Recent months have flown by and so many things have happened – which explains why this impact roundup is rather late and covers half the year!
Where even to begin?
2021 has been an incredible time of expansion for Think-Film. So many amazing projects have come into our remit that we’ve stretched our slate to accommodate as many as we can. Alongside, we’ve opened and deepened relationships with many film festivals that are interested to explore what impact could look like in their context. It’s a wonderful privilege to be invited to be part of innovative industry programmes that are setting the European and global agenda on impact and helping to shape films that will change the world.
In April, we participated in Tempo Film Festival, workshopping impact with four very different projects and helping guide their thinking on strategic approaches. This brought up clearly how important it is to consider impact at early development stages; a coaching session with one project focused almost entirely on teasing out the crux of the filmmaker’s vision of why the film issues mattered and analysing how this could lead to a different, more poetic and mystical storytelling approach with greater power and emotional audience resonance.
A major highlight of our year – and existence as a company – was the launch in July of Cannes impACT, an entirely new programme in the Cannes Marche du Film aimed at improving diversity, inclusion, representation, sustainability, responsible and ethical data use in the global film industry. With invaluable partnership support from Microsoft, we convened five discussion-based events; these included an interactive OKRE Development Room with Brown Girls Doc Mafia featuring a keynote from Actor and Director Grace Dove alongside leading academics and thinkers disrupting the status quo and challenging our perceptions of society and the world.
A core value of the impACT programme for us (of course) was connecting the film world with wider political and social change moments. As part of this, we were honoured to be joined by Craig Spence representing the International Paralympics Committee, which just this week at the closing ceremony in Tokyo launched their new inclusivity campaign WeThe15.
The impACT programme also featured an impact-focused Producers Network breakfast and speakers including Steve Mallory, Writer of Hollywood blockbuster ‘SuperIntelligence’, NBCUniversal, European Commission, Council of Europe, The Guardian, Earth Angel, One Community, Cinelytic and Harmony Labs. More on outcomes and next steps coming soon….
In August, we participated in Dok.Incubator in the Czech Republic and a week-long ESODOC residential in Norway’s Arctic Circle, during which time we tutored over 25 projects! We love working with passionate filmmakers and it is always a real joy sparking new ideas and seeing creative people’s visions for their projects grow.
In March, we partnered with FIFDH to award an impact development prize. This was won by in-production documentary 72 Hours, which follows a powerhouse Belarusian mother searching for justice for her wrongfully executed son. The issue of Belarus’s death penalty, and its ongoing wider political turmoil were catapulted back into general public attention in June after the extraordinary flight diversion and tarmac arrest of journalist and dissident Roman Protesevich. We’re working closely with the documentary team to determine a strategic film impact campaign which maximises opportunities for political intervention and minimises risks for all concerned.
AI thriller doc iHuman released globally on VOD in August, find out where you can see the film here.
PEOPLE AND PARTNERSHIPS
Our team continues to reshape itself. We said goodbye in August to our Film & Policy Intern Phoebe and our Impact Fellow Tess, and wish them well. Impact Fellow Yik Kei joins the core team as Film & Policy Officer and former team member Thomas Walsh re-joins us after the conclusion of his undergraduate degree as Senior Film & Policy Officer.