As TAPE turns 8 years old, it is fair to say that there is much going on and as such, we would like to take a breath and acknowledge some of the projects and developments, which have been part of a fantastic year for us all.
I’ve asked folks involved in developing, delivering and taking part in workshops and projects to share some of their highlights and memories which, along with some of mine, are set out in this blog. This is by no means a full list of what we’ve been up to but it does give a nice overview of the diversity of work, opportunities and achievements from the last 12 months.
Where to start? Well, the biggest project we’ve ever undertaken took place in November 2015, The Coastline Film Festival. You can read the full report on the festival here and keep up to date with the exciting plans for year 2 here. In brief though, The Coastline Film Festival is a brand new TAPE event, funded through the Big Lottery’s Coastal Communities Fund
Hosted in 5 venues, across two counties; year one of The Coastline Film Festival focused on launching the event as a cross- community celebration of film. Along with over 40 film screenings, the festival incorporated a series of talks, masterclasses, pop-up events, heritage projects and we currently have
in production, a feature film that will premiere in year this year.
The programming of the festival took place with widespread, community involvement throughout. Local film clubs and societies and community organisations were actively encouraged to get involved, with the overall aim of the festival being to deliver a wide range of films, with mainstream favourites programmed alongside films not often seen on the big screen. Supporting features played alongside feature presentations, comprising work from local filmmakers and archive film.
The grand plan for The Coastline Film Festival is to grow it from the two counties earmarked for year one, into a UK-wide event, with coastal communities from all around the UK getting involved. Already we are planning to screen some fantastic work in venues in Flintshire, Gwynedd and Angelsey, with the festival running for the whole month of November, 2016
The festival offers a number of commercial opportunities for both TAPE and local business. Through involvement, partnership or sponsorship, the festival has the capacity to become an annual event in the cultural calendar, which is recognised as creative and commercial opportunity for people, organisations and businesses in North Wales and around the UK.
I know I support and engage more on a ‘digital’ level at TAPE, but I do love the role. I have enjoyed seeing the growth of the TAPE ‘brand’ and it find its feet firmly in the online world and on social media. I enjoy documenting all of the wonderful things that happen here at TAPE and sharing them for the world to see. The website is quickly becoming the hub for all things TAPE – and I am proud to say it is working well. People are engaging with us, and the centre is now accessible from the comfort of home.
I am also really enjoying being involved with the planning and running of the Sofa Cinema – the audience is getting bigger by the day, and it is awesome experiencing all different types of people enjoying cinema – even perhaps people who wouldn’t usually go to or have access to a cinema. It is great to see all the initial planning come to fruition on the day, and see everyone having an amazing time. Seeing the cinema fill up with people, all here for the same reason – the love of film – is a wonderful experience, and knowing you have been part of making it happen, is brilliant.
Being a project worker for the Coastline Film Festival has been great fun. I’ve really enjoyed the planning process and meeting many new people and making new contacts. I love how ideas bounce so well between us all, and being able to watch that simple suggestion slowly grow into an amazing event for the public to enjoy. I can’t wait to see Coastline 2016 come to life!
I genuinely love being involved at TAPE. I love how every day and every thought encourages creativity, and the support here is second to none. Being part of the TAPE team has allowed me to expand my skills and experience into areas I’d never have even considered previously, and thanks to such a wonderful network of integral staff, I am able to do my job well, whilst also being a parent to my two children. Long live TAPE!
– Zara Whelan, Social Media and Coastline Film Festival Officer.
Backstage Youth Club , delivered in partnership with Afasic Cymru and funded through Children in Need has gone from strength to strength, with a growing cohort of young people eagerly coming along to TAPE each week to take part in a timetable of activities designed by them, covering a huge range of creative activities and life skills. Recently, six of the group became qualified sports leaders and two of the original club members have secured places at University. It is a wonderful project, the success of which has seen similar projects created in Rhyl, Mid and South Wales.
I’ve been with Tape just over a year now and have loved being involved with something so special! I really enjoy the Animation Club (even if it does mean giving up my Saturday mornings! It’s worth it!). Seeing the growth and development of the members of the club, I’m so proud of them and to be a small part of this and their success. It’s amazing seeing their award each time I come in and a reminder of how talented they all are and how hard they have worked.
