What is the Film Expo South?
Film Expo South is the amazing brain child of Gillian Tully, an actress and entrepreneur from Southampton. Designed to bring filmmakers of any field together into one place for networking, exposure, passion, collaboration and sheer enjoyment of the craft that we all know and love.
2016 was Gillian’s first ever year producing an expo show of this magnitude and was ultimately the birth of Film Expo South. Come February 4th, she would find out if her year’s worth of hard work and effort would finally bring about the fruits she so richly desired, and yours truly was privileged to go along and find out.
The Expo itself was held at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, a quick train journey down from London with easy access to other key destinations in the South of England. This allowed a variety of people to venture down affordably, avoiding the exclusivity of events commonly held in expensive places such as London. Arriving in Southampton by train you had to get to the venue itself, no problem, all taken care of by our caring host with a free shuttle bus to the Rose Bowl. A nice touch to set the day off right.
Now I have been to an Expo or two in my time and they have always had good talks and interesting stands but there has always been a missing quality and I could never tell what it was. Now I can finally say that I have been to a Film Expo that truly did give it all.
Film Expo South was brilliant by simply offering so much to do. The talks featured expert panelists working on a range of different films from entry level to feature film blockbusters, such as James Bond, and everything in between. These talks offered variety as well. Ranging from talks aimed at producing a feature film to talks about scriptwriting, workshops on acting hosted by the teaching legend Mel Churcher, talks about what you need to know about contracts and how to even shoot underwater and finance your film. A true range for literally everyone.
So was that all? Heck no. The stands on display in the huge exhibition hall ranged from headshots, films in the making, special FX stands and even government funding to name but a few. Another brilliant idea was the networking wall. Simply pop your details and the people you are eager to meet and let the wall do the rest of the talking.
As the day went on, hunger sets in and food was easily accessible from the bar in the welcome hall which also housed the stage where actors periodically gave monologues through out the day. Some fantastic talent on display that was thoroughly entertaining. Speaking of entertaining. If you needed a break from the wealth of information coming at you in the talks through the day you could pop into the free screening room which featured screenings constantly throughout the day. Some great films on display here.
If that wasn’t enough, the end of the day produced the Pitch Idol event which allowed young talent to pitch for the prize of funding for their film idea and contained a judging panel of huge experience. Finally you had the mini casino to round off your day of fun. So many amazing things packed into such a small time frame made you wish you had clones so you could experience it all in sheer enjoyment.
What made this event so great for me was the variety of attendees. I have been to many events focussed on specific areas of film that you lose the networking as you aren’t meeting the contacts you want to meet, just people in the same boat as you. This was different. A huge range of advice and people that meant you really could meet people to advance your career.
Now comes the ultimate question, would you go again? Hells YEAH I would! This really was an event that I left feeling pumped up and that I had made a difference to my future by going to. I hear Gillian is starting on 2017 already and I wish her the best of luck. If she needs any help, I’m game 🙂
Roll on 2017. See you there!