Harrogate Film Festival welcomes screen industry leaders in huge virtual event

Harrogate Film Festival, in Partnership with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP), has hosted its annual industry day focussing on skills for the TV and film industry.

By Graham Chalmers
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 2:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 2:19 pm
Harrogate Film Festival's Industry Day - The afternoon connected campus panel including Aisling O’Connor, the Head of Commissioning at BBC England, bottom left.
Harrogate Film Festival's Industry Day - The afternoon connected campus panel including Aisling O’Connor, the Head of Commissioning at BBC England, bottom left.

The independent festival's industry day welcomed big-hitting speakers from organisations such as the BBC, Channel 4, Screen Yorkshire, ScreenSkills, True North and The Northern Film School.

The day comprised of virtual panels, workshops and roundtables designed to boost the local screen industries, share knowledge and hear from industry experts.

It was a key event for people taking their first steps into the industry or looking to upskill for a change of role.

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    Topics included skills shortages in Yorkshire Film & TV, the divide between education and industry and how to make your first steps into the industry.

    It’s no secret that Yorkshire is now playing a vital role in the world of Film & TV.

    With like-minded individuals in the virtual rooms - from freelancers to creative agencies, funding bodies to industry networks, universities to skills-based providers - the day was supportive, motivating and valuable.

    Topping the speakers bill were Aisling O’Connor, the Head of Commissioning at BBC England, Kevin Blacoe, Head of Partnerships at Channel 4 and Jacqui Fenton, Head of High-End TV at ScreenSkills.

    There were also talks with Creative England, The British Film Institute, The Northern Film School, Screen Yorkshire and a corporate filmmaking panel with multiple local indie production companies.

    The event, hosted by Harrogate Film Festival, shined a spotlight on the creative industry in the town and local region as issues were explored such as skills shortages in production crews, upskilling during a career and getting students industry ready for leaving University.

    Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) and NP11

    “The LEP is a big supporter of the screen industry and values its role in driving economic growth. We have a wealth of industry experts in the region who can inform and advise, and it is wonderful to see these key spokespeople coming together to share their knowledge. This is crucial in building the required skills to fuel the talent pipeline for the future success of the industry.”

    The 2021 version specially pulled focus on skills, with the pandemic and how the industry comes out of it at the top of the agenda as people look to upskill.

    Adam Chandler, Founder at the Festival said “I love our industry day each year, we bring everyone together to share knowledge, enthusiasm and top tips among our peers! It’s always amazing to hear the insight from industry names and faces with key experience to share – right here in Harrogate.

    "The day provides a platform to take these learnings and develop different areas of our industry whether you are a big company or just starting out your career. I’m looking forward to the 2022 event already as we explore new challenges and support each other further – hopefully in person.”

    The panels from the day can be watched online for free here: https://www.harrogatefilm.co.uk/blog/missed-our-industry-day-watch-the-recordings-here

    The event will return for the fourth time, planned in person, in March 2022.

    Founded in 2017, the Harrogate Film Festival has run its industry days since 2019, proving popular among the industry with over 100 people at last year’s event which took place at Everyman Cinema.

    Organisers hope future days will return to in-person events.

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