I am also enjoying my more recent work with you guys as part of the youth club, what an amazing bunch of young people! There’s never a dull moment and they are all truly inspiring with their individual talents and skills, which I have no doubt have been encouraged and embraced as part of the youth club.
I have also been involved with other bits and bobs on the way and am never ceased to be amazed at how many innovative and inspiring projects are going on. I’m honoured and proud to be part of TAPE and hope to be part of it for as long as possible.
– Lisa Gannon, Workshop Leader
The TAPE Animation Club is funded through families first and has embarked on its second full year of activity with a full cohort twice over and a shiny award!
The club has help build confidence, participation and group work skills in a lot of talented young people. TAPE has worked with participants to learn new skills in animation as well as allowing them to experiment and improve their creativity. In January the animation club won an award for their collective works at the PICS Film Festival at Galeri Caernarfon
– Sam Martin, Animation Club Leader
The Conwy Community Podcast has transformed in the last 12 months from its previous incarnation as an information and events platform into a more traditional podcast, featuring an interview with a prominent member of the local community. The podcast can be found on iTunes and Podbean and has had almost 3000 plays, all around the globe, during its first four episodes. The podcast has enabled a core group of people to learn and deliver every aspect of the project, from arranging interviews through to editing and uploading the final piece. Have a listen, subscribe to the podcast and help spread the word about this fantastic show.
Ghostbuskers can be traced back to the first year of TAPE and is still a key activity in the TAPE timetable. Over 30 people come along every week to play, sing, socialise and enjoy the amazing atmosphere of this wonderful community music project for people of all ages.
The Structured Day Program, delivered in partnership with CAIS, has been in the TAPE timetable since the program was established five years ago. The last year of creative activity has seen a number of animation and film projects developed and delivered by participants on the program, all of which have received public premiers and screenings and supported a number of ongoing volunteering opportunities for people following their completion of the Day Program. The latest film, ‘Bendixed’ can be found on TAPE TV and is well worth a watch!
‘Bendixed’, was a brilliant film project with the Day Program. From scriptwriting, to filming, and through to the editing process the ideas, energy and commitment from all involved was inventive, inspiring and always good fun. One of the best moments came at the premiere when the head of CAIS asked if all the layers of nuance and depth was intentional and we could say ‘Yes’!
– Jenni Steele – filmmaker and volunteer.
Watching films continues to be a vital resource at TAPE and in the last 12 months we have been able to upgrade our cinema facilities to a very high standard. The Coastline Sofa Cinema is a fantastic screening facility boasting professional HD projection 5m wide electric screen, JBL Control 7.1 surround sound, 15 two seater leather sofas, electric blackout blinds and Blu-Ray playback via a PlayStation 4.
This inclusive cinema space boasts a range of free cinema clubs that include:
- Baby Cinema
- Saturday Kids Movie Club
- TAPE Community Film Club
- Special Event Screenings
- Screenings of limited release or community made films
Poke the Muse is a new but already flourishing drop-in project. The project has established a new kind of resource for creative folks, every Monday afternoon at the TAPE Community Arts Centre and another opportunity to engage with people in a person-led way.
During the last 12 months, thanks to TAPE’s creative partnership I have been involved in an Arts Council backed project which has given me a rare chance to develop my own skills alongside providing a moment of unexpected accolade for Bruce Douglas, octogenarian artist and poet-philosopher. Our collaborative film-portrait and exhibition was a great success and confidence boost to both of us.
Currently TAPE is enabling me to grow a community art project that is providing a unique open studio setting, allowing visitors of any skill or experience to develop their creative potential without the pressure to perform or produce specific outcomes. It is proving an oasis for people whose health, wealth or life experiences have stifled their belief in themselves and their creative ability.
It is largely thanks to TAPE that, nearing my own retirement, I now find myself with the belief that once released from work obligations, I will be able to flourish creatively through my Third Age
– Dee Rivaz, workshop leader.
TAPE continues to deliver workshops and projects across North Wales and the UK more widely. The growing team of expert practitioners is able to support creative activities and provide memorable experiences across most creative mediums, always with a person-centered and inclusive approach.
