Bigger, stronger, bolder.


2018 was a huge year for the IFT! We developed the Vertical Lab, helping underrepresented film artists, break into the industry. We launched the Coldharbour Project: a major community-led visual arts production incorporating oral history, documentary, VR, photography and archive, culminating in a multi-media exhibition held at the Brixton Library. We worked with professional filmmakers, students, local community members, probation service users. We expanded our professional partnerships to include Raindance Film Festival, London School of Economics, the University of the Arts London, the Advocacy Academy and more. We continue to grow and increase our capacity to support independent film in the UK, and to amplify marginalised voices.


Film is central to modern cultural expression. The more people that have access to it, the more society benefits from it.


Film has a huge impact on our culture, our society and our economy. It shapes how we see the world, how we understand other cultures and how we view our own lives. According to national tourism agency, Visit Britain approximately 20% of the 23 million people that visited Britain in 2001, did so because of the way the UK was portrayed on film. The UK House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee predict that for every £1 spent on UK film, there is a £1.50 benefit to the UK economy at large. In his 2005 paper entitled, “Cinema is Good for You: The Effects of Cinema Attendance on Self-Reported Anxiety or Depression and “Happiness”‘, S C Noah Uhrig points out that “The narrative and representational aspects of film make it a wholly unique form of art […] the unique properties of attending the cinema can have decisively positive effects on mental health.” The impact of film must be accessible to as many people as possible: that people have access to films at the cinema, to the production process of making films, to having their stories told and heard so that they are included in the body of human experience that is reflected through cinema at home and abroad.

The Independent Film Trust exists to provide this opportunity: for more people to visit cinemas, and learn the production skills required to make films that tell their story.

This year, we have expanded our scope to work with a wider range of people, in more regions of the UK, developing greater collaborations with more industry partners.

IFT outreach projects have taken place in Cambridge, Kent and London, helping over 30 vulnerable and marginalised people make films that communicate their experiences. We have run film screenings at cinemas in Cambridge, Kent and London, as well as at the London School of Economics and Raindance Film Festival.

Through the Vertical Lab, we have helped 15 emerging filmmakers develop more robust careers in film, encouraging a more diverse film industry for a more vibrant UK cinema output.



new films in production


New professional partnerships



increase in community engagement


community outreach events


Helping communities find their voice and tell their own story. 


Community outreach is key to our mission at the Independent Film Trust, and this year, we have greatly expanded on our reach and capacity.

Our projects in Cambridge helped young people excluded from mainstream schooling to develop films about life and learning in a referral unit. In Kent we worked with students to bring former miners and former police together to explore the decades of social division that developed after the miners’ strikes of 1984. In London we worked with former offenders to help people on probation use film to explore the challenges of life in and out of prison. The subjects of these films are now being considered for a feature documentary.

This year, we significantly boosted our capacity in community outreach with our most ambitious project to date: the Coldharbour Project.

The Coldharbour Project is a community driven, professional 360 degree film and photography project that will be exhibited in Brixton Library in October 2019, before touring in galleries around the country.

The Coldhabrour Project brings together over 200 local community members who are benefitting from public workshops, 15 community members who have elected to join our community production team, ten VR and Documentary students from the University of the Arts London, two historians, four professional VR consultants and the IFT team. It is the biggest and most diverse collaboration we have ever attempted and the results have been fantastic! By bringing in local community members in at every stage of the process, we have made this a project everyone can feel invested in and be proud of. The result will be a series of filmed oral histories and three 360 degree VR film experiences exploring aspects of the community that have emerged as most significant to the area: Brixton Market, the Social Clubs and the Sound Systems.


People we have worked with through community outreach


Those with the most important stories to tell, are often the least likely to be heard. 


Locked in the Pen filmmakers at their film premiere

Working with people considered ‘hard to reach’ is a huge priority for the IFT. We exist to help people find a voice through film and communicate important experiences, no matter how difficult.

This year, we were extremely happy to work with published poet, community leader, campaigner and educator, Michael Groce. Michael worked with us to develop the Coldharbour Project as well as the Locked in the Pen initiative working with former offenders on probation. The Locked in the Pen intended to break the taboo of prison and criminal offending in the community and helped former offenders translate their experiences of life in and out of prison into poetry and film.

The participants screened their films to a cinema audience of community members, as well as representatives from the Police, the Probation Service and other charities working in the field.

A post-screening discussion enabled the participants to break down the process they went through, explain their stories in more detail and engage with Probation Service providers in a way they had never done before.

Another screening is now being developed and the project is being expanded in the hope of rolling it out in more places around the country. A feature documentary is also being considered focusing on the themes of victimhood, alienation, poverty and addiction that the films focused on.


Help us support bold cinema with an independent voice.