Our new Chair Lee Kemp shares his vision for the year ahead
2019 is a fantastic time to be invited to take on the role of Interim Chair of the Producers Forum as it coincides with an incredible time for the region. So much has changed since Alison Grade’s appointment as CEO late last year. Where the immediate past CEO Pip Piper, working with the immediate past Chair Carole Manship, had taken on an organisation on that was effectively on life support, they handed over a thriving membership organisation with a range of great events that speaks as a respected voice in and for the region, perfect for Alison’s fresh approach and vital dynamism to take us forward.
I saw this very clearly in our most recent instalment of Forum Bytes, a screening event of our members’ work. Short films are hard to do well. They’re calling cards and stepping stones implicitly created by people who generally don’t quite yet have their edge sharp and are learning on the job. Usually doing so in an environment with almost no funding. Each is usually a project built on favours and hope. Yet the films we saw were, to my somewhat cynical surprise, a genuine joy to watch demonstrating the creativity, talent, resourcefulness and resilience that filmmakers at every level require. This kind of event, along with the large number of other events, member-led, industry masterclasses, pitching events or networking, along with the training opportunities is what helps us drive the community forwards.
As a membership organisation we are privileged to speak for an on behalf of our members. This gets us a seat at the right tables and we’re working particularly closely with the West Midlands Screen Bureau to ensure our members’ voices are heard. With this in mind I strongly encourage our members to get more involved by attending events and making yourselves known to the board so we can make sure we are indeed speaking with your voice.
The absence of major structural support for screen based industries in the West Midlands in recent decades has meant that those still working in or entering these industries are a hardy, resourceful bunch. I’m incredibly proud to be helping the board nurture an environment for this abundant talent in this region to thrive.