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Curation, culture and community-building with Pip Piper

A film producer, documentary director and more, with his roots in youth work, Pip Piper is one of those people who helps community-building to happen. Thanks to our community of Patrons, we’re giving funding towards Pip’s new local film festival in his new hometown of Exmouth.

A healthy arts culture is a common good, allowing the emotional and spiritual life of a community to flourish. It’s part of how we connect, dream, and aspire, together. Why not support work like Pip’s, by joining our Patrons scheme for as little as £5 / month? Find out more here:

Hi Pip. For those who haven’t come across you yet, can you introduce yourself?

Hi, yes! I am Pip Piper, an indie film maker with about 25 years of filming experience across commercial, feature drama and feature documentary. I produce and direct.

I also helped set up (mid 1990s) and still run OSBD media charity that helps develop young emerging filmmaking talent and creates films that matter. For 15 years I also co-directed Blue Hippo Media Ltd with Rob Taylor. I was based in Birmingham for 30+ years, and now am based in Exmouth, Devon. I am married to Debbie, who also helps run OSBD and we have 3 grown up boys.

You are setting up a film festival in your community in Exmouth. It’s a great pleasure to be able to support this great project through our patrons scheme. Can you fill us in on the plan?

Thank you for the support—it’s not just the finances, but more importantly the support and belief that comes with it that really counts. Debbie and I plan to develop a film festival in the town that brings together people who want to be involved, ultimately aimed at local residents (Exmouth is a town of over 40,000).

We are going to start small, and build over the next few years. It will be a cultural and curated festival, not so much about competition but more about bringing really interesting films to the town, with Q&As and events aimed at enabling wider engagement. The ethos will be about community development and cohesion through the artform of film. We also want to have a short film challenge for young filmmakers built-in too. We aim to run our first pilot one in November 2022.

Why do you think that this is important? Why do you think that Exmouth needs a film festival?

Well, it doesn’t have one and we don’t think ever has! Seriously though, as mentioned above, we believe that art can bring people together, break down barriers, help build cohesion and has the possibility to inspire and inform. Film really can do this—help us laugh, feel, be inspired, get angry. A festival of films both short and feature, fiction and documentary, peppered with guest Q&As and events could bring something very special to Exmouth and its community and beyond.

You have a long track record of bringing ambitious projects like this to life. What advice would you give others who would like to set up large scale community arts projects like this one?

I think take your time, talk to lots of people, do the groundwork. Who are the people already doing things that you can collaborate with, or learn from? Run your SWOT analysis. Then start slowly and begin, ready to adapt as you evaluate.

Ultimately though, you will need to own what you want to achieve, and look to make a way. Have a trusted team you can bounce ideas off and listen to when it gets tough. Share the load—no need to be the hero. For us who are followers of Jesus, this is all Kingdom building; so pray, listen, discern, be wise and trust Him.