 launches an open call for pitches for content to round off the packed programme that will cover the value of cinema, the ongoing mission to appeal to more diverse audiences, the role of the film critic and whether Cat Video Fest is the end of cinema as we know it! If you are interested in pitching a discussion or lunchtime lab please contact

Delegate passes for This Way Up 15 are priced at £130 and are on sale from BFI Film Audience Network members can apply for bursary support from their respective Film Hubs.

Speakers and full programme will be announced in November.

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This Way Up 15

This Way Up 15

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