Tuesday 31 March 2009

What alchoholics refer to as 'A moment of clarity'

Hi everyone. It's Kaz again.

As promised, here is the Hereford College of Art YouTube page. Have fun and please comment on the videos. My page is posted beneath.



Before I go on, I would like to share with you a realisation I had upon sitting down in the Studio theater of The Courtyard today. And that realisation, silly as it may seem, was that Borderlines Film Festival is, and always will be, an independent film festival...

Maybe this isn't the most difficult of things to realise, but I really had not thought of it that way. I always just thought of it as a small festival, that only ever showed 2 or 3 films I'd heard of. I only ever go to one of its venues, and the tag line for the festival is 'The UK's largest rural film festival,' which hardly conjures images of grandeur. But the festival is shown over 28 cinemas. I'd never even thought of that before.

When I turned up to see The Wrestler yesterday, I was not surprised to see that the theater was half empty. I mean, we're in Hereford. When I went to see The Dark Knight there were only 15 people in the cinema and that was one of the biggest films of 2008. But today it struck me. I walked in to the theater expecting an even quieter experience as I watched the charming and witty film Lemon Tree. Unsurprisingly when I walked in, I was confronted with no mere than a handful of patrons, sat quietly waiting for the film to start. I was shocked enough when a couple seated themselves next to me, but safe in the knowledge I would be able to move to a more open space in the auditorium (I like to use both arm rests), I sat patiently waiting for the lights to go down so that I could embrace another seat without fear of being asked to move. No luck. Within 3 minutes the theater was full. Not one seat was left unoccupied and shear human warmth began to almost illuminate the room. It was at this exact moment I had my moment of clarity. This was an independent film, and this is what people wanted to see. And it made me proud to be there. People had filled a room, not because of a shiny poster, or a big Hollywood actor, or even a 1080i trailer on iTunes (standard definition only I'm sad to say). But they had come here to see a Palestinian independent film because it's not the usual Hollywood throw away that you can see anywhere. The had come to see it because without the Borderlines Film Festival, they would probably never have had the chance. And being an independent film maker myself, I'm proud to know that there is such a festival in my local area, and I'm proud to have had the chance to show my work there.

Aaaaanyway. I feel like I've been talking for far to long. And I haven't even talked about the film I went to see. Which was brilliant by the way. And very, very funny. It's not the most wide spread entertainment in the world but I happen to be a fan of what little Palestinian cinema I have seen and I am also an advocate of Palestinian stand up comedy. So to me it made a perfect coupling. And the rest of the audience seemed to enjoy it as well.

The director of the film, Eran Riklis, said, when asked if the film was political, that he 'didn't believe in the term and found it out dated.' and I am inclined to disagree. Yes, everything has a political opinion inside it somewhere but some more than others. I think what he has done with Lemon Tree, and what Borderlines has done by bringing it to Hereford has done more to raise an interest in the Palestine/Israel conflict than most news reports will, because it gives the audience people with stories, not just politics and death tolls, and that is what makes people care.

p.s From the other side of the fence, as it were, (you'll get the joke if you've seen the film, or if you like pseudo-satirical puns about political relations in the middle east) this is an interesting film from student film makers in Israel, called Smile.


Thanks again for reading, and keep watching films at the festival.

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