Making films and the many opportunities this medium provides, has become a cornerstone in the work of TAPE. From commissioned work through to the provision of support and facilities for both aspirant and professional filmmakers, TAPE has become recognized as a filmmaking resource for businesses, communities, groups and individuals alike.
Some of our current, ongoing film projects include time-lapse filming for Cartrefi Conwy and Wilmot Dixon, a film about friendship in the lives of people with learning disabilities, being devised and delivered via a partnership-focused Production Team initiative. A heritage film is in production on the subject of the Sychnant Pass above Penmaenmawr and a wonderful wildlife film, focusing on the nesting season of Terns on the Skerries.
The increasing number of referrals, enquiries and interest in becoming involved at TAPE is forcing the team to look at facilitating more long-form projects, which offer the space and time and options for involvement for a larger group of people, whilst maintaining a bespoke and person centered approach to delivery.
Currently, TAPE has a number of these projects underway and it has become clear that this method of delivery is increasingly suited to the interests of the vast number of people and organisations looking to involve themselves with the charity.
I had just arrived from Spain. I moved to North Wales because my girlfriend got a good position here and I didn’t want to be far away from her. I continued working at home, writing films reviews, reading scripts or planning some shootings in Spain. But at the same time, I was looking to take part in the local way of life. I was interested in developing my career here. My English lessons had started but I still didn’t feel confident in applying for jobs.
One day I opened the newspaper and I found that a film festival was going to be organized in the area: The Coastline Film Festival. Tape Community Music and Film were organizing it and they were looking for volunteers. I thought that it was an excellent opportunity to meet people of my profession and I was brave enough to get in touch with them.
The first day I visited the TAPE, Steve Swindon, the CEO, very kindly show me the facilities. He was very patient because I couldn’t understand half the things he was saying. He repeated the same things one after another. It was amazing: they had very good technical equipment, a small amount but very effective and fully functional. But the most surprising thing was the amount of people involved, of all different ages, coming in and out, always very busy. There were teenagers editing a video, children taking part in animation workshops, and an old man asking how he could the tracks of his mother singing from a vinyl record to a digital system.
I went home very excited.
Four months have passed since that day and I collaborated with them on small projects. I volunteered in The Coastline Film Festival and I was part of the technical team of the feature film British Winters.
The Coastline Film Festival seemed a very good opportunity to get to know new people. As well as being a volunteer, I went to watch Retreat, where Wales Screen explained to us where the film was shot, very close to where we were. We also watched The night of the living dead in the Chapel of Horror.
The shooting of British Winters was an amazing experience. We worked hard for five weeks to complete the feature film written and directed by Andrew Turner.
I have already worked on a few feature films but this one was my first experience in English. Those intense five weeks were very useful for learning English, especially technical words. I also got to know how a shooting in the United Kingdom works. Within the technical team we felt free to experiment and learn different ways of shooting: with two cameras, during the nights, in small rooms…All these things are not usually allowed by the production companies. I also had the opportunity to know the authentic North Wales and its own culture, different than mine. This would be very difficult any another way and I feel very lucky and privileged because I know that a lot of foreigners cannot get to know it.
But overall I have met a wonderful crew. People with the same interests as me. People, despite speaking another language, who understand the love for watching and making films. British Winters and their crew have helped me to reaffirm to myself that making films is what I like the most. And, even though it is hard job you can really enjoy and have fun making them
– Roque Cameselle, filmmaker.
TAPE’s first full-length feature film, British Winters will premiere at the 2016 Coastline Film Festival. The film is a directorial debut for its writer and has been developed and delivered as a community project which has involved a large number of local people and businesses during the production and filming. It has clearly evidenced the need for an alternate route into the film industry for graduates or those interested in this field and looking to develop their filmmaking slate, CVs and portfolio. With the resources available to us, it is becoming increasingly clear that TAPE is very well placed to deliver this alternate route to creating and screening new film works.
