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We the People’s Film Festival

Last updated September 29th, 2015

Does a volunteering opportunity where you get to have real input on how to promote and run a London film festival, running over several days appeal to you? How about if we tell you the aim of the festival is to encourage young film makers and support to kick off their careers in style?
Every year a group of Event Academy students and alumni volunteer at the We The People’s Film Festival held in November. We spoke with Gareth Cooke who is currently a student on our diploma course this year about why he was so keen to volunteer to work on the festival.
Making a difference
According to Gareth, the two most exciting things about being involved in WTPFF are the focus on the festival and the way the volunteers are given so much responsibility.
The aim of WTPFF is to encourage and support young film makers in developing their careers and also to raise awareness of the United Nation’s Three Pillars of Freedom. Not only does this give young filmmakers a much needed platform to share their work, it also establishes a role for younger film makers in addressing serious issues that have global significance.
It is appropriate for a festival with such high ambition that anyone volunteering to work on festival management is offered a similar level of opportunity and responsibility. For Gareth, the most surprising thing about his involvement has been how much free rein the volunteer teams have to organise their work. Gareth is pouring his creative energy into marketing campaigns that will raise awareness of the festival’s #tweetapitch initiative and encourage participation.
Valuable industry experience
Working as part of a team to produce a festival of this size gives a really hands on insight into what it takes to successfully run a large scale event. Unusually, volunteers have the chance to be involved right at the beginning of the planning process.
The first discussions happen in June, for an event that doesn’t take place until mid November. Our student volunteers are taken on a complete journey from beginning to end, with a huge variety of roles to be filled.
On top of marketing, Gareth will also have input to the content programming for the BFI Youth Day on 21st November as part of the festival. He is a member of the selection panel for the films to be screened that day, giving him a real view into the programming and production side of this event.
A meeting of minds
Of course, the people you meet and work with on a project like this also make the experience unforgettable. As well as event management professionals, the festival attracts creative people from all disciplines, especially film making and youth work.
What a fantastic way to make friends and contacts that will be a source of support throughout your whole career. We know it will be hard work, but we hope Gareth has an amazing time.
If you are interested in We The People’s  Film Festival have a look at their website to find out more. Gareth is really keen to get the word out about the #tweetapitch competition that offers £500 to filmmakers aged 15-25 to make their own short film and premier it at the festival.
Featured image taken by Harriet Quickenden at the festival in 2013

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