Posted 26 August 2022

The best events and platforms for networking in the film industry

Networking is valuable for creatives across all disciplines – and especially in the film world. In an industry where one job often leads to another, being able to build connections, share your work and create new relationships will help you get far. Here we’ve gathered some top tips, along with platforms and organisations you might check out when growing your own network.

🤝 Remember: People hire people
Relationships are everything in the film industry so having a good network plays a crucial part in being considered for future opportunities. While technical skills are highly prized, people like to work with people they get along with – so your interpersonal skills (being warm, professional and enthusiastic) will help you stand out.

Walking into rooms full of strangers can be daunting so try to think of some questions to ask beforehand – it could be as simple as asking about recent films someone has enjoyed, and why.

💭 Work out what you want
Keep in mind what your career ambitions are, and what you need the get there. Remind yourself why you are interested in film; who or what do you find inspiring? Whether that’s shadowing someone more senior or starting out as a runner or assistant, be honest about your level of experience.

📍 Find your community
Try to always be your authentic self in order to find people who either share your ambitions – or challenge you to think differently. Aim to strike a healthy balance between the social activity of networking at film events, and the quiet work of honing your craft. One isn’t a substitute for the other; they go hand in hand.

💬 Join the conversation
IRL events – screenings, panels and festivals – are still a popular way of connecting in the film industry, but online plays a powerful role too. Sharing your work via your website or social accounts will invite possible partners and collaborators to start a conversation with you. And it goes both ways: reach out to people who inspire you, or get involved in discussions via streamed events, Instagram Live or Twitter Spaces.

You never know who you might meet, or what skills you might be able to learn, so it’s essential you find a supportive community to build and share resources with. So with that in mind, here are just some of the best cinemas, festivals and communities to get involved with around the UK.

Bounce Cinema

Location: London
Good for: IRL events

Bounce Cinema offers a dedicated programme of screenings, training and industry opportunities, as well as reinvesting a percentage of their resources to support young and emerging talent. Check out their events to meet people in real life and discover the very best films.

See more from Bounce Cinema here

Girls in Film

Location: UK (London), Amsterdam, South Africa, Prague
Good for: Finding community

Girls in Film represents, champions and connects the new generation of women, non-binary and trans creatives in the film industry. They seek to change the gender bias by bringing women to the forefront. Become a member to get early bird access to their events programme, as well as advice and mentoring opportunities.

See more from Girls in Film here

BFI London Film Festival

Location: London
Good for: IRL and digital events

The biggest annual film festival in London. Discover fresh talent and archive treasures, immersive art and XR – as well as the chance to get in front of relevant industry professionals. Everything screening at the festival is curated by a dedicated team of programmers, and all the feature films and series are shown in the UK for the first (and sometimes the only) time. Attend in person, or watch from home.

Find out more about the BFI London Film Festival here

Sundance London

Location: London
Good for: Access to the US festival highlights from London

An opportunity to experience the renowned Sundance Film Festival in London. Buy your Festival Pass from Picturehouse.

Find out more about Sundance here

BFI Future Film Festival

Location: London
Good for: Emerging talent

Dedicated to uplifting and celebrating fresh talent, the BFI Future Film Festival is the UK’s largest festival for emerging filmmakers. The festival runs across four days in February, with events and screenings taking place both online and in-venue at the BFI Southbank, all of which are focused on helping talented young filmmakers aged 16 to 25 to break into the film and screen industries.

Find out more about the BFI Future Film Festival here

Aesthetica Short Film Festival

Location: York
Good for: Visual inspiration

The 12th edition of the Aesthetica Film Festival will run from 1-30 November 2022 in York, UK and online. The hybrid event will include screenings, masterclasses, networking, pitching and more.

Find out more about the Aesthetica Short Film Festival here

Leeds International Film Festival

Location: Leeds
Good for: Year-round content, emerging talent

Leeds Film delivers and supports film culture through festivals and year-round activities. They organise three leading annual film festivals and year-round programmes and special projects in film exhibition and education.

Find out more about the Leeds International Film Festival here

Close-Up Film Centre

Location: London
Good for: Cinema, archive and community

The most comprehensive independent film resource in London, Close-Up makes film culture and history accessible through its cinema programmes and Library. Visit their independent cinema to enjoy regular film events and take part in a busy community for film lovers.

See more from the Close-Up Film Centre here

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

Location: London
Good for: Experimental and independent cinema

Part of a larger arts centre, the ICA cinemas profile the very best of independent world cinema, supporting experimentation in new fiction, documentary and animation, and representing film from the margins. The ICA also curates and hosts film festivals that bring audiences and filmmakers together.

Find out more about the Institute of Contemporary Arts here


This article is part of a series produced in collaboration with Fully Focused and Today at Apple, designed to help inspire and support emerging filmmakers navigate the industry.

Written by Creative Lives in Progress