Film in Oxford: An Introduction to OBA

As regular readers of this website will no doubt be aware, student film in Oxford has experienced an exciting growth in recent years. The formation of the Oxford Broadcasting Association (OBA), which grew out of the Oxford University Film Foundation (OUFF), is now encouraging this thriving scene to develop even further. Its tagline, ‘making student film happen,’ is an appropriate mission statement: OBA hope to avoid the insular clique-like feel that can so often befall student film societies, instead opting for an inclusive approach that provides anyone, whether experienced or total beginner, a platform to start creating.

As a meeting point at which other societies overlap, OBA also aims to catalyse new collaborations. Alongside The Preview Show and Hacked Off Films, whose events the Oxford Culture Review have previously covered, plans include partnerships with non-film-related societies. The upcoming 24-hour film challenge, for example, held in association with the Oxford Poetry Society (OPS), promises to be an exciting project. The winning poems of an OPS competition will be assigned to groups of aspiring student filmmakers, who will adapt them into a collection of ‘filmpoems’ to be screened at an OPS poetry reading event and, with permission from the filmmakers, posted online.

The association boasts a remarkable list of professional equipment available for cheap hire, a detailed inventory of which can be found on the OBA website. As well as funding successful entrants to the 24-hour challenge, the OBA plan to financially support a few films each year. Such opportunities for subsidisation, which are certainly hard to come by for young filmmakers, also offer an excellent introduction to independent film production, both in terms of the equipment used and the organisation required.

For those yet to set hands on a camera, OBA are organising workshops aimed at beginners. On Tuesday 28th October (Week 3) a workshop will take place teaching basic camera operation and audio recording, while the following week (date TBC), Oxford University producer Tom Wilkinson will be running one focusing on crucial aspects of filmmaking.

There are plenty of opportunities for those not keen on the production side of filmmaking too: OBA welcomes student screenplay submissions all year round, offering feedback and putting writers in touch with student filmmakers that might be interested in producing their work. A yearly screenwriting competition is also held, with the deadline for scripts at the start of Hilary Term. From those submitted, a collection of screenplays will be produced by a student production team with OBA’s equipment and screened at the Phoenix Picturehouse.

Throughout the year there will be a series of talks co-hosted with the Oxford University Media Society, with an impressive selection of guest speakers. The next term alone will include talks from heads of studios (Eric Fellner of Working Title Films; Barnaby Thompson of Ealing Studios), heads of film-supporting organisations (Amanda Nevill of BFI; Amanda Berry of BAFTA) and directors (Roger MichellNotting Hill and Enduring Love; Susanna WhiteGeneration Kill and Nanny McPhee). While OBA is university-supported and student-led, these events are by no means limited to students. All film enthusiasts are welcome to hear the speakers, as well as to attend screenings and take part in workshops.

For anyone (student or non-student) that is interested in these events and would like to know more about getting involved with OBA, please join the Facebook group (OUFF – Oxford University Film Foundation), sign up to the mailing list, visit the website and look out for future Film in Oxford entries, which will provide highlights of OBA events over the next year.

J. Wadsworth

The 24-hour film challenge launch will be on Thursday 16th October (Week 1, 8.30pm, Turl Street Kitchen) and is open to students only. For further event information and an OBA termcard, please visit their website.

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