Audience Development Strategies

Contextualising Visibility

In recent years the ways to see a film have changed significantly, and so has the visibility of films from the WCF supported regions and countries. However, the main focus should not only be on the question of how a film is consumed but above all on the sociological approach taken in creating and reaching an audience. Therefore, audience development and audience engagement strategies are an integral part of the WCF's work to decolonise the cinema market among others and give audiovisual projects from the WCF regions the reach needed to facilitate a more balanced economic and cultural exchange.

The aim of the various audience development strategies is to already consider the potential audience for a film in the production phase and to bring audience and film together as early as possible. The WCF first began to implement this idea in 2019 in cooperation with the Torino Film Lab as part of the Audience Design Consultancy pilot project. This project focused on the film Las mil y una by director Clarisa Navas (Argentina) which went on to open the Berlinale Panorama programme in 2020. This successful pilot set the stage for the annual WCF Europe-TFL Audience Design Award for projects awarded by the WCF jury and supported by WCF Europe.

WCF's strategies in terms of audience design are not only focused on projects but also on capacity building, on sharing the methodology and know-how with industry professionals, so that they can incorporate it into their practices. Therefore, the Audience Development Strategies on the Road initiative was created. This involves tailormade training with local professionals of the film industry, workshops, consultancy services and masterclasses, always in collaboration with local partners and local organisations. So far, partnerships and programmes with Brazil Cinemundi (Brazil, 2020 and 2021), Ouaga Film Lab (Burkina Faso, 2021), Locarno Open Doors (2022) and Nuevas Miradas (Cuba, 2021 and 2022) have been established.

Further audience development strategies related initiatives are also ready to be implemented.