I have been volunteering and freelancing at TAPE since 2012. My background is in filmmaking and I had graduated from Glyndwr University with a BA Moving Image. After leaving university I was frustrated by the lack of opportunity for filmmakers in North Wales but I managed to secure a role as a IT mentor for a Denbighshire County Council initiative, New Work Connections which appealed to my other passion, community work. It was while working at New Work Connections I met one of TAPE’s regular participants; he explained what TAPE was all about. Eager to get involved as TAPE seemed the ideal environment for me as it’s creative, collaborative and a community centre., I contacted TAPE and sent them a reel of my work and asked about volunteering.
Initially, I started as a volunteer editor working three days a week and then moved on to help with workshops. It was mind blowing to see how TAPE operated, having worked with other community projects prior I had heard the term “fully inclusive” before but only when working with TAPE has it been used aptly. Working with all ages, background and abilities TAPE never highlights these differences just embraces anyone who comes through the door (including myself). Eventually, I left my job to freelance and volunteer full-time with TAPE. This was an easy decision. TAPE perfectly embodied the sort of organisation I was happy to devote time to. It has the ties to the community, which gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing something meaningful while also providing a creative outlet in which to hone my filmmaking skills. As my project resume increased so did my confidence and I started to work on my own script, British Winters, based on a book I wrote. The intention was to complete the script, and look at acquiring the appropriate funding to make it into an independent film.
It was some after this time, in 2014, I learned that TAPE had acquired the funds to make a feature film which was extremely exciting news for both TAPE and myself. Having worked on various short films since joining TAPE, I was eager to get involved in something more ambitious. Not knowing the details of the project I was eager to assist in the production, in any capacity, regardless of the project. It was a few months later that TAPE, knowing I had a completed script came to me and offered me the opportunity to not only direct the feature film but also approached me about having British Winters be the project. Needless to say I was elated. Having left school at 15 and suffering from dyslexia I never thought an opportunity like this would be given to me.
We began filming British Winters in January 2016 after several months of pre-production and planning. Saying that British Winters is a collaborative project is putting it mildly. While the words and vision were constructed by myself, through TAPE we were able to bring together a synergetic team to make my vision into a reality. The filming drew heavily upon the TAPE ‘family’, a family made up of staff, colleagues and volunteers. I was keen to try and get as many TAPE regulars into the film and hopefully use the project to bring new people into TAPE.
The production was intensive we filmed for five weeks only having Monday’s off. We used all North Wales locations and were humbled by the generosity of local businesses and people who volunteered their time and resources to assist. From donating free props to allowing us to take over their premises for a full week it was inspiring to come into contact with so many people who were willing to help out a community project.
While the production was intensive, the post-production is going to be just as challenging. The editing process has just commenced for me and it’s time to take the raw footage and make my film a reality. The film is going to be premiered at the Coastline Film Festival in 2016 and it’s thrilling to think that at the end of this process my film will be shown on the big screen. What’s equally rewarding is to see the effect British Winters has had on the crew and actors. It really has had a knock-on affect and it’s gratifying to see people pursuing acting, filmmaking and music production after being spurred on by this project.
Having worked at TAPE for several years now and British Winters being the culmination of my time with TAPE, it is easy to see why it has such a strong and fervent links to the community. It provides a creative outlet for people from all backgrounds. Rarely do you meet someone who drops by TAPE who then does not become a repeat visitor. The variety of the activities, the range of the facilities, the inclusiveness of the staff and willingness to help make it a truly innovative and welcoming place.
On personal note TAPE has given me something I’d be looking for my whole life; a welcoming and collaborative network of people, who’s trust in me has given me the confidence to strive for my dreams. It’s their honest and constructive feedback, which is helping me cultivate my skills making me better at my craft.
– Andrew Pearson, TAPE Community Music and Film Workshop leader and Director of “British Winters”
‘In the Shadow of the Ferris Wheel’, is a long-form documentary project, which TAPE has been commissioned to develop in partnership with the North Wales Coastal Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and Denbighshire Youth Service. To deliver the work, TAPE is supporting a group of primary school children and a young man undertaking his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to work on the film and produce all aspects of it, from script to screen. It also saw myself and Andy Pearson travel to Ukraine and Belarus to film and experience first-hand, the immense difficulties faced by many thousands of people in these two countries and get some understanding of the ever-present impact of the Chernobyl Disaster, which took place 30 years ago. The film project has already been shortlisted for a National Excellence in Youth Work Award and we are very excited that the film will also premiere at the 2016 Coastline Film Festival.
