January 2010

Cumbria Filmmakers Network was established way back in 2005. They started out with some humble ideas: to open up opportunities for Cumbrian filmmakers and to help raise the profile of the filmmaking talent which the county harbours.

In their final communiqué, they said: "It's been a blast, and a lot got done over the past four years. The filmmaking community has grown, prospered and matured, and we continue to be in awe of the innovative and diverse film work we see people produce."

At the core of CFN's activities were their monthly short film screenings. Starting in Autumn 2005, they ran almost uninterrupted until November 2009. They've provided an invaluable forum for creative people to meet and collaborate, as well as a unique platform for filmmakers to present and discuss their work. These evenings couldn't have happened without the support and generosity of our venues - from the early days at the Mint Café, until most recently at the Brewery Arts Centre.

CFN we're proud of the fact that CFN fostered a community of talented individuals who are dedicated to one worthy goal: to help one another. From simple, but important things - like offering encouraging words and advice - through to the more practical - providing career opportunities and access to training: the generosity of the community has always shone through.

The organisation was run on an entirely voluntary basis by a team of dedicated people - any profits from ticket sales or training sessions were pooled right back in to pay for their running costs. As the organisation and it's activities grew, so did the demands on its time and resources. As a new decade rounded the corner in 2009 and early 2012, it was time for CFN to sit down and have a good, long think about the future of the Network.

In their heart of hearts, they felt that CFN had run it's course. They achieved everything they set out to achieve: their lobbying means that Cumbria now has it's own dedicated film office; the popularity of their screenings has spawned similar events across the county; new networks, collaborations and friendships have forged some inspiring new creative forces.

At that point, it felt like the perfect time for them to bow out gracefully and make space for some fresh and exciting ideas from the people who have made CFN a success: the filmmakers of Cumbria.

They asked their supporters not to worry, because they weren't disappearing completely: they are filmmakers themselves.m They are putting their new-found spare time to good use with their our own creative projects and continuing to develop initiatives for the creative industries.

CFN continued in a small way and ran a Facebook group, which allowed creatives to hook up with other filmmakers, post news about their events or activities, make calls for auditions etc. But the website was closed and they are no longer able to provide advice by email.

It was a hard decision for CFN to make and they stated that they miss meeting up with their supporters at their screenings each month as they were a joy to present. CFN took the opportunity to thank the Brewery Arts Center, especially Kirsty McIntosh and her team for all their help and support and stated that there'll be some other clever people along in a jiffy to fill their shoes and inject some fresh adrenaline into the Film scene in Cumbria.

CFN's final thought was for anyone who might doubt the potential for Cumbria being a catalyst for some truly awesome, world-class creative work. Their parting words wee humble from a friend of ours who made the big time in L.A.: "Don't concern yourself too much with making it in the mainstream. Stick to the fringes - that's where all the really interesting stuff happens." too true!

CFN's parting motto was: Be proud of your fringe. Be proud of Cumbria.