Friday, 8 March 2013

Veni Vidi Vici [St Albans Film Festival]

On arrival in St. Albans it became clear that the town has been invaded: the purple, Clockwork Orange inspired branding had infiltrated shops, restaurants and pubs acting as temporary venues.

I planned to make the most of my filmmaker's pass over the three days. I managed to attend workshops on directing actors, stop-motion animation and the indie filmmaker's journey, as well as the 18 plus and student short film screenings and Jan Harlen's documentary Stanley Kubrick - A Life In Pictures before heading on to the awards ceremony and party at Havana. There were too many clashes however - in particular I would have liked to see the pre-release screening of Vinyl that opened the festival.

The 18 plus screening was varied - after all, your film can be 18 plus for several different reasons - sex, violence, drug references and so on. However many of the films featured blood, guts and gore - all tastefully filmed of course... I was happy with the reception for We Can Get You Some Really Cheap Gear and got some good feedback afterwards. Of the selection my favourites were Tim Kent's Two Persons Max for it's strong performances, and Saw Misgivings directed by David Lilley, a Saw-inspired black comedy.

I'm beginning to see how each festival has it's own feel. I was impressed by the St. Albans volunteers - not unlike the Olympic and Paralympic Gamesmakers, all the volunteers I met were enthusiastic and friendly, passionate about hosting a cultural event in their region, and even though I was only the maker of a film with a crew of four and a budget of £10 I still felt welcome. Incidentally I can't complain I was out-budgeted - the winner of the main short film category, Gracious Awakenings, was also made for £10.

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