Why I Decided to Create ‘Get Equipped’: A New Film, Video and Photography Event for Sheffield

by Ed Cartledge, Filmmaker and Managing Director of Sort Of…Films

I’ve lived in Sheffield for over 20 years now and have been working as a full-time, professional filmmaker for around 16 of those. In that time, I’ve also been involved in a wide range of related ‘side projects’ including establishing (alongside Rob Speranza) The South Yorkshire Filmmakers’ Network in 2004 and its flagship music video project 2 Weeks 2 Make It in 2005. I also designed and hosted a one-off environmental film festival called Reduction Festival in 2008 with Richard Keenan of Design-Now and have curated countless other film and music events in the city. But that was all at least a decade ago! Since then, I’ve been focusing on running and growing Sort Of…Films as well as making my own films and music. With this in mind, why launch an event like Get Equipped now, and what exactly does this event involve?

1) The joy of record fairs

Having been a collector of vinyl for some years, I can often be found scouring any record fairs in Sheffield for bargains and new ways of filling my ever-decreasing shelf space. It crossed my mind that I would probably get just as much joy out of a similar event aimed at the filmmaker in me. Photography fairs exist around the country but I’ve never known one to happen in Sheffield, though others may correct me on that. This is where the idea for a ‘second hand equipment sale’ began. It seemed to be of great interest to the fellow filmmakers and videographers I suggested it to and so I started to look into venues and logistics. Very quickly, the idea started to expand. We now find ourselves at the heart of what will hopefully be an annual Sheffield event which aims to be an absolute must-attend for anyone working with or interested in the technology and techniques of film and video production and photography.

2) A city and a community worth celebrating

Ask most people if they can name a film set in Sheffield… and they probably can. Ask anyone if they can name a film star from Sheffield… and they probably can. A production company? Probably. A film festival? Probably again! Do you think people could do the same for comparable northern cities like Leeds? Perhaps, but what I’m trying to say is that Sheffield often punches above its weight in film and video culture and that we often forget to celebrate that or shout about it. I’ve heard rumours and rumblings of an annual ‘Sheffield Film Awards’ or non-niche ‘Sheffield Film Festival’ for some time without either yet coming to fruition. I started to realise that the best way to ensure the image-making community’s continued growth in stature and inter-connectivity would be to again try and contribute something to it myself. The event is therefore not-for-profit, sponsored financially by Sort Of…Films and run by volunteers (including myself). It’s going to be a chance for people to meet each other, showcase what they do and learn new skills that they can implement in their work and hobbies.

3) The source of confidence

I frequently work with industry new entrants and media production students on various projects. I’m often taken aback by the disconnect between their obvious intelligence, capability and enthusiasm and their confidence when it comes to getting stuck in on a shoot. This event will therefore try to emphasise hands-on experience with equipment as well as face-to-face conversations with experienced professionals about everything from lenses to tripods, gimbals to jibs, radio mics to drones. Importantly however, all of this tech-talk will be underscored by a collective desire to use the skills and knowledge to develop creativity and to express ideas in new ways.

Year 1 is also about building our OWN confidence in the hope that we will be able to take the event forward and attract more sponsorship, more exhibitors, more talent in year 2 and beyond. We want the event the be a huge success and that will all depend on the people who come along for the ride, whether as sponsors, exhibitors, guest speakers, tech demonstrators, volunteers, stallholders or guests.

If you think you might be any one of these, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and find out more. You can email our coordinator Riley (riley@sortoffilms.co.uk) or call the office on 0114 258 2370.