TAPE has a number of high-end resources, which allow for both event delivery and event support. From our Blow-Up Cinema event screens through to staging, sound systems, event activities, performances and event film and photography. TAPE is increasingly approached to support community events of all sizes, to add value, expertise and atmosphere.
TAPE’s Blow Up Cinema uses incredible, inflatable, outdoor screens, professional HD projection and high quality sound systems to create unique cinema screening events both indoors and out. Blow Up Cinema also offers supported employment opportunities as part of TAPE’s Pathway of Support program, which engages, trains and supports people through experiences and project delivery.
The recording studio at the TAPE Community Arts Centre is a well-used resource for local bands, musicians and groups for both rehearsal and recording. The studio is run with TAPE’s trademark ethos of support, with professional engineers and equipment on hand to ensure artists come away with the sound and recording they’d hoped for, and having had a great experience at the same time. This year, TAPE’s studio has been ungraded and revamped, thanks to the efforts of two volunteers who approached TAPE looking to further their knowledge and experience. Lukasz is a highly experienced sound engineer with a wealth of technical knowledge, which he has used to support the work of TAPE. He has worked alongside another volunteer, Chay, who was newly qualified when he came to TAPE and was able to learn a great deal from Lukasz and take part in projects, supporting others.
For over two years, TAPE has been a core member of the Conwy County Borough Council Social Enterprise Business Solutions Group. Formed by CCBC and key local third sector agencies, the group meets on a monthly basis in support of the growing links between the work of the third sector and the local authority. One outcome of this group working has been the awarding of Social Enterprise Place status to the county of Conwy. TAPE is one of the 10 groups recognised in this award and in the county’s economic regeneration strategy.
TAPE’s Ignite Scheme has been developed to provide a creative first response to individuals looking to engage or explore creative ideas. TAPE will match a person to a creative professional who will support this participant over a short programme of 1 to 1 sessions whilst looking to develop continuation through existing provision at TAPE or in the community. This scheme has proven to be of significant benefit for an increasing number of young people and adults in the area, for whom engaging with projects or activities can be a difficult experience. We have seen people move into significant and ongoing activities following extended periods of isolation, social and economic inactivity.
Pathway of Support
This programme supports opportunities for training, education and employment for people referred into TAPE from across many partner agencies and organisations. The Pathway of Support has been specifically developed to engage with an individual at a point appropriate to their current situation, level of experience and ambitions for their ideas and interests.
TAPE presents all its work with inclusion at heart. This practice is clearly visible through all aspects of our delivery and in the generation of involvement and opportunity for people at every possible stage. TAPE has engaged with and supported participants from across communities to be part of projects on their own terms and with a clear focus on each person getting the most out of their involvement with us.
Increasingly, TAPE is being sought out by film and media graduates as a destination where they can find opportunities to develop experience and work for their portfolios. For many, moving to an urban centre to further careers, is not an option or desirable. We recognise the role we can play in this area and are increasingly responding to requests for support and involvement in our work. TAPE can offer real world experience on live briefs, working to deadlines and dealing with customer feedback and requests.
It has become increasingly clear that TAPE plays a unique role in the provision of inclusive, creative support in North Wales and has positioned itself as ready to upscale both its infrastructure and thereby generate a significantly greater range of resources and real world opportunities for people of all ages. Amongst this work, is the exciting addition of an HTC Vive VR headset with Leap Motion and powered by a high-end specification gaming computer supplied by Utopia Computers. Our work with VR will create opportunities through both use of this exciting technology and learning around the creation of bespoke software and VR experiences. We look forward to sharing more about this very soon.
It is amazing to consider that 8 years has gone by and it feels like a huge privilege to stop and think about what we have been able to offer people in that time, the friends we’ve made and the experiences we’ve shared.
Sincere thanks to everyone who has been a part of TAPE this year and helped to make so many important things happen for people across the community.
Lastly, I would like to dedicate this post in memory of the wonderful, Keith Forecast, without whom none of this would have happened.
Thank you and here’s to the next exciting 12 months.