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RECLAIM THE FRAME – INTRODUCING OUR COVID-19 COMMUNITY FUND

RECLAIM THE FRAME – COVID RESPONSE 

We are pleased to announce that we have been delegated to distribute National Lottery money that has come from The National Lottery Community Fund to develop and run a community outreach programme in response to the isolation caused by COVID. The new initiative will reach disadvantaged communities across London (the location is specific to the funding). The plan is to remove barriers for people who may not see new films, and for whom film viewing is a luxury and give them access to cinema events (when they’re open) and to more home viewing during a particularly difficult time. The initial response will run from November 2020 to March 2021 and include partnerships with schools, local authorities and community organisations who are at the forefront of supporting vulnerable people during the COVID crisis. 

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While the industry experiences uncertainty about the future of cinemas and the traditional film slate, we have adapted quickly to the current climate by continuing to support films made by women through online releases and talks. We recognise the excluded communities and individuals who now more than ever need support. Our aim is to bridge the gap by exercising a deep understanding of the realities of  precarious financial and living situations and accessibility needs which are often ignored in the mainstream. 

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We have developed and are implementing a new community outreach programme to reach excluded communities in London where barriers to access cinema and films have been amplified during the COVID crisis. We believe that art and cinema should be accessible and inclusive and are honored to be given the support from The National Lottery Community Fund, distributed by City Bridge Trust to remove those barriers. 

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As part of the response we will continue to spotlight and celebrate new and classic films made by women. Since March we have worked on campaigns which are in line with BEV’s Reclaim The Frame project such as THE PERFECT CANDIDATE (Haifaa Al Mansour), MISBEHAVIOUR (Phillipa Lowthorpe), SHIRLEY (Josephine Decker),  ROCKS (SARAH GAVRON) and more. These and a number of other independent films, which due to the pandemic didn’t reach the audience they deserved, will be made available for free to communities and individuals. As part of the initiative we will ensure that films have caption and audio described options, that events are BSL interpreted and that consideration is taken to those who don’t have access to the internet by providing DVDs. 

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Mia Bays, Birds’ Eye View’s Director-At-Large : “We were so thrilled to hear we had got this award, during a time when we had pivoted fast during lockdown to working online only, rethinking how we continued to spotlight important new and classic films by women when everyone was at home and hungry for stories.  We know film may be viewed as a luxury by those affected by the pandemic in stark ways, but the films by women that we work on are special, they bring stories from all over the world, from diverse perspectives, and they can be a balm, a provoker of thought and debate, and also a way to connect.  Our online conversations continue this.  We are a commercial mission – bringing ever-greater audiences to films by women – so it’s important that we now have a fund that can buy access to cinemas and to at-home viewing for people excluded due to reasons such as data poverty, access issues, marginalisation, and welcome more people to share these powerful and inclusive screen stories and join in conversations that may nourish in new ways”.

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Joining Birds’ Eye View to deliver the initiative is Isra Al Kassi who is also the co-founder and director of TAPE Collective, Isra has a background in community engagement, event and cinema programming and a particular passion for championing equality, diversity and inclusion in the industry.

About the initiative Isra says: “I’m thrilled to be joining the team and building on the already great foundation laid by Birds’ Eye View and through their innovative audience development initiative: Reclaim The Frame. In order for organisations to make a difference in people’s lives conversations surrounding accessibility need to be explicit and transparent to meet the needs of the communities they work with. COVID has highlighted the exclusion faced while amplifying the isolation experienced by many vulnerable communities in London. Recognising that there are more factors to making films accessible than lowering costs we will be working closely with community partners to remove barriers and offer captioned and audio described versions of the films whether they are being watched online, in cinemas or on DVD.

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I look forward to working on a project which will make an immediate impact in people’s lives during these difficult times and to developing and fostering more partnerships to make cinema and films in the long term more accessible to a wider audience. “

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If you work closely with or know of community groups which would benefit from our COVID response please get in touch with our Community Liaison Officer Isra on isra@birds-eye-view.co.uk

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