This month, Founder and Director of Four Seasons Film Festival, Cameron Hall speaks with leading in flight title, Flybe Flight Time about his business Holmlands and the launch of Four Seasons Film Festival.
Read the full interview below...
Life in the fast lane
Cameron Hall combined his passion for film and adventure sports and his experience in media and events to found Holmlands, working with sports brands and athletes and running national and international screenings. Next month, he launches the company’s own Four Seasons Film Festival. He talks about skiing, business challenges and his plans for the future.
What’s your background?
I’m originally from Cumbria, where I developed a passion for skiing as a teenager. I carried my passion for the sport through university where I studied media, culture and society. Following graduation, I worked as a ski instructor teaching in various resorts around the world. After several years, I traded in my skis and moved into the media, working for a top-20 PR agency in central London for almost 10 years. With a strong desire to combine my passions, I founded Holmlands, a media and events business working with adventure sports brands and athletes. We also run film screenings and special events, including live music nights and our own film festival.
When did you launch Holmlands?
Holmlands started in 2014 when I acquired a license to screen a film in London for Matchstick Productions –the most decorated ski film production company in history. With a love for adventure sports, a passion for film and a knowledge of PR, it felt like a natural step to bring my worlds together. The event proved to be a great success and we grew from there. Holmlands became a full-time business in 2016. On the events side, we are the exclusive UK license holders for Matchstick Productions,running national and international screening events, plus our own,brand-new Four Seasons Film Festival coming to London on 3rd and 4th February this year.To date we have operated 14 events,including a national ski film tour throughout the UK and international film premieres in Switzerland and Iceland. We also produce our own content, with a series of short films called Holmlands Stories – which tell inspiring human-interest stories of people connected with the mountains and adventure sports.
Holmlands Park was the name of the neighbourhood in which my father grew up. My dad then named each of the homes I lived in growing up, “Holmlands”. As a business, we pride ourselves on personal relationships, so having a personal name behind the brand is very important.
What’s the company’s philosophy?
Our philosophy is quite simple, and that’s to keep moving forward – which emanates from our adventure-loving nature. The world is so fast-paced, and we are more connected now than ever before, with a constant appetite for content. The dissemination of media means it’s more accessible than ever to reach new audiences, but also more competitive. We emphasise quality in all we do, which helps our clients to cut through the noise and ensure they maintain a competitive advantage by providing effective media solutions and producing great content. Ultimately,our drive for adventure keeps us motivated to achieve new goals and that’s the same philosophy we bring to our work.
What challenges have you faced since starting the company?
The biggest challenge is finding people that can keep up with our fast-paced approach. We’re ambitious and driven,and not everyone works at the same speed we do. Rather, people work to their own timelines and this can cause frustrations but certainly hasn’t held us back from growing the brand and expanding our portfolio.
What’s been your proudest achievement so far?
It’s hard to pick just one, as there have been so many in such a short period. One stand-out would be making a short film with one of my real-life heroes, Arnie Wilson – an acclaimed ski writer, who in 1994 made his way into the Guinness World Records by skiing 365 consecutive days in 13 different countries with his girlfriend Lucy, who tragically died in an horrific accident shortly after their record-breaking challenge. Arnie kindly opened his home and allowed us to tell his incredible story. On the one-year anniversary of Holmlands,we held a private screening of the film at the BFI in London – not a dry eye was left in the house. Another proud moment was making a pro bono film with visually-impaired Paralympic skier Millie Knight, for Disability Snowsport UK – a charity close to my heart. Millie has since become a client of Holmlands and the video has been broadcast all over the world. When we screened it at our most recent film premiere in London,Millie’s story received a rapturous round of applause from the audience– which was extra-special because her mum was in the crowd.
Your next big project is the Four Seasons Film Festival. Why did you create it?
I attended Sundance Film Festival in Utah in 2016, and was inspired to create a festival with Holmlands. Having the experience and success of running our ski-film screenings,the next step was to expand in to other film genres. Four Seasons Film Festival applies a narrative by screening films that exemplify the moods of the seasons. Our spring section showcases films that reflect hope and new beginnings; the summer section showcases films that are joyous, vibrant, celebratory of life; autumn films are about change, transition and difference; and winter films are more about truth, life and fact. We received more than 300 submissions from 40 different countries around the world, with some truly-inspiring, heartbreaking, motivating and thought provoking films.
What will the festival include?
Four Seasons Film Festival is taking place on 3rd and 4th February at Cadogan Hall in Sloane Square, London. We are screening nine feature films and over 60 short films, with live music performances, art and photography exhibitions. We also have an awards party on 5th February, with eight awards being presented and film-makers flying in from around the world. It’s all set to be a very special cultural weekend.
You’ve taken part in many endurance events. Where does your sense of adventure come from?
It all started with Kilimanjaro which I climbed in 2012 for Disability Snowsport UK. I started doing smaller challenges to build up my fitness and fundraising for that and then got the bug! I think the mindset of participating in endurance events translates into entrepreneurialism. Both involve a lot of hard work and endeavour, but the reward of crossing the finishing line and accomplishing your goal is entirely worth it, whether in business or sport.
What’s next for Holmlands?
We have the privilege of working with some truly-inspirational business owners and athletes and want to continue to grow, helping more brands and individuals to tell their stories and reach new audiences. We want to expand our events in the UK and internationally, with Four Seasons Film Festival becoming a calendar event for London. In the short term, our next stop is South Korea for the Paralympic Games, where several of the athletes we represent will be competing. We’ll be there to cheer them on!
Book your tickets to Four Seasons Film Festival here