Here at Raising Films we’re finalising our approach to giving recognition to those people, productions, companies and organisations working in the spirit of what Raising Films stands for.
We anticipate this recognition will take the form of a kitemark that can be included on websites, end credits, printed materials, pop-up banners, brochures, flyers… You get the picture! And of course we will shout from the rafters about these great people doing things to recognise, acknowledge and support parents and carers working in film and TV.
First-up in our series of shout-outs is Falmouth University, and specifically Dr Neil Fox, who curates a Guest Lecture Programme for the University’s School of Film & Television.
Over to Neil…
So much of teaching film, for me, is trying to instill philosophies about how films should be made in terms of respect, kindness and fairness to students. I try to teach from my own filmmaking experience and practice and as coordinator of the guest lecture programme I try to invite guests who I feel share the same values of collaboration and respect, on film sets and in life.
To me, teaching theoretically about how film sets should operate is only valid if the behaviour and practice of the course and the School of Film & Television practices what it preaches. As a supporter of Raising Films I felt it was important that we should consider the parenting and caring responsibilities of those we invite to speak to our students. To demonstrate that when we say it’s important to be thoughtful and decent and respectful in film practice that we believe the same within our institution, and act accordingly.
I approached the Head of Film, Dr. Kingsley Marshall, and Director of the School, Professor Chris Morris and said I thought it was important that where needed we should invite the partners of our guest speakers, covering the travel and accommodation for both adults. We decided roughly it would be when our guest speakers had children not yet in school.
Both Kingsley and Chris supported the idea enthusiastically and our first beneficiary was Sarmad Masud who visited us to talk about his debut feature My Pure Land and Sarmad brought along his wife Caroline and their seven-month old son Lahl.
Sam sent me this lovely statement, “You can not make a film without the support, strength and encouragement of your loved ones. To then have the opportunity to have your film screened and be able to attend the event with your family is a fantastic way for them to feel like a part of the whole process. I’m incredibly thankful to Neil and the folks at Falmouth who kindly covered the travel and accommodation for me and my family, they really seem to understand and appreciate how important it is. Thank you.”
To be able to support families to travel together is really important to me. We also pay our guests a fee, something that is crucial so that the very long journey to be a part of our Guest Lecture Programme (Falmouth is a long way from everywhere) doesn’t leave guests out of pocket but also pays them for their time, travel and expertise.
What I would like to implement next is to make the fee more reasonable for freelancers and self-employed guests as at present it’s pretty meagre and substantially below going professional rates. I’m keen to ensure the potential anxieties of being away from partners and small children is minimised as much as possible for our guest speakers. To me it feels like such a small and obvious step to make, it makes for happier guests and the additional costs are pretty negligible really, and I’m pleased to have made it.
If we are really to consider ourselves a progressive school that is truly aligned with industry best practice then initiatives like this are vital and beyond that, it’s just the right thing to do.
We totally applaud what Neil and the team at Falmouth University are striving to achieve, it’s entirely in the spirit of Raising Films and we can’t wait to present Neil and the School of Film & Television at Falmouth University with the Raising Films kitemark!
Find out more about the School of Film & Television’s Guest Lecture programme
You can also follow the School on Instagram!
Image: L to R: Dr Neil Fox and director and parent Sarmad Masud with students at Falmouth University.