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How we share a vision with the Cambridge Film Festival and support them financially and practically to achieve it

The Cambridge Film Festival is presented annually by the Cambridge Film Trust, a registered charity. With audiences in excess of 10,000 it is one of the largest cultural events in the East of England. The Festival has been entertaining audiences for over four decades and is renowned for delivering an exciting and innovative range of films and events.

The Project

Established in 1977, the Cambridge Film Festival plays a vital role in the city’s excellent cultural programme. It brings together the people of Cambridge, visitors, and international artists in an annual celebration of cinema. By partnering with the Film Festival, we feel that we can demonstrate our commitment to the cultivation of arts in Cambridge.

It is increasingly challenging to sustain an independent film festival of their scale and budget in the current climate of decreasing public funding for the arts. By providing financial and practical support, we help the Film Festival achieve its charitable mission of fostering film culture and education for the benefit of the public.

Studio 24’s approach to collaboration and the importance they place on building real relationships is so in line with our own ethos that it makes working with them an absolute joy. We are privileged to be able to have Studio 24 as a vital part of our Festival family.

Owen Baker, Marketing Manager, Cambridge Film Festival

Planning

The Cambridge Film Trust is a registered charity and depends on public grants, business sponsorship and individual donations to to deliver all of its beneficial activities. Studio 24 has been a Festival sponsor for 11 years providing digital services but we have now immersed ourselves fully in all things Film Festival!

As well as sponsoring the Film Festival’s digital requirements (including website redesigns in 2015 & 2017), Studio 24 staff are involved in the following voluntary roles:

  • Simon, Managing Director, is a trustee of the Film Festival. He uses his business skills and acumen to advise on strategy, business plans and digital.
  • Kate, Client Services Executive, has a marketing and events background. She has undertaken the role of programmer and host of the family strand of the Film Festival.
  • Ben, Digital Marketing Executive, runs the Sudden Double Deep film podcast and is a film reviewer for Cambridge 105 community radio station. Ben has joined the Festival reviewing team to review film submissions.

The Studio 24 team are fully engaged in the Festival aims and ideals and work incredibly hard to help the Film Trust deliver their annual Festival. The Festival has nurtured the Studio 24 staff and encouraged them to pursue areas of interest. The Festival and Studio 24 enjoy working together, with a shared passion for film and a shared vision of bringing quality independent, European cinema to the Cambridge community.

Financial support

Studio 24 have sponsored website and digital marketing services for the Film Trust since 2007. The Festival website is a vital tool for the promotion of the Film Festival to potential attendees and in profiling the Festival as one of the best within the industry. The redesign work we carried out in the build up to the 2017 Festival focused on usability and visual clarity:

  • The website is fully responsive and can be viewed across all devices. With filmgoers on the move, it’s essential that they can search, share and book online via their mobiles and tablets.
  • A robust search function allows users to quickly narrow film options via title, genre, certification, venue and date.
  • In 2017 the festival introduced a new booking system, Vista. Using our knowledge of ticketing systems we were able to integrate this seamlessly to the new site.
  • We introduced a ‘showing next’ feature to the homepage, which gives users a live feed of which three films are next to be screened. With many customers wanting to make the most of the festival by watching back-to-back films, this offers an instant solution.
  • We built the site in Drupal 8 – the latest release of this popular open source CMS. We tested Drupal 8 in the summer of 2015 while it was still in beta and was impressed with the modern technology it supported.

Practical support

Studio 24 are there to support the Festival every step of the way. This can include small (but essential), practical help such as having the capacity to download and store films when they are sent as large digital files.

This genuinely collaborative approach extends to the Festival team setting up base at our offices for a number of days during the Festival build up, to work with our team to input and format film data across the website and booking platforms. This level of collaboration has helped to build firm bonds at every level between the Festival and Studio 24 teams, bonds which have aided many other areas of the Festival’s delivery.

Granchester Meadows
Cambridge Film Festival speech

Results

In 2017 the website attracted 126,600 users, with 283,000 page views, enabling visitors to source information and book tickets. The Film Trust reported that feedback from both the Festival delivery team and users was overwhelmingly positive. There was a particularly positive response to the ease of finding information and the ability for the team to promote particular aspects of the Festival.

With the financial and practical support from Studio 24, the Film Festival 2017 had a very strong year. 223 films (chosen from 662 submissions) were screened over 8 days. The Festival offered a rich and varied programme with 23 UK premieres, 52 Q&As, 82 visiting filmmakers and 43 countries represented. 11,000 people attended the Festival to enjoy this wonderful celebration of cinema.

We are looking forward to another successful year of working together in 2018!

The Festival’s relationship with Studio 24 is incredibly important to us, they are not only sponsors of the Festival but also an increasingly vital part of its delivery. It is no exaggeration to say that without Studio 24 and more importantly, the amazing people that make up their team, the delivery not only of the website but the Festival itself would be almost impossible.