A screening and Q&A event featuring independent filmmaker Jon Rosling was organised at the Media Building on 24th February 2015. Jon is a Keele alumnus (Politics and Philosophy 1995) who started with a career in education but then followed an alternative path as a freelance writer and filmmaker. Jon directed a number short films, music videos and promotional documentaries before establishing his own production company Eye Films Limited in 2013. Jon was at Keele to present his first feature length film project, Five Pillars (http://jrosling1973.wix.com/fivepillarsmovie), which was completed in 2013 and independently produced. Five Pillars examines the disenfranchisement experienced by a group of young people in contemporary England, in a period of economic insecurity and rapid socio-cultural changes.
The film screening was followed by a discussion facilitated by me where Jon reflected on his experiences as an independent filmmaker dwelling in particular on the difficulties of balancing the sometime competing demands of creative independence and commercial viability in the design, production and distribution of independent films. The session was attended by students from Keele’s Media and Film Studies programmes who quizzed Jon on a range of other issues including the challenges of making the transition from the short film form to feature length films and his future projects, which include How to Fly a Kite a feature length project currently in development. The event was filmed by members of the recently established Keele Students’ Filmmaking Society (https://keelesu.com/activities/society/12208/); James Mason, Ioannis Georgiades and Josh Jayraj (MCC and Film Studies students and members of the society) also filmed an additional interview with Jon which will be featured on the DVD release of Five Pillars. The organisation and hospitality for the event were generously supported by Keele Alumni office; in particular, we would like to thank John Easom for supporting the event.