[matilda] Lost Film Fest in Sheffield

Fabian Frenzel fab at in-no.org
Thu Jun 30 14:45:39 BST 2005

Hi there,
> I'm seriously concerned about the consequences of sending out a press
> release which refers to 'MATILDA, the new social centre in Sheffields
> cultural industries quarter'. Journalists are already sniffing around
> what's happening at MATILDA,

well, I think it would be great to have more information about the
building getting into the public sphere, because one of the things we are
critising is the lack of openess in the city development. So sniffing
journalists might be of great help because they would certainly start
asking questions to the owner of the building about what their plans are.
And it would really help us to know that. We are not the ones who need to
be afraid about a public discourse about the building. It is them (the
owners) who really do not want attention. Or do you think, they are not
aware that something is going on there? Yet they haven't taken any

> but we are completely unready to explain
> what MATILDA is to the media for two reasons:
> 1. It would be wrong to pre-empt the meeting on the 18th

that is true for many things matilda could be in the future, but it was
already the location of the G8 protest (which is known by local mainstream
media/police and certainly the owners) and it was agreed in the first
meeting that the Lost Filmfest will take place. The Lost filmfest is a
rather prestious event for being underground...please see the guardian
article about it and others referred to on the indymedia posting...there
is no need to hide it away under the mainstream radar....so we can at
least say what is happening there now: An almost completly disused space
is used to host an independent filmfest for the enrichment of the local

> 2. We need to resolve the legal status of the building - Mark's clear
> that it's not a squat, but we need to have that sorted before we'll be
> able to explain it to journalists. It's the first thing they're going
> to ask about.

And all we know is that it is owned by Yorkshire Forward, who are not open
about what they want to do with it. And that there is a group of people,
citizens for that matter, that started discussing about bringing it to use
for the benefit of the community. We do not need to be ashamed about this,
do we? And it can't by any means be critised even by new labour rethorics
about peoples participation in local and urban development, can it?

In regard to Marks position as a tenant, we should - if you approve Mark -
put forward your story a being tenant who insists on his rights to stay in
the building... and who I suppose is really happy to tell the sniffing
journalists a few stories about his changing landlords...

> If we send out a press release for the Lost Film Festival that refers
> to MATILDA, there's a very good chance that one or other of the local
> media will decide to investigate what's happening with the building
> instead of reporting the event like we want them to.

Well, both is benefical, I believe... again: why should we be afraid of
them investigating about the status of the building?

> This obviously doesn't mean we shouldn't disseminate information about
> Lost Film Festival through mailing lists, etc that are largely 'below
> the radar' for the mainstream media.

To sum it up, I think to use the momentum Matilda got through th G8 for
us, as people who like to see the Matilda flourish, is to be as open as
possible at an early stage. It seems to me essential to get out there...I
don't know if that is really happening with the LOST Filmfest press
release (I would even doubt it) but it puts Matilda onto Sheffields map
and with the next event, the mark will be bigger.
If at some point some journalist, malevolent or not, decides to make a
story about the Matilda, it will be the best we can have: we might gain
some foes through such a story but surely some friends as well.
Lets not get paranoid, we are not losing anything with openess...which
does not mean that our own investigations shouldn't continue, as much as
the open process about what MATILDA is going to be.

So yes, I think we should just do the press release.


Fabian Frenzel

Insitute of Nomadology

More information about the matilda mailing list