Kent Film Foundation is a (mostly) children’s charity based in a small studio premises in Cliff Street, Ramsgate. The organisation is about to enter its tenth year of running FREE film workshops and film clubs for youth with the main focus and aim to build confidence and self-esteem and also to allow children interested in the many hundreds of creative and media careers to access up to date information, equipment and current practise including contacts and the potential to further their skills in the long term. The current clubs on offer are The Girl’s Film Club (Boys welcome as guests) ages 13 – 19 after school on Wednesdays 4pm – 5:30pm at its premises in Cliff Street and the LGBT Youth Film & Social Club for 15 – 19 year olds in association with the Tom Thumb Theatre Margate on Mondays 5:30pm – 7pm. It has also been running its low cost Saturday stop-frame Lego animation club for smaller children in association with the Animation Company.
The organisation also works with older people by using film and digital media as a means to not only combat loneliness and isolation but in showing older people how to keep in touch with long distance family and friends through the modern phenomena of facetime.
The history of the charity began even earlier when a group of filmmakers who moved to Ramsgate began to incorporate training initiatives into their film productions which resulted in catapulting a number of young people from Thanet into film and media career paths, some of whom are now firmly established in the industry. The work with young people impressed the leader of Kent County Council, he suggested in 2007 that the filmmakers set up a non profit arm of their film company to facilitate youth projects using film to build aspirations in disengaged youth. Within three years the reputation of the work the filmmakers were doing grew so much that they were putting in a lot of voluntary hours and so one of the filmmakers founded the charity to take over the work that had begun and it became Kent Film Foundation in 2010.
The charity has won a number of awards over the years and its work has been mentioned in parliament and highlighted by other such charities as The Legacy Trust and praised by both the BFI and Screen South.
Kent Film Foundation partners with Ramsgate International Film Festival by hosting screening events all year attracting top guest speakers from the film industry including BAFTA and OSCAR winning practitioners. Most recently the producer of Ken Loach’s films, Rebecca O’Brien, attended the screening of Spirit of 45 as part of The Ramsgate International Film Festival. Previous guest speakers for the youth have included Stand Up Comediennes, Musicians, Cinematographers, Make-up & Prosthetics Artists, Set Designers, Set Dressers, Arts Directors, Sound Designers, Producers, Directors, Sparks, Script Supervisors.
Founder and filmmaker, Jan Dunn who is based in Thanet, describes her passion behind the charity “With so many hundreds of careers and jobs in media and film that teachers are not even aware of, and in some cases where little if any academic ability is needed, the organisation fills a gap in opening young minds of those who might be at a bit of a loss on what they can do with their lives. I have watched over the years how Kent Film Foundation has literally changed lives and not just in media career paths but also simply inspiring young people into self-motivation and belief in themselves. We have inspired as many aspirations in young plumbers and decorators as we have in film producers onto film school and beyond.”
To find out more information about the free film clubs for teenagers, the stop frame Lego animation clubs for younger children and the Silver Screen club for the older generation, you can visit the website: www.kentfilmfoundation.